I am not a trained professional in Psychology or Mental health. My intention to share my story is merely to raise awareness among people and the stigma attached to it. Please consult a professional if you go through depression, anxiety, or any mental illness.
Today I am ,who I am partially because of seeing a doctor in time and partially because of my personal efforts to make myself aware and accept my illness gradually,without judging myself further. I don’t know how else I would have got out of this hell otherwise ?
The day I announced my parents that I need to see a ‘ psychiatrist’ when I was on the verge of losing control over my mind,and mentally exhausted bearing things alone,the expression on their face was shocking?
I was not at all surprised to their reaction,as majority of Indian families are cultured in a way with strong religious beliefs ,where such kind of pain is considered a sign of being ‘ weak ‘ or some kind of abnormality, which may tarnish their image in the society. Which is again drawn by various fearful thoughts like ,their child will not be respected in the society ,or face marriage / job issues in future.
Why just blame the narrow minded thought process that we culturally imbibe in Indian societies, even movies & serials specially from the 80s and 90s had being depicting mental illness inappropriately on the visual media ,which has the highest impact on the ordinary people like me and you more than anything ,creating negative attitude about visiting a psychiatrist, which instantly terms a person to be ” mentally ill”,”psychotic ” or insane. Someone who is abnormal and do not belong to the community or who might be a threat to their surrounding.
Such collectively hateful attitude of society on the whole ,is increasingly driving victims to commit suicide ,with no other option left. When we were born,we were definitely not born with the tag of ‘ Mental illness’ on our heads ,it grew gradually due to various circumstances and reasons. The inner core of your make knows very well, that something went wrong later in your life ,unless u had some genetic history in your growing years or awareness about it during your childhood which rarely happens. Don’t give that right to the society to decide what you will be tagged as .
Let’s just put all the gaping eyes at the other side of the wall and treat yourself as some mindful zombie ,who is very well aware that you are not a threat to a society or yourself, you can cure yourself with the right guidance and treatment. So be it whatever they look at you as,give a damm to everyone across the wall and get help from the right people anyway. Think to yourself like its the test of your inner belief in yourself,of how far you can believe in yourself when the world and your mind is against you.
There is very little awareness among people about how medications and therapies can help any individual lead a normal life again.Many of them, also have a belief that medications are harmful to mind & body as it tends to put on weight or cause major relapses if you stop taking them in between.But think of it this way,when you are in the middle of any life threatening situation would u still think of the minor bearable side effects or your own sanity at that point of time?
To ease the dilemma of visiting a psychiatrist, which people often see as threat,if you are so much worried of the side effects,you can aleast get a counseling done ,which don’t include medications, depending on the seriousness of you mental health ,let the professional decide whats appropriate for you. There is no point getting sandwiched between the societal issues and visiting the psychiatrist, there are various ways out there like pre-counseling, psychotherapy which includes long term therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy .
Thankfully now a days there has been lot of awareness campaigns going on right from the commoners to celebrities, to break the stigma finally.Yet it a fact that the stigma is still prominent among variety of narrow minded people from different standards of living. And its a need of the hour that we all keep doing our bit to break this chain of stigma in our society for good.
From my personal experience, following these 4 steps is like solving 50 % of your mental illness which is more stigma oriented half of the times then treatment based. That is why I truely feel,any one suffering through mental illness, before jumping into preconceived assumptions,should gain awareness of their condition first, accept it ,and without judging yourself or others, seek professional help asap. Remember, You were not born with the tag of ” Mental illness “on your head, why acccept the the tag from the society,believe in your inner truth and dare to get help anyway.