Stigma: Mental Health

Dear Diary,

I’m back with another rant! If you didn’t get a chance to look at my previous one, you can check here. So as you can see from the titles of my rant posts, I have this thing against stigma (don’t we all?). It hits my core every time I hear someone generalizing based on a stigma- we all are individual beings, each have our own story, let us be! With that being said, I want to talk about a worldwide stigma people have, and that is mental health. Before I tell you what mental health is, let’s hear what some of you have to say about mental health and issues pertaining to it and what you guys think it is.

Bob #1: People who are crazy because they can’t handle their life and end up in the loony bin

Bob #2: It’s kind of like in the movie the exorcist right? People are yelling and screaming weird scary things and running around

Well, I’m sorry tell you Bob #1,2, but y’all are wrong! Mental health issues is a lot more than what you see on TV and the movies. It’s an actual thing many ‘normal’ people have! – you don’t say. What is mental health then you ask? After searching through many definitions, I couldn’t find a proper definition to truly explain what I believe this is. So I’m going to make up my own definition. I believe that it is a disturbance in one’s regular mental health which can be caused and triggered by anything, from a simple complication at work to a life changing trauma, and it doesn’t just ‘get better’ or ‘go away’ it stays with the person, you probably don’t know it because many hide it, but its there. It requires proper professional attention just as any other illness a person has. Often, many people suppress the thoughts of depression and anxiety within them out of fear or embarrassment of what people may think of them.

So the point I’m trying to make here is that mental disorders are a real thing that happen to real and ‘normal’ people- and no, the depressing thoughts don’t go away if you just stop thinking about it. Think of it like this, if there is an urgent task at mind that you need to do, you won’t stop thinking about it till its done, right? So same thing here, a person who may have depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts etc. can’t stop thinking about it until help is sought.  They are real ailments just as a fever or cold and need to be treated in the same manner as you’d treat a physical ailment.

There is no need to ostracize or make fun of people who cope with depression, anxiety etc. It’s just a sign of their strength, that they are in the process of tackling a challenge and they could use all the support possible. This is nothing to be embarrassed of, every person goes through a struggle in life, some may not handle it as well as others, but that’s okay!

Now that we’ve clarified that this is a problem anyone can face, not just some person who stays at the ‘mental hospital’, I want to tell you why am I passionate about this. I have had many people who are close to me who have faced similar mental health disorders, and it hurt to see them go through the pain without anyone understanding it. Situations only got worse and hospital trips became frequent, why? They didn’t want to open up to anyone! So after many months of effort and consistency, they spoke up about their problems, their feelings, and their pain, they agreed to get treatment and were on their way to recovery.

Until my next rant,

xoxo

Shazia Arif

Image: Google Images

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