“In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”

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.

Helplines: 

https://thelivelovelaughfoundation.org/helpline.html#helplinenumbers

https://thebanyan.org/contact/

http://www.aasra.info/contact.html\

Story time

I had to choose Ecology and Waste Management for my IDCP (one of the subjects which my college forces us to study) and, in our very first class, one girl asked a question which I can never forget. Her question completely changed my perspective about everything and, made me realize certain things.
A guy professor entered our class (it’s a girls’ college and yes, it’s a big deal) with a lot of enthusiasm and josh. He seemed to be determined to teach us something that can enlighten us ( oh boy, was he disappointed? Very much.) He started his lecture with Big Bang theory, the five elements, and all those basic stuff about how our human body and the universe are very much similar. Eventually, he started talking about climate change, plastic pollution, tanning cruelty and how animals are becoming endangered. He produced enough information to make me feel guilty. I mean, why wouldn’t I? I’m part of a sick generation who are letting global warming happen right in front of us and do nothing about it. While I was contemplating my useless existence, this girl from some department interrupted the professor with a very relevant question. She asked or more like she accused, “You’re talking about how animals are getting slaughtered to make leather, then why are you wearing a leather belt and leather shoes?” He got surprised a little bit but somehow managed to answer her back which I didn’t pay attention to because I was quite busy processing what had just happened. I know our generation has bad manners but the guts to ask that kind of question is something else (she kind of gave me Arjun Reddy vibes.) At first, her question made sense and everyone seemed to agree with her. She had a point but when I overthought about it, it didn’t feel right. Every single thing the professor said made us rethink our convenient lifestyle. He wanted us to be aware. He wanted us to not take the environment for granted. He did everything he could to convince us that we’re responsible for the things that are happening around us. To sum it up, he gave a pretty good pep talk and like my man Joker said, “If you’re good at something, never do it for free.” He was just trying to create awareness for which he got paid. He didn’t try to set an example, he didn’t think twice when he bought those leather shoes but he was doing his part. The fact that he cared about the environment and raised his voice was more than enough. Expecting him to be perfect and set a role model for every one of his students is not fair. He could persuade us and he used it for good. To sit and criticize is like pouring a glass of water into the ocean. It won’t make a difference. This little realization made me feel good about myself because all my life, I’ve been pushing myself to be perfect. I didn’t want people to find my flaws and judge me for things that I’m not good at. After this incident, I realized that it’s okay to be okay or average and there’s always hope for growth. We’re not multi-skilled. We’re not superhumans. We’re humans with imperfections and that is enough to do our part. That professor did something to make a change and something is better than nothing. If you’re planning on starting a startup or organize an awareness campaign or to even write about climate change and other issues, go for it. It doesn’t have to be perfect but it could be a start to discover and grow.

You

You will reach a point in your life where you’ll feel nothing

A point at which absolutely nothing matters to You

You don’t want to fight back or feel sad

You don’t want to be happy or feel angry

You’ll feel a black hole of emptiness

You then kill everything

With words, with words you’ve never said before

With words full of hatred

With words which you’ve been holding on for a very long time

You’ll want to scream but you can’t

You’ll want to cry but you won’t

You’ll expect someone to understand You

But no one will

Except You

You’re the one

You know You

You’ve been there and You went through that

You survived

You became stronger

You stumbled upon the way

but You made it

It may happen again

But it won’t last in front of You

So hold on

You’ve got this!

-Vinodhini Kannan

A Knightingale

Starry skies and glimpsing lights

she stood there with no one beside

indeed an enticing sight to admire

her miseries was eclipsed by the night

but when chaotic catastrophes collide

fear lurked inside

she knew what she did was right

but gone were the days of pride

yet she raised with a desire to fight

for what’s left in her rights

she became stronger than the fright

she became the light of the night.

– Vinodhini Kannan

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