This couldn’t be happening to me, I would tell myself, every time I found myself crying inconsolably, with either my head buried deep in a pillow or muffling my sobs in the bathroom. Wasn’t my life as perfect as it could be? Married at 25, had a child at 28, doing a job that I loved and living the ideal family life every woman wants to? Then why was I feeling this endless pit in guts? Why did it my chest hurt, as if there was a weight strapped to it 24 by 7? Why my mind was constantly enveloped in this thick sludge of numbness? Why was I crying so bitterly and that too at an alarmingly increasing frequency? I was suffering from depression, but I refused to accept it. And it was only when I found the courage to accept this fact, did the process of healing begin.
- A lot of people live in denial of an on-going mental health crisis.
- The stigma around mental health keeps people from accepting that they have a problem at hand.
- But how can a person begin to heal, unless they accept that something is not right in their life?
- It only gets easier, once your find the courage to raise your hand and ask for help.
I was suffering from depression, but I refused to accept it. And it was only when I found the courage to accept this fact, did the process of healing begin.
We live in a society which still looks down upon mental health crisis as if it is some kind of unnatural occurrence, something all of us should be scared of. Mental illness is a taboo and if one dares to speak about it, one risks being ostracised socially and sadly, even by their near ones. A 2018 report by The Live Love Laugh Foundation suggests that 87 percent of respondents who participated associated mental illness with severe disorders. What’s more, about 47 percent of participants admitted to using the word “retard” to describe people with mental illness. Is it a surprise then, that people suffering from mental health issues often live in denial of their problem?
We talk about depression for instance, and we discuss what the signs are if a person is depressed. We even discuss how to be supportive of such people, and therein lies the problem. We see it as something which happens to others, not as something that could happen to us too. Isn’t this approach of ours applicable to all misfortunes and diseases though? We never see ourselves as patients or rather sufferers, and always views mental health crisis from a third person’s perspective.
Also, there seems to be a lack of awareness regarding the healing part of mental health issues. So I have a mental health crisis, what’s next for me? Will it ever go away? Or will it follow me for the rest of my life? Will it affect my work or my personal life? Will it get worse with time or better? Better to shun the problem out of your head than deal with it. But alas, averting your gaze won’t make the problem go away. This is why we need to encourage people to embrace their mental health issues because that is the first step of the healing process.
You won’t know how to deal with your issues, unless you seek help. And you won’t seek help unless you accept that you have a problem. It only gets easier once you accept this and then also accept that you need to take help, which is another struggle.
It took courage on my part to open up complete stranger and let her help me figure out my issues. I was never promised a solution, and only after months of therapy did it dawn on me that I had played the biggest part in my own healing. First by facing my fears and inhibitions, second by reaching out for help and third, by being stubborn enough to stick to the long and draining process of putting myself together, and getting that proverbial weight off my chest.
Why have I chosen to open about my struggles? Because I know what it is like to not take help and suffer in silence, without any help. I would encourage anyone reading this article and dealing with a mental health crisis to reach out and ask for help. To overcome the roadblocks of superstitions, notions and stereotypes this may be keeping you from doing so. But first and foremost, to accept that you are not okay.
Picture Credit: Roar.Lk
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.