Mental illness is not a myth but an understated issue
- 1 Post
- Age 19
Are you sitting within the periphery of four walls of your room and brooding? Your cell phone, lying next to you is going on buzzing, your news feed has flooded with notifications, but you do not care to check them. You’ve had a hard time getting up from sleep. You have somehow pushed yourself to get up because you’ve to set out for work.
So, you are sitting up on the bed, gazing at outside through the window. The weather is perfect for a day out; the sun is shining beautifully, but your mind is full of clouds; gloomy and dull. Neither do you wish to go out with your friends nor do you want to go to work. You skip your breakfast because you don’t feel like having it.
After an hour or two, much unwillingly you hit the road. You’ve boarded a bus, got a sit and soon resumed the incomplete task of gazing through the window. You’ve missed the bus stop where you were supposed to get down. You realize it after a while when the bus has crossed two or three stoppages ahead of it. You get down there and start walking back towards your office.
Of course you’re late. After mentioning a formal apology you take your seat, there are piles of files on your desk and you’re now all set to work. Are you? Yes, you should be. That’s what you do every day. But today you’re not in the mood to work. At least, initially, you think your mood is off. At lunch hour, you do not go out to have your meal. You haven’t brought it from home either. When one of your colleagues offers you food you politely say “Thanks but I am not hungry” and have a few biscuits.
So it is 7 pm, you start for going home leaving your office-desk in a mess, your day’s job; half done; half undone. You’ve now reached home and taken a shower. You go to the kitchen and instead of making dinner you cook soup and have it at around 9 pm. Then you switch on the T.V to watch your favorite show but you aren’t enjoying it. So you switch it off, lying on bed and staring at the ceiling. Then you slowly go off to sleep. You have left your office hoping to finish off the half-done tasks, the next day. But the next day gets even worse.
And this continues for a week. You’re trapped in a cage of dejection, anxiety, and frustration. You’re unable to understand what’s going wrong with you. You’ve started recalling many past events which need no recollection at this point of time and have blamed yourself for everything that has gone wrong in your life. So, you’re down all the time. But you have no control over your thoughts, so the more you want to avoid them the more they overwhelm you. You stay aloof from people. You have grabbed many eyeballs and people have started talking about you, behind your back.
So you decide to take a temporary leave from work for a week and try out different ways to get rid of it. You spend some time with your family and keep your friends close to you but nothing gets better. You feel alone even when you are surrounded by people. You feel lost and directionless as if you are drowning in the unfathomable depths of despair and depression. Your life, your career, your goals, everything now seem meaningless to you.
Finally someone suggests you to visit a psychologist presuming you are going through depression. You’re confused upon hearing this. So you start gathering information about it. On knowing, you vehemently deny having a mental health condition. Because you think, if people come to know of this, they are going to look down on you. You are reluctant to go to a psychologist fearing others will perceive you as a mad person. So you lock yourself in your room for a few more days only to realize this can’t go on.
Then you take a step ahead to go to a psychologist and eventually get diagnosed with clinical depression. The psychologist gives you some therapies and you start doing them. Again, you get back to work and struggle to cope up with your social life. At times you think you won’t be able to get over this, but then you remember your psychologist has said, “Don’t think you are alone. Many people go through this. So don’t lose hope. This is just a phase which will pass and you’ll be happy again.” And, you keep moving.
This is the story of many of us who have had mental illness. Some have got cured, some have succumbed to it, some are still fighting it and some might have it in future. It is like any other illness which needs a cure. But many patients don’t seek help because mental illness has been taboo in our society resulting in its negligence and unawareness. Consequently the victims suffering from mental illness are unfairly discriminated and shamed. Most of the people affected by it don’t open up and they suffer in silence.
But what must concern us is mental illness is on the rise globally. According to WHO around 350 million people in the world are affected by depression and many people are likely to be affected by mental health conditions at some point in their lives. Hence, it’s time, we start spreading awareness about it and do away with the stigma associated with mental illness. If each one of us take steps, we can make a difference. To all those who have had gone through mental health conditions which require treatment, speak up; seek professional help and do not shy away from sharing your story. Your story could inspire a lot of people who are going through similar condition and they might think of approaching professionals as well. Come on, let’s take a pledge to de-stigmatize it.