By Nikita Sasi.
It’s exhausting, fighting a war. Not with someone or something. But against your own mind. Every day. Every hour. Every minute. Every second of your life.
A mental illness.
Be it depression, anxiety, insomnia, bipolarity or obsessive compulsive disorder.
A disease of your mind; the most complex organ of all. With lobes and nerves and memories, and even your personality. It’s all in that one organ.
And if you have a problem in there, it’s ‘not real’. Just because you don’t have physical scars to prove it.
Mental illnesses have always been a part of the human society. It is to be expected from a species with highly functioning brains like ours. (I’m not being sarcastic. Mostly.) Yet, for some reason, very few accept mental illnesses as a real problem.
It’s tough already, having it affect your daily life and stopping you from doing things you want to do like everyone around you. Add stigma and shame for no reason whatsoever, and voila! You get a recipe for a very, very hard life.
Why is mental illness not considered as an illness? Why is bipolarity just ‘mood swings’, anxiety just ‘you being a nervous person’ and insomnia just something a cup of tea can help with? Approximately 1 in 4 people around the world suffer from a mental illness.
That is 1.75 billion people.
Yet, it is not considered important enough.
This needs to change.
“My depression is worse today” should be as appropriate a reason for not going to school as a stomach ache is. A person needs to know what to do if they get an anxiety attack just like they know what to do once they get a cold.
Awareness needs to be spread.
Mental patients should not be ridiculed. A child suffering from dyslexia should not be shamed, because he did not choose to do this. He does not want to have difficulty reading a five character word. No one chose these illnesses.
It is not their fault. Respect them, help them.
And if you are one of them; if you are suffering from a mental illness, remember to love. Love others, love music, love art and sports. But most importantly, love yourself. It is not your fault you are going through this. You did not choose the need to wash your hands exactly four times every two minutes; you didn’t choose OCD. You did not choose to puke every time you eat because you hate the way your body looks.
Do not be afraid to get help; there are people who want to help you. Your friends or family truly love you, and will try their best to aid you. They might not understand, but they will try to. You are not being an attention seeker if you wish to talk about your mental health.
Your illness does not define you. Do not be ashamed of it. Do not try to hide it. Those who love you will accept you, and they are the only ones you need in your life.
Mental illness is the only illness met with scrutiny instead of sympathy. And that needs to change.
Just because you’re struggling, doesn’t mean you’re failing. You will get through this.
Let’s spend this World Mental Health Day spreading love.