Mental Health Awareness

Posted by Kaanchi Chopra in #LetsTalk
April 4, 2017

NOTE: This post has been self-published by the author. Anyone can write on Youth Ki Awaaz.

This story is in response to Youth Ki Awaaz’s topic for this week – #LetsTalk to start a conversation on the stigma around depression. If you have an opinion or personal story of dealing with or helping someone else deal with depression or suicidal thoughts, write to us here.

As someone who has friends fighting depression and anxiety, I have been trying to understand mental illnesses using my drawings. The purpose of making art on these issues is to understand the emotional experiences of people with mental disorders. It is to give strength and courage to those who’re struggling under the weight of it, and it is to tell them that we are listening.

It’s extremely important for us to build an inclusive society that doesn’t demean people on the basis of their mental and physical health. I believe more and more of us should study/talk/draw/spread awareness on mental illnesses and only then we can be in a position to help our fellow friends.

This is my take on ‘what depression feels like’. One can observe the myriad of chaotic thoughts.

I  added a little something to Henn Kim’s work.

Your story isn’t over yet. Just stay. This is what the text of the book reads – 

You haven’t come this far to fall off the Earth. You don’t have to feel like a waste of space. You’re original. You’re strong. You got this. You cannot be replaced. You’re an overcomer. You will survive. Every little thing’s gonna be alright. Here you stand and here you will stay.  

The last piece is my interpretation of ‘overthinking’. Sometimes, it’s our negative thoughts which end up hurting us the most. Our mind shouldn’t control us, rather we should’ve a control over our mind and body.

Throughout the process of researching facts, reading people’s personal incidents, and talking to them one-to-one, I have been able to draw a link between creativity and mental health. The more we engage ourselves in proactive work, the more we are surrounded by positivity.  Zorana Ivcevic Pringle found that people who engaged in everyday forms of creativity – such as water colouring, taking photographs, or writing short stories – tended to be more open-minded, inquisitive, positive, enthusiastic, and intrinsically motivated by their activity. Those doing well in these everyday activities also reported feeling a greater sense of well-being and personal growth. Being self-driven, meditation and keeping oneself busy by acquiring new skills can increase concentration levels. Doing more of what we like can provide us with happiness and satisfaction. It’s also very crucial to analyse every situation, carefully. The futility of our extreme actions might dawn upon us sometime later, and especially in those times, we must congratulate ourselves for not giving up. We must be proud of what we have achieved by tracing back the path from where we began.

Making these drawings has helped me understand better the feelings of isolation and confusion that some of my friends experience every day. These few bulleted points can be followed by all of you to help your friends –

  • State phrases like ‘I am there for you’ and ‘Everything’s gonna be all right’.
  • Remind them of their strengths and express your faith in their abilities.
  • Listen to them. Be attentive and patient while listening.
  • Try to connect them with an expert. Encourage them to talk to a doctor.
  • Plan movie, singing or painting dates with them.

By grace, through faith.

Stay strong.

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