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  Mental Disorders
By Benjamin Wu (Awards for Literature English Senior Group Champion)

We are all mental disorder sufferers at times - may the disorder be an anxiety, an obsession, a fear or a phobia.

We feel anxious with an examination when we are not well prepared for it. In other words, anxiety exists when there is a lack of confidence in us. Anxiety overtakes us when we are not in control of a situation. We feel anxious when there is uncertainty. However, anxiety disappears once the activity involved clears.

When I was five years old, I enrolled myself in a swimming course. Every time a session ended, the couch would allow our team to go for the platform dive as a bonus. All my buddies jumped the queue when I tried every way to keep myself at the end of it. The platform appeared to be way too high for me and I was surely not ready to let go myself into the water that I might never emerge. After ten years, I am still not too keen on diving.

When a person loves certain thing to an extent that he or she is crazy about it, the person is obsessed. The person may feel sick if he or she is not able to attain the thing or achieve the targeted level. A perfectionist may be obsessed with his or her performance or look. Thus, a perfectionist can be a workaholic. A perfectionist may try to look good at all costs.

When I was very small, I was always reminded by my Mom to dry and wipe the toilet bowl every time I finished using it. I did develop a habit of cleaning it after I found it uncomfortable to sit down to urinate. Fortunately, I was resurrected from the obsession with such cleanliness when I was firmly scolded by my Dad, a person who could care less about being too clean.

Fear is the most common mental disorder among people and it is short-lived. We fear of failure. We fear of being rejected. We fear darkness. We fear vicious animals. We fear because we anticipate a disappointing outcome. We fear because we are not acquainted with a situation. Once the outcome is clear or once we are accustomed to the situation, fear vanishes.

Though I am somewhat a shy person, I am always confident in speaking in front of my fellow classmates. I was encouraged by an English teacher to join the debate club. I did later and I even plucked up my courage to go for a competition. I experienced fear. I trembled and I almost lost my voice. I was advised to participate more frequently in similar activities so as to train myself for the occasions as 'familiarity breeds contempt?

A phobia is a strong irrational fear of something. Phobia sufferers experience sweating, racing heart, breathmg difficulty, and a fear of imminent death when they have to encounter certain items or situations.

The main cause of phobia is usually a trauma a person has experienced. For example, if a person was bitten by a snake, he might then have a fear of snakes.

Phobia can be a learned behaviour when we are conditioned to be frightened by certain things. We may develop a phobia when we see other people reacting frighteningly to certain things all the time.

Specific phobias are said to be inherited. In order words, they are in our genes. We may be born with phobias.

It is suggested we should treat phobia the same way we treat fear. Get ourselves familiarized with the feared objects or situations until we get the edge off the fear.

To get rid of any kind of mental disorder is easier said than done. We need the understanding and the encouragement of all the people. We also need to cope with them with all our might.

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