Sharing my thoughts on the occasion of World Mental Health Day, which was observed on 10th October. These are my observations, musings.
We seldom acknowledge any mental health issue which we experience. e.g. depression, anxiety, persecution, obsessive compulsions etc. & continue to be miserable without seeking any help.
We have been indoctrinated not to be open about any mental health issue, as if we say so, it’s considered as a sign of weakness. At the same time, I have seen people obsessing or even flaunting their ever fluctuating blood pressure. And it is expected that we, the surrounding people show concern or sympathy or suggest some remedy.
I was pondering over this & it fueled my train of thought. Many a times, what we don’t realize is that even our minds need checkups, monitoring, exercise, rest, relaxation etc. just like our body. There is nothing wrong in saying I am not feeling well emotionally & need help. I still remember that incident, when I was diagnosed as having epilepsy, a lady asked me, “Are you mad? Do you have any tensions to cause epilepsy?”.
There were too many issues involved here, like her insensitivity towards my Epileptic condition. Secondly, her ignorance about Epilepsy & confusing it with a mental illness instead of understanding issue as just a neurological condition. What disturbed me the most was her condescending attitude towards a mentally ill person as calling them mad (using it like an negative adjective).
It required a lot of calmness & patience to make her understand what Epilepsy is & what mental health was. Though in my case, it was due to chemical imbalance during pregnancy which caused my epilepsy. As I kept my cool, I told her the exact reason for my epilepsy and made it clear, that if I was not tough or mature enough & did not understand my condition well, the words she had uttered would have destroyed me. (That’s the reason why people with severe epilepsy or people having any mental health issue can undergo depression, persecution & isolation).
I am not sure about the amount of difference my statements made in her life, but it made me an Advocate for People with Special Needs.
I realized that a lot of awareness & sensitivity from the society is required for a person who is going through a serious mental illness. Adequate Support & Counselling to persons undergoing any mental health issue is extremely necessary to prevent a mental setback & restoration of mental balance & harmony.
“Seer Salamat Toh Pagdi Pachas!”