Depression: False Delusion or Serious Medical Condition?

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DEPRESSION: FALSE DELUSION OR SERIOUS MEDICAL CONDITION?
Chester Bennington’s suicide shone a light on the topic of depression. But is depression simply a state of mind or is it a dark terror hiding in plain sight?

Linkin Park front man Chester Bennington was found dead in his home shortly after the release of the band’s seventh album, One More Light, in 2017. This caused a media uproar, which sparked many negative comments on the selfishness of his actions and how he left his friends, family and fans behind with no regard for their well-being.

The truth is, Chester’s suicide was not as sudden as we all thought it was. All the signs were there, hidden in plain sight. His last few songs, which many of us simply dismissed as the decline of a has-been way past his prime, were his way of leaving behind a deeper, darker message. Unfortunately, most of us didn’t realise it until it was too late.

Depression is not a phase, it’s an illness

Most folks wouldn’t tell a person with physical disabilities to stop faking it or a homosexual that they’re just going through a phase. What makes depression any different? On the outside, depression may look like a convenient excuse to some but in reality, it is a mental disorder that should not be taken lightly.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression. It plays a major role in global disability and disease; and, at its worst, can lead to suicide. The 2016 Singapore Mental Health Study also found that one in seven Singaporeans have suffered from depression at some point in their lives. That equates to 13.9 percent of the entire population, a 1.9 percent increase from a similar study conducted in 2010.

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The saddest people smile the brightest

Despite Chester Bennington’s suicide, the stigma of depression being a delusion rather than a condition still remains. Many still believe that being depressed is a choice and can be eradicated at will. High-functioning depression, an invisible illness that may be more difficult to detect than major depressive disorder, could explain why.

For the most part, people living with high-functioning depression often come across as high achievers who have everything to be grateful for. But therein lies the danger. Under a seemingly untroubled exterior lies a bottomless pit of anxiety, insomnia, fatigue and a host of detrimental symptoms. Or so it seems.

Depression is not a death sentence

Depression is often viewed as incurable and considered a sign of weakness, especially for those who believe that they will lose everything once they come out. Those who do express their feelings, on the other hand, have probably heard replies such as, “Don’t lie, you’re the happiest person I know,” one too many times.

But that should not affect a person’s decision to seek help. The 2016 study found that more than three-quarters of people who had a mental disorder at least once in their lifetime did not seek professional help. This, coupled with the rise in lifetime prevalence of mental illness from 12 percent in 2010 to 13.9 percent in 2016 is cause for concern, especially when the consequence of not seeking help is potentially fatal.

From psychiatrists to psychologists, support groups to anonymous depression chat rooms; you name it, they’ve got it. Whatever the case may be, there are always ways to fight this illness. Those who suffer from depression should never say, in the words of Chester Bennington himself, “But in the end, it doesn’t even matter.”

Article written by : Anthony Lim
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Seven life skills every grown-ass man needs to learn

Seven life skills every grown-ass man needs to learn

 

What truly defines a man? Money? Power? We say independence. These seven life skills are what separates the men from the boys.

 

What does it mean to be a man in today’s context? To some, it means having the physical strength to lift a car while to others, a man is defined by the number of zeros in his bank account.

Whether you’re as strong as the Hulk or as rich as Tony Stark, one thing is for sure. Every adult male should be able to look after himself without having to rely on anyone else. With that said, here are seven life skills every grown-ass man needs to learn in order to be independent.

 

 

  1. Change a tyre

You knew this was coming. Every other blog has mentioned it and so will we. Imagine you’re driving along in the middle of the night. Something pops. Your steering goes wonky. You pull over to the side of the road and see your tyre in the same condition as a used condom. What do you do?

You could call a tow truck, but that would cost quite a sum and you’d have to wait a while for help to arrive. Why not do it yourself? All you’ll need is a tyre iron, car jack and little bit of elbow grease, and you’ll be up and running in no time.

 

 

  1. Drive a manual

Speaking of cars, driving a cushy European car with massage seats is all fine and dandy. But what happens if you’re stuck with a hunk of junk that has three pedals instead of two?

