Let’s talk about Mental Health
Mental Illness is as real as Physical Illness
Mental health, defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”. To explain it in simple words, we need a state of mind which will allow us to live a good life. Any number of possessions are useless if we do not have sound mental health.
All the advancements that we have seen in the past few years came at a huge cost of our mental health. Unlike physical illness, you don't see the symptoms until it's too late. A person suffers immensely from inside and the world around him or her does not even know. We may soon go into another pandemic and that would be of mental illness.
It is not easy for the person who is suffering and their loved ones to accept that there is something wrong inside the mind. The reason is the dogma around it. As soon as someone showcases the symptoms of mental illness or visit psychiatrist, they are labelled as crazy. Many times everyone believes that it is self-created and that the ill person will only cure on his own. This is why we do not receive the required support from friends and family.
A person suffering from a mental illness feels unbearable mental pain and unfortunately, there are no pain killers for it. I have mentioned some of the symptoms which are related to ill mental health. If you are experiencing any of it, then I would suggest to speak to your family members. If required, then do not hesitate to visit a doctor.
- You start experiencing panic attacks at any time of the day. It feel like you are having a heart attack and you almost get convinced that it’s the end.
- Day to day tasks such as cooking feels like a humongous struggle. You are not able to concentrate even on the daily chores you have been doing from many years.
- Frequent experiences of shortness of breath due to anxiety.
- Few people seems like crowd and it gives the feeling of suffocation. You start limiting your social interactions and start spending more time alone.
- Restful sleep is replaced with nightmares and anxiety.
- You constantly live in fear. You may have fear of dying or losing your physical health or losing your loved ones.
- You may not realize but most of the thoughts are negative. Your perspective of life turns pessimistic.
- Tolerance level reduces drastically and you feel agitated on very minor things. Same situations never bothered you earlier.
- Some of the physical effects one might experience are sudden loss of weight, reduced immunity, or hypertension.
- Your heartbeat increases without any physical strain. You may start having heart palpitation.
The situation is changing and people are becoming more aware of mental illness and we have a supportive healthcare system. However, we are still very far from managing the pandemic of mental illness. These diseases are not infectious like flu or cold, but they do affect people living with someone who is suffering. It is important that we take care of our minds and ultimately our mental health for everyone's benefit.
We always believe that we are controlling our minds, but it is the opposite. If you do not agree, then count the number of times in a day you give up to your compulsions. How many times you are stressed out about what might go wrong in the future, something which is not real. We try to justify our anger, frustration and sadness but in reality, they are symptoms of an imbalanced mind, an ill mind. This could be the start and any major setback or bad situation in life can push us into depression.
There are clinical diseases related to mental health and there are severe non-clinical mental illnesses and for both, we should definitely see a psychiatrist as soon as possible. Apart from this, we should take care of our minds in the same way we take care of our bodies. In fact, I believe that we should put more effort into mental health. Many modern-day physical illnesses are related to psychosomatic, stirred up from stress.
There are many steps that we can take to have a sound mind but before all that, we need to be conscious of mental health as a society. We need an atmosphere where anyone can speak about their state of mind without being judged. There should be openness about visiting psychiatrists and taking the treatment. We need to understand that strong reactions to small matters are not normal. Feeling stressed all the time is a sign of disease and it needs attention. Even though it looks like that our mental health will be taken care of on its own, it's not going to until we take the charge.
This article is only about bringing awareness towards mental health. We will talk about solutions in the coming days. Right now, I just wish that everyone becomes aware that there is something called mental health and we need to take care of it. I wish that people start discussing this with their loved ones. I wish that when people ask “How are you?”, they don't only refer to physical health but also express the care for your mental health.