I’ve wanted to write about mental health for a very long time. It became a constant reminder to me whenever my friends uploaded a sad quote as their status (which was too deep to understand). I wanted to let them know that they’re not the only one and that it’s normal to feel depressed for a while. I’m not a therapist or a psychology student and, I’m still not confident about my views but, I thought that I should give it a try. If I’m missing out on some points or if you’re going to disagree with me, feel free to point it out.
Did you know that even identical twins have different fingerprints? ( Yes, I didn’t know this before)
Did you know that we share 98 % of our DNA with chimpanzees? ( This I knew)
The 2% difference is what makes us human.
And did you know that your 3 billion genomes of DNA is completely different from your neighbor’s?
Every one of us is unique from our very core. From our flavors to the way we think and act, we have our differences. My choice of TV shows/ movies may sound bizarre to you. I may laugh at things which you didn’t find funny. We also evolve every day. What I like today won’t be my favorite thing tomorrow. Instead of celebrating the fact that our complexity is what unites us, we judge others based on their differences. Imagine this, Jenny is a 25-year-old woman who is pregnant, and she chose to make an abortion. What do you want her to do?
a) She should go for it because it’s her life, her choice.
b) She shouldn’t because she doesn’t have the right to kill a life
The answer is none of the above. You can’t choose one option when you know nothing about Jenny. She may be a rape survivor or a sex addict. It could be a forced marriage, or this could be her 3rd abortion in two years.
Judging others without knowing and understanding is toxic and, mentally ill people isolate themselves due to the fear of judgment. They believe that they’ll get judged for being their worse self. They think that they’re disappointing the people around them. At that time, you can’t guide them with your belief system. Your set of principles and rules is not going to help them. All you can and have to do is ask them if everything’s okay. If not, listen to them without any judgment.
Now you might have a question to ask: How can I know if my friend is depressed or not? Good question. You won’t know. He/she might be going through their worst traumatic phase, and you will have no idea. But that’s not the case with everyone, look for some slight changes in behavior. For example, he/she might restrain themselves from participating in gatherings. They might not be concentrating on what you’re saying, or they could get angry over minor inconvenience (look out for mood swings). It’s not hard to notice if you’re seeing them regularly. You have to be there for people before it becomes too late, and be empathetic. (don’t let this become a privilege).
The following words are for people who didn’t want to leave their beds or step outside the house or wake up the next morning.
1. Accept that you’re suffering today.
You may have heard quotes such as
“Life is a roller coaster ride; there will be ups and downs in it.”
” It’s not a bad life, just a bad day.”
These are all true and motivating. It assures you that everything is going to be alright and gives you hope that tomorrow will be better than today. But this reassuring has normalized mental health. You will hope for a better tomorrow while not knowing when that tomorrow will arrive. Your wait for everything to go back to normal may take quite some time.
“I’m okay.” “I’ll be fine tomorrow.” is not going to take away your worry about today. It’s not going to erase things that you went through yesterday. This attitude will assure your friends and family that you’ll be alright in a few days. They’ll think that you can handle this stress when you clearly cannot. As long as its bothering you and your mental health, you’ll need to take the first step by accepting your pain.
2. Address your depression.
Don’t empathize with yourself thinking that, your depression is nothing compared to a person who has lost their loved ones. It won’t heal you. I felt depressed when my best friend left town for college. It may sound petty to a person whose dog died or to a person who got rejected again in an interview. But it is still pain and, pain is subjective. It may not be worth acknowledging for others but your mental health matters to you and, It matters to everyone around you. Address it by acknowledging it.
3.Vent it out
In Japan, people have crying clubs called Rui-katsu (meaning- tear-seeking) to clear their mind and reduce the stress. They believe that crying is an integral part of their life. (also, a study found out that Japanese are among the least likely to cry). Crying is not a sign of weakness or vulnerability. It’s one of our emotions and, we must express it once in a while instead of suppressing. Crying resets your mind and helps you to function a lot better. If crying is not helping you, take a break. Go on a road trip, try some new clothes and do something that you love doing. A little you time is all it takes to rediscover yourself.
4. Seek help.
Let people know that you’re not doing good so that they can help you. Confronting your feelings to your closed circle may not be comfortable with you. (In most of the cases, our own family and friends become the causes of our depression). Consult a psychologist and schedule a therapy session. If you’re a school or college student and feel that you couldn’t afford therapy, there’s plenty of helplines and NGOs who are working towards creating awareness about mental health. I’ve mentioned some of the helpline number and NGOs’ website link below. If this doesn’t work, you can always talk to me. (I may not look approachable but trust me, I’m very friendly and sweet). You don’t have to suffer alone and, always remember that pain is a part of your growth.