“But, most cars these days are auto, my chances of driving a manual are slim to none,” you say. That may be true but there are many cars, as well as vans and lorries, that still require a clutch pedal. Learning to drive a manual, especially in less-developed countries, is not only a practical life skill but also a pretty fun one at that.

 

 

  1. Read a map

Now that you’ve learnt to drive a stick, it’s also probably a good idea to learn how to read a map that can’t tell you where to “Turn left in 200m”. It’s surprising how many folks still manage to get lost even with the help of turn-by-turn directions.

No, you don’t have to go back to Geography class and read a terrain matrix. What you need to be able to do, however, is figure out where you are in relation to the map. Start by looking out for roads and landmarks that correspond to what you see on your map, figure out which direction you’re facing and work your way from there. It might take some practice but you’ll be glad you picked up this skill, especially if you find yourself in a tourist destination full of dodgy drivers looking for a quick buck.

 

 

  1. Pull your own weight around the house

How long are you going to rely on mum to wash your stinky socks? Doing the laundry is simpler than you’d think. Separate your lights from darks and don’t go overboard with the detergent. After that, fresh-smelling underwear is only a few button presses away.

House chores don’t just extend to doing the laundry, though. Learning to iron your creasy shirts, using the vacuum cleaner and mop, and washing the toilet not only builds up your self-reliance, but also takes some of the stress off your parents.

 

 

  1. Prepare a meal that isn’t instant noodles

Do you know the difference between a microwave oven and a toaster? Do you know how to cook rice? Do you even know how to boil water? If you do, fantastic. If you don’t, you may want to pick up a few simple-to-prepare recipes. There will come a time when your only option is to cook and you’ll be thankful you learnt how to.

You don’t have to be Gordon Ramsey, all you’ll need is to be able to whip up a few recipes good enough for your taste buds. Don’t keep relying on deliveries, takeaways or your personal chef, also known as mum. 

 

 

  1. Manage your personal finances

Stop blowing all your money on booze, vacations and fancy gadgets the minute you get paid. Boys do that. You’re not a boy. You’re a full-grown man. There isn’t a hard and fast rule on how much money you should save monthly but you do need to have emergency funds for, well, emergencies.

Plan out a monthly budget and set aside money for high-priority items such as bills, contributions to your parents and daily necessities like food and transport costs. Once you’ve covered those bases, feel free to splurge a little; without maxing out your credit cards, of course.

 

 

  1. Tie a tie

Clothes maketh the man. Or so they say. Interviews, weddings, work events and fancy dinner dates may require you to dress to impress. And what’s a sharp-looking suit without a sharp-looking tie? Granted, not every outfit calls for a tie but it definitely ups your game in the style department. A simple yet classic knot is the Windsor. It’s nothing fancy but it gets the job done.

 

Let’s face it, you can probably pay someone to do most of these things for you. But what kind of life would you live if you had to rely on someone else to do everything for you? Master these seven life skills and we guarantee you’ll start growing hair on your chest like a real man. Well, not really. But you get the idea.

Rockabye Baby

Rockabye Baby

The announcement that iconic guitar-maker, Gibson was bankrupt shocked many guitarists, both professionals and amateurs alike, most of whom were adult musicians who had grew up watching their rock heroes such as Elvis, Jimmy Page, Edge and Slash amongst others, rocking out in one.

Therein, it was initially speculated, lies the problem. Guitar-based music has simply failed to reach out to the millennials, thus resulting in lacklustre sales.  While more official and detailed reports later released proved this speculation to be untrue, and that it was failed business and investment decisions that had left the company, which is more than a 100 years old, in tatters.

The disturbing truth however, remains. Kids of today are just not into jamming in bands anymore. It is, of course,  not to say that people are not listening to or interested in music anymore. In fact, children are getting exposed to music at an increasingly younger age as parents rush to sign their children up for piano or violin lessons.

It instead reflects the changing preference in music. It could also be that with so many options nowadays from social media to video games (ahem, GuitarHero- So maybe people are still rocking it out, just in a totally different manner),  there are so many other hobbies one can indulge in other than one that takes up as much commitment.

