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.

65 comments

  1. The words I hate are ” you are overthinking” I like your writing both the form and content and I have spent time learning how to relate to someone very fragile emotionally, who has never found a place or person suitable for him and the love he might have been able to give.We are all different but certain things like labelling and confronatiin are damaging.I hope to come back here

    Liked by 3 people

  2. People kind of see mental health as a trend, like oh i’m so depressed, or omg I wanna kill myself. People need to educate themselves, thanks for this post xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for the blog. Simply well-stated and written.
    I am guilty of this too in that I have not educated myself on mental health like I’m supposed to. It doesn’t have to take the death of a celebrity or for it to be in-our-backyard for us to care. Thanks for reminding us.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kundera has written: “The infinite is this darkness we carry on within us. Yes! If you want to meet the infinite, just close your eyes”.

    Or we close eyes and ears, or we go mad. I think there’s a certain class of a few discrete and “nice” guys for whom is profitable that we get permanently busy, living among conflicts of all kinds. For those “good people”, it’s lost the sense of what means Humanity.

    Do Black Lives matter? Yes, but this phrase should mean convergence of all people against the “Mekhané” (the System Engine). That’s not what we see on the streets. We see people, under a legitimate cause, fighting for expose their own frustrations and looking for a Judah to hang up.

    Thanks a lot for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Júlio, thank you very much for sharing your thoughts. We are all going through a huge shift and finding meaning and a sense of solace in literature is a great way of dealing with modern predicaments. Yes, all protests may not be for one common cause, we all stand up when something strikes a chord with us personally. I think what matters is our commitment to it. I appreciate your insight! 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Very relevant issue in the current times! Pretty informative and very well organized! Thanks for sharing! Actually my last Sunday blog was on the same problem, not exactly but emerges from depression leading to suicide. That’s why I found your piece very absorbing. Keep it up and stay blessed! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Very well said. I have been living with bipolar disorder all my life, taking meds since 1992. The ignorance and stigma are rampant in the USA and Canada concerning mental health issues. We need more essays and consciousness raising around the world. I appreciate your visits and likes on my poetry. I would be honoured if you would look around my site a little as I have done considerable work in this field myself. Is there a way we might team up from opposite sides of the planet? Thanks for your post.
    Dave

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Yes, Completely agree with your thoughts. Very well written. It is important to discuss more about mental health and spread awareness rather being insensitive. In fact, I have also written a post about mental health to tell people that how serious it is especially in this pandemic. I am glad you think the same.

    Like

  8. In the United States, we ask the same questions about why mental health gets attention when celebrities harm themselves. If giving our attention to tragic things when tragic things happen to famous people, then maybe this can tell us that famous people must be the recipients of our attention.

    I think that constant media and social media usage is harming us. If humans are riding on the back of a giant fire-breathing beast, then hourly media consumption must be like sitting between many of these giant fire-breathing beasts while they are yelling at each other.

    Like

  9. When I was growing up, depression was treated as if it was a cop-out and an excuse to make others feel sorry for you. I dont know how I survived. I am right there with you on this issue, but also, I will say that I will not see a “mental health professional”, because every one I have been to has found a way to pre-judge my circumstances before getting to the root of the issues I was faced with. In some places, they use it as a means to pry into places in your life where they dont belong. While mental health is a huge issue, I do believe that one way we can help each other is by seeking to inspire one another. We all have a purpose, and we should be helping each other to find their way through the weeds of meaning and find confidence in ourselves. Not pride, but confidence. We are all uniquely created, and when we discover our true purpose, we can rise above all the mental health issues. Our uniqueness is what makes us qualified to be who we are, and that uniqueness is needed. If as a society we have failed at anything, we failed the most at believing that we should be the same as others. While we should set a moral standard, we should never think we should follow a crowd to be something we really aren’t. We should take the time to discover who we were created to be….and for what purpose. It is in this purpose that we find peace in a difficult world to live in. Today, let’s just look and in the mirror and tell ourselves that we appreciate that we were created with a different personality, talents, and even looks, because, well, it is what makes us unique….just like Monet. That painting is so valuable that it is difficult to place a piece on it; so are you. You are so unique that you are that valuable. Dont let anyone let you believe that you are any less than that.

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