Dear Society, My Mental Health Issues Are Not Just A ‘Phase’

I have always wanted to lead a life full of possibilities and happiness. Since childhood, I was taught to believe in positivity and the fact that life is a bed of roses. We are taught that the human body is full of physical complications if we have a fever or a stomach ache or some other body ache, we need to consult a doctor. In the process of caring for our physical structure, we ignore the most important aspect of life, and that is the human brain.

To problems related to mental health, people say, “It is just in your head”, “Be positive and it’s just a phase”. From my teenage to adult phase, the most common statement I heard was “it is just a phase”. I grew up with this statement and thought of my mental health issue as a ‘phase’ and waited for it to pass—just as a fever passes.

Mental issues are treatable, and there is nothing to be ashamed of.

Society says the best way to fight mental issues is to bring in more positivity⁠—read books, and you will see the difference. Did I? Yes, I did see the difference, and that difference led me to my forced fantasy world of “everything is okay”. This reminds me of an incident which happened to me when I was a happy and chirpy girl. One fine month, things were not going the way I thought they would, and I faced family issues and relationship issues. As a result, my brain started to behave in a funny way, everything confused me, and life became slow. I used to cry myself to sleep, and even my work was affected. Guess what society said, “it is a phase, it will pass” but I wanted to shout “I need help”.

The maximum help I got was that my family took me to a recreational place where they loaded my “body” with oil while my brain said “Excuse me! It is me who needs help and not the body.” My body was fine; my brain wasn’t. The screams went unheard, and I decided to move on and consider it as a phase. Being a well-read person, I ignored the fact that I needed help. Why are we so afraid to ask for help? Is it because society label will label us as “mental”? Are we that insensitive? If even well-read people claim that depression is a phase, or a person suffering from it is mental, then we really need to introspect.

Since independence, we shout education for all, “padega nahi India toh badega kaise” (If India does not read, how will it grow?) But we are not using our knowledge if we label people as mental or boycott them. We claim to be literate, and still, we fail to understand most of the mental issues are genetic. We, modern humans, believe in science and facts, and yet, when the facts are presented, we don’t believe them. Why is it so hard to believe that a person suffering from depression is not going through a phase? We might believe in science, but when we see our family members suffering from any mental issue, instead of consulting a doctor, we take them to temples!

I know it is easy to say but difficult to believe in truth. But we need to start somewhere. For me, people said it was a phase, but I know what it felt like. The pain, the nights, the constant noise in my head telling me to give up—I would not want others not to get the required help. Let us take a step forward and help people rather than belittling them.

Stand up for people who have issues, treat them like normal people, take them to a psychiatrist. There is no shame in it; they need help, help them. Give them the life that is “full of possibilities and happiness”. Mental issues are treatable, and there is nothing to be ashamed of. Life can be a bed of roses if we want to make it so for ourselves and others around us.

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