Alas, playing in a band may indeed become a thing of the past. And that’s a crying shame.

Much like picking up a team-sports, playing in bands go beyond just the music and can teach youngsters skills and values which will prove to be invaluable later in life.

Being in a band is more than just looking the part, you learn to be responsible for yourself. A soccer team may be able to win matches with just one or two star players. Even in the simplest song however, every single member in a band needs to know his or her part well and be competent in their individual role so that collectively, the song that they are playing at least sounds coherent. If you are not putting in your weight, it would not be long until you are found out.

The band life is indeed all for one and one for all. It is not uncommon to see a band rehearse for hours or even days just to perfect a segment which probably lasts just a few seconds. Dedication, perseverance, attention to details and patience are all necessary traits to perfect your craft and make your band better.

The most obvious lesson one learns when playing in a band though, are the dynamics of teamwork. Any band, no matter how good or talented any individual member may be, is only as good as its weakest link. It does not matter how fast or fanciful one player can play- everyone still has to play at the same tempo. For the band to be able to play together, the most talented musician must learn how to cope and work in tandem with the member who is the least inclined. Working in close proximity with one another in a creative environment, conflicts or differences in ideas are also inevitable. One learns how to work past each other differences and to assess other people’s inputs to achieve the collective good.

It might sound like a whole lot of work and maybe even painful then to play in a band, especially if one is only looking for a leisurely hobby.  No matter what, music remains an ever-present in life. As with everything else however, it too is ever-changing and the advancement of digital equipment means that aspiring musicians, unlike their predecessors, need not form bands to pursue their passion.

Yet, there is no denying the charm of live music, as anyone who has played in a band or watched a performance from a live band would attest to.

From that sense of accomplishment when everything finally clicks together after all the hard work rehearsing to the exhilaration of being able to express oneself through music, no matter what genre, it  is a magical reward one can only get from playing music together in a group but ultimately one that has to be personally experienced and not read about…or played on a gaming console!

Seven seconds is all it takes, make your first impression count

Seven seconds is all it takes, make your first impression count

You’ve only got seven seconds to make a first impression. Here’s what you can do to make them count.

Seven seconds is all it takes for someone to decide whether they like you or not. This tiny window of opportunity could mean the difference between landing your dream job and having to settle for a dead-end one. It could also make or break your sales pitch, business deal, or even your first date.

Despite our best efforts to not judge a book by its cover, first impressions matter. You don’t have to be as charming as James Bond, but you do need to keep some things in mind if you want to make those seven seconds count. Here’s how.

Look the part

Your physical appearance is the first thing people notice when they first meet you. From the watch you wear to the wrinkles on your shirt, everything about the way you look affects others’ perception of you. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to personal style, but some occasions call for more formal dress codes while others are slightly more casual. Dress accordingly.

Look them in the eye

Maintaining eye contact shows you’re interested, confident and paying attention. Constantly looking away, on the other hand, conveys the message that you’re nervous, uninterested and couldn’t care less about the conversation. When someone else is talking, look them in the eye. But don’t stare. It looks creepy.

Smile

Leave the scowls and frowns to the pros – teenagers. No one wants to talk to an angsty teen. If you want to leave a positive impression on someone, smile. Smiling tells the world that you’re friendly and approachable. It also shows that you’re confident and comfortable in your skin. Just don’t force it or you’ll end up looking like a paedophile.

Don’t listen to reply, listen to understand

No one likes being interrupted mid-sentence, let them finish what they have to say. But don’t just listen for an opportunity to cut in, make an effort to understand what they’re saying. Don’t make it all about yourself. And don’t space out.

Be genuinely interested

Listen to what the other person has to say and continue the conversation based on their answers. Ask them about their hobbies and what they like to do outside of work. As much as possible, try to engage in more meaningful topics rather than your run-of-the-mill, “So, what do you do?” interview questions. That’s a sure-fire way to appear boring.

