It's Okay To Not Be Okay
By: Annika Gwalani
Mental health is one of the most critical issues in today's world. Gradually, with the increase in technology, education, urbanisation, competition etc, conditions like depression, anxiety, mood swings have become more common than usual. Although these issues were present in earlier times too, they have become socially acceptable only recently. Earlier mental issues were stigmatised, a person with any other physical ailment was treated with care and their problems were given the required importance, however mental ailments were hidden from society and people were afraid to speak about them.
These days, seeking therapy has become a common practice and anybody can visit a therapist even if they don't have critical problems. For instance, if one is facing issues with their family or workplace, if one is unable to handle the workload or stress, if one has recently shifted to a new place and is finding it difficult to adjust, therapy is the commonly sought solution.
A common misconception amongst many is that mental health issues are more prominent in the new generation, however statistics show that the gen z is as affected as the millennials. It is often confused with the fact that mental health issues are more common in recent times rather than in the recent generation.
Studies show that issues like depression, stress, loneliness, hopelessness are more common in women as they have a higher Emotional Quotient than men and tend to think from the right side of the brain- i.e the side causing emotions, creativity, intuition, etc. as women are generally burdened with more work than men, for eg. taking care of home, children, family, workplace, etc. mood swings and anxiety is also more common in women as a result of menstrual cycles and it becomes more clear during mid 40s-50s.
Mental health issues in men are less as compared to those in women, as they tend to think with the left side of the brain that causes logic, reasoning, analysis, practicality, language, etc.
More often than not, men tend to do more economised work than take care of the family.
Due to increased competition, students also feel burdened with the stress and the acceptance of failure is almost negligible. This leads to a feeling of complete isolation, sadness and hopelessness.
In recent times, many activists, students, bloggers are trying to reach out and spread awareness, to normalise mental health issues, and sensitize them. Regular campaigns, workshops, webinars, are held to voice opinions and reach out to people. it is highly crucuial to do so, so that in future the situation is even better and there is a dip in the number of regular cases of suicide and similar extreme steps taken as a result of such disorders.
Yet, it is seen that many of us have little or no knowledge of disorders such as DID, bipolar, schizophrenia, pistanthrophobia, PTSD, anxiety, addiction.
Lastly, i'd like to conclude with a few pointers,
First, people with mental health disorders shouldnt be trolled. Using terms like "retarded" "crazy" "psychotic" "abnormal" isnt okay.
Normalise having a mental health disorder just like you normalise having a stomach ache, it's temporary, it can be cured, and it is okay to be living with a mental illness.
Making jokes about such sensitive issues isn't okay.
Generalising a category or saying that a specific group of people are more susceptible to illnesses without due studies is not okay.
Claiming to have faced mental illnesses for personal ulterior gains is not okay.
Banishing someone or avoiding them because they are people living with mental illnesses is not okay.
Telling someone off for reaching out is not okay.
Saying "it's not a big deal" or "it doesn't matter" or "you don't need professional help" or "i told you so" is not okay.
Let them know, they are safe, they are loved and they are cared for.