Life Mental Health

Mental Health Is ‘My Thing’

With everything that is going on around the world, we are exposed to crises on a daily basis each time we scroll through our feeds. So naturally, one day gender equity is our thing, one day it is equal wages, another morning we are moved by farmers’ plight, and then our new thing is mental health awareness. It keeps changing – our cause, our rationale, our tipping point. Because that is what everything has come down to. A thing. So what are we really doing about these things? Just to save your time, this does not concern people who are fence sitters on issues that affect people on a day-to-day basis – online and offline.

I know it is overwhelming to read, watch, and listen to so much in one shot. Nobody really can. But whatever we do, can we do that with a little empathy? This has been something I have been wanting to talk about ever since the lockdown began, when we saw the migrant exodus in India. We cannot put up a fight against each battle, but there seemed to be an exceeding amount of ignorance and carelessness on issues that grew to hurt me.

It took an Indian actor’s death for the conversation around mental health to surface in our society. Even though there are finer details that are being combed through, my question is WHY. Why does it take a celebrity’s passing to throw light on a taboo that has been part of our society since the beginning of time?

Why does everything have to be so fleeting? Today’s topic is mental health awareness. Tomorrow’s will be something else and we will have opinions on that too. We all have our own battles to fight, yes. But in that case, can we please not join each and every bandwagon mindlessly? Because by doing that, we are only diluting the enormity of the problem people actually face.

Reading all the articles and messages around his demise was very triggering for me because of the artificial concerns expressed on how our society does not treat mental health as a legitimate issue. This has been an ongoing battle for many people like me who was ‘mature for my age’ or an ‘intense personality’ – we are this way because we feel and comprehend things in a different way. We felt a lot and we genuinely did not know better ways to process. And let me also tell you, that this is not a conscious choice. When we read long articles and stories about how depression is ignored, we know it is. There is countless research on how there is a prejudice in the Indian society against mental health. So instead of talking about it as something that just ‘happens to you’, please take some time out to understand the meaning of words like depression, trauma, and anxiety. Because these things are not incidental.

Casually tossing terms like OCD and anxiety and romanticizing about them does not make anyone a part of some imaginary community. Our mental health is not a quip for us going through it and it should not be for onlookers either. While I always give room for people to educate themselves and alter their opinions on passing issues, this is not a passing issue. So please, the next time a big wave hits the shore, do not blatantly join a campaign and narrate a story about how you ‘got anxiety’ when it was really just a reality check. I am sorry, but this is not cute anymore. If we are able to read this, we also have the capability to open our browsers to find answers or reach out to someone to help. And if incase we are not in the headspace to, then that is okay too. But let’s not dip our toes in the water and opt out when it gets uncomfortable.

This is not a random outburst that will fade away with the next headline. My entire thesis-writing journey revolved around equipping adolescents with ways to deal with mental health adversities. While it began with personal motivations, it was and has continued to be an eye-opener for me purely because it calls attention to the giant treatment gap that exists in our country. It is not a lost cause; there are several initiatives that are driving change through their content. But it will only take effect if people respect each battle even if it is not their own. We are not obligated to post an update about how moved we are only because we want to sound woke. Because trust me, some of us can see right through it.

All it takes is a little bit of empathy. We don’t have to suffer from something to empathise. If you need ideas on how to make a difference, here are a few – talk to someone, look up groups online and offline, educate yourself, spread awareness, ask questions. If you want to help, please make it count. Even if we reach out to one person to check on them, it means a great deal.

This pandemic has amplified our emotions in various ways, and it would be a shame if we came out of it as oblivious as we entered it.

119 comments

  1. Empathy us such an important part of being a good human. We will all face difficulty our lives, and it is important we know we are not alone. The difficulties we face we will be our own, but others will have useful advice and wisdom that can provide us with tools to manage our mental health.

    I really like the way you encourage everyone to reach out if they are in a position to, and to be ok if they aren’t right now. One phrase I’ve heard that resonates with me is “don’t be afraid to reach in.” When experiencing struggle sometimes it is difficult to reach out. Know this, and reach into the lives of our friends. It will make more of a difference than we might possibly ever know. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing such important words, especially during such an uncertain time. Thank you. Kia kaha (stay strong) everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great insights I know i have had to remove myself from all news and look to nature for my own mental health. I think we are getting waterfalls of information and trying to catch it in a teacup. I do keep informed a little but then shut it all down

    Stay well and Laugh when you can

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, so many “things.” Every day it is something different. Mental health is definitely talked about more than ever before, but is it truly understood? When I was in high school, I struggled with depression, most of it triggered by my often extreme social anxiety and wishing I could be like the other kids who could socialize effortlessly. Back then, I didn’t know much about depression and it was rarely talked about. Now that it is talked about more often in the media, I am amazed at the number of people who struggle. I grew up believing I was the only “weird” one, always wondering what was wrong with me. Great post and great perspective!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Very interesting. I believe that we need to bring more awareness to mental health, so that we don’t feel as if we are struggling alone. Often times, depression makes one feel all alone. I just started my blog as well and will be interviewing real people with real mental health struggles. I would love some input from anyone that is willing to help bring awareness to mental health. 🙂 Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you. A great blog. Compassion, kindness lack of judgment, honest acknowledgment of what folks are writing and saying but also a need to remember that human beings All are so much MORE than skin colour, We are , physical, social emotional, of multi life and social circumstances. and – life structure, One lesson this pandemic is bringing out is the intrinsic truth that we must all honestly start taking care of each other. Mentally, physically, And spiritually. Keep writing folks. Let you unique voice be heard but ever sensitive to the aching needs of ALL out there in the nations of this world.LOVE is the greatest TRUTH.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I love how you pointed out that people who casually throw these terms around not knowing the depth of it are easily recognizable. I also loved how you mentioned that people do this to look or sound woke, this bandwagon phenomenon with anything that is new and relevant really is a great concern and is alarming 😔 Glad someone said it

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  6. This is a brilliant article and it really highlights the lack of seriousness that most people take on these issues. It’s very true that this isn’t just an issue to see for one day, a lot of people must deal with this daily throughout their lives.

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  7. I have to convey my passion for your generosity for folks that should have help with this one area. Your special commitment to getting the message all through turned out to be certainly valuable and has regularly enabled those much like me to reach their ambitions. Your personal important facts signifies much a person like me and additionally to my colleagues. Thanks a lot; from each one of us.

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  8. Really great piece. Very thoughtfully written and really insightful. It’s time that mental health was taken seriously and with kindness. It’s debilitating if it isn’t managed and so often, due to stigma and misunderstanding, it goes unmanaged. I enjoyed this very much.

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  9. I completely agree with you. Mental health is a very important topic, and is either not given the attention it needs, or is treated as something undesirable. And we are the only ones who can put an end to this. We all need to use our voices for a good person. This was an eye-opening article

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  10. deep and true. mental health isn’t a “I’ll take it from here” conversation.. it’s more personal and as individualized as we each exist. We can be in the same room staring at the same picture but our experiences are our own.

    Like

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