Be yourself

“Fake it till you make it” doesn’t apply in this scenario. Don’t tell your crush you love Justin Bieber if you don’t. Don’t boast about a penthouse you don’t live in or a supercar you don’t drive. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. No one likes a phoney.

First impressions matter, whether we like it or not. How do you want others to perceive you? You only get one shot at making a good first impression, make it count.

Keep It Cool: Reduce Your Carbon Emissions in 3 Simple Steps

Keep It Cool: How To Reduce Your Carbon Emissions in Simple Steps

So what if the rest of the world is going to make another new record for global carbon emissions? The sky is still blue and we have air-conditioning when it gets too hot… but did you know that air-conditioning is actually causing our own island to heat up exponentially? With the increasing amounts of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere trapping more heat, the only way forward seems to be getting hotter and not cooler.

So now we think: carbon tax, solar panels, electric cars… with so many formal measures already in place, what else can we do to keep the heat down and reduce carbon-emissions in the long run?

Go light on the accelerator

Needless to say the best way to reduce carbon emissions is to commute via public transport or even cycle for shorter distances. For those of us who own cars, ensure your vehicle does not contribute negatively to the environment more than it already does by making smarter driving choices – it can be something as simple as holding off the accelerator when driving on a road with traffic lights.

Shower cold

Ok, we get it. Not all of us are going to like showering in cold water no matter how healthy it is. But have you thought about how much energy and excess heat goes wasted in order for you to enjoy a hot shower? For those of you who don’t already mind cold showers to tackle the Singapore heat, good for you! Otherwise, consider striking a balance of lukewarm on average days.

Give your appliances a break

Other than turning off your appliances when they’re not in use, you might want to do some basic research on recommended usage too. For example, a standard air-conditioner should be set to between 25-27 degrees for efficient cooling. At the same time, making sure your windows and doors are well-insulated will play a huge role in ensuring that your rooms cool down faster. Always remember to not make your appliance work harder than it should.

We should all be doing our part in reducing carbon emissions – not for the environment but for ourselves, so that we can not only lower our energy bills but also preserve a healthy environment and community for the people who come after us.

Where is the Way Ahead for Social Science Students in the Era of Technology?

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Where is the “Way Ahead” for Social Science Students in the Era of Technology?

In the past few years, technology seems to have taken the driving seat of the economy, which leads to many students in other majors especially those with social science degrees reflecting the usefulness of what they have learned and how they can navigate in such a world shifting its focus on technology? Some people begin to worry that prospective students might choose to study science rather than social science for sake of a better job opportunity.

Member of Parliament Sun Xue ling in a speech expressed her opinion on this issue, saying that the technology itself is cold without feeling and without  sense of right or wrong. For example, the nuclear power can either be used to generate energy to benefit people or result in the outbreak of a war. Therefore, social science students of today with an understanding of the human condition have an important role to play in supervising the application of technology correctly.

In fact, the corny joke about social science graduates working in McDonald’s is a misguidance. The HESA institution investigates the quite common stereotype that a social science degree is less wanted in the labor market than a science degree.  And the final report proved this stereotype was wrong and the courses provided by those higher education institutions are helpful for job seeking.

According to the HESA data, social science graduates are more likely to get paid employment than science graduates and be promoted to managerial or senior positions. The research followed the three and a half years career paths of over 62,000 university students after they graduated from university in 2009. The figures revealed that about 84.2% of social science graduates find  three years after graduation, compared with 78% of students graduated with science degrees.

As a social science graduate myself, I find there are many options and opportunities out there, such as careers in government departments, trade unions, NGOs, international institutions and think tanks, also careers in companies such as human resources management and public relations, advertising and marketing. The courses of social science usually train students’ skills of researching, analyzing, presenting and writing, as well as interpersonal skills and teamwork spirit, which are always much valued by bosses.

Having a degree in social science doesn’t necessarily mean that these people will change the society, but it helps a lot with works. Phil Redmond, the famous English television producer, graduated with a degree in social science has used his insight into human awareness to produce many award-winning TV dramas. His dramas usually reflect a wide variety of social topics such as bullying, drug abuse, domestic violence and unemployment.