When it comes to commenting on social media posts or tweeting about mental health issues we see a swarm of posts and support but what actually happens to us when we actually have people around us suffering from mental illness? These people who suffer from anxiety, depression, panic attacks, bipolar disorder, stress disorder,etc are the people living around us. What do we actually do for them? We turn a blind eye to what is happening around us. And let me be very clear, when it comes to mental health illness it can be anyone of us- a child, an ageing parent, a working individual or a teenager.

“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.” 

Glenn Close

The worst thing that we do to the people having mental health issue is that we simply judge them. I have often heard people saying- “Ahh! he is blessed with everything what bothers him or what upsets him?” and I really want to know the definition of this “everything”. We all are fighting our own battles, let us be a little less judgmental and a little more careful of our words. Sometimes we don’t even know what impact our words make on the other person’s mental peace.

“Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it isn’t so.” 

Lemony Snicket

The World Health Organization has estimated that 20% of the world’s population suffers from mental disorder at some point in their lifetime. And how normal do you think it is to be suffering from mental health issues? At first people refrain from disclosing their mental health issues because mental illness is considered to be a blot on an individual’s reputation. Secondly, they are either judged or ignored if they reveal their mental health status. Isn’t is okay to be not okay?

Also Read : Menace of Mental Illness

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Why isn’t mental illness given equal attention as physical illness?

Sharing a real life story of a young man who had his mental health struggle and he walked out of it fighting all alone. Here’s his story in his own words-

“I was working in a firm and one day I decided to quit the job because I wanted to do something better than that, because I firmly believed that I could do better. This decision of mine was not at all accepted by my family, they started comparing me with other men who had gradually achieved success through that firm and soon I was judged to be an “impatient soul”. A few of my friends thought it to be a nice decision but there were many who simply jumped into conclusions like “You shouldn’t have done this without having another job”. I was happy with my decision but I must admit their words had made a room in my mind.

I started working on my skills to upgrade myself and honestly I was working very hard for it but one fine day I realized I was not feeling okay. I had started becoming sulky, nothing enticed me, after working all day when I went to my bed I did not feel happy. My family noticed this change in me and further blamed me for being irrational. I decided to talk to a few friends regarding this but some of them were too ignorant to be even bothered while some asked me to give time to myself. I remember a friend of mine had said “Look, you are not the only one under stress…. there are children who sleep without food and there are people who do not even have enough to work according to their own wish.”

I felt terrible for days and could feel my mental health deteriorating, sometimes I even felt suicidal. I used to remain anxious and felt pathetic. I wanted to speak to someone who would neither judge me nor look down upon me. I just wanted to be heard. Nights were worst for me, I used to recall everything and cry myself to sleep. By this time I knew that depression in men is highly stigmatized. But one day I decided to help myself because I wanted to be cheerful again. I understood that I had to be my own hero and rescue myself from this hell.

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I searched for depression counselling near me and consulted a psychiatrist. She informed me that I was having clinical depression. She suggested me to follow the routine she prescribed to me. She made me understand that my stress level had increased and with time I had difficulty in dealing with stress. The effects of stress on the body had led to this state of mine. I did follow her instructions. I started going out for morning walks, I started feeding birds on my terrace, I started meditating and started taking ample sleep too. Initially everything was difficult but gradually with the onslaught of time I felt revived, I used to visit her for the conversation sessions and I could feel the difference in me. She used to talk to me about my new skills, how I am enhancing them, why I wanted to do better in life and many other questions which I wanted to answer.

An outsider provided me the space where I wanted to remain confined, though it is her job but I must agree she is great at it!”

His story tells us that –

“Nobody can save you but yourself, and you’re worth saving. It’s a war not easily won, but if anything is worth winning then this is it.”

Charles Bukowski

So, readers here’s a set of questions for you. How many of you have overlooked such friends in need? How many of you have emotionally abandoned your children? How many of you were too quick to judge any person like one in blog? How many of you have actually helped yourself in the manner this man has helped himself?

Why can’t we be a little cognizant of our own words and why can’t we be a little realistic. We need to understand the fact that our social media profiles are ‘virtual’ and our lives and people living around us are ‘real’. Let’s do our bit to make the world a little more habitable, by listening to people in need, by caring for them and by showing our concern for them. Let us make the sun shine brighter for people around us.

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”Healing takes time, and asking for help is a courageous step.” 

Mariska Hargitay


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