One in the four people in the world faces a mental illness at some point in his/her life. So there is one person in our intimate surroundings whom we know is currently dealing with some mental health problems. But yet there is still so much stigma attached to it.

Whenever one has any physical illness we immediately reach to them and try to provide them comfort with our care and of course treatment at the best hospitals by the best doctors. But when it comes to mental illness, the family turns silent. They often talk in hushed tones. And they say to the patient that oh well! It happens to everybody. Don’t be stressed you will be ok. It becomes tough to accept the need of professional help. I just have one question to ask everybody, why? Why we can’t accept as sympathetically the mental illnesses? Is brain not the part of our body? Can’t it malfunction like other body parts after all see how much load is on it?

India is still at worst stage when related to mental health illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or as common as panic attacks, anxiety and clinical depression. There is a huge lack of awareness, neglect and inappropriate care. There are almost no mental health services in rural and suburbs. And if there are , they are very costly and out of the reach of the people. So the person suffers intensely often resulting in prominent change in behavior and sometimes even death. We need to fill the gap and do something about it. It is a basic right of a human.

There are various myths about mental illnesses:-

1. It is considered as weakness and personality flaw.

When we come across depressed people our general question to them is -oh! What’s wrong with you. This construe that somehow it’s something wrong with them. We should rather ask what happened to you. Mental illness is not a sign of weakness or flaw in the personality. Over the years I found some very kind and courageous soul in these people.

2. It affect very few people.

They can affect every body and without any particular reason. Yes even when you have perfect life. An imbalance in serotonin, nor-epinephrine , dopamine can cause it.

3. Once a psychiatric patient, always a psychiatric patient.

People often are hesitant to take antidepressants fearing that they would then need them entire life. And the shame attached to it. But if you need them you should take them for a better balanced brain and healthy life.

4. Suicide is a crime and cowardly act..

My answer is NO, A CLEAR NO. Often we refer the term’ committed suicide. It is highly offensive. Rapes are committed, murders are committed. Not suicide. And yes suicide is not cowardly. It’s not a sudden impulsive act. Often we could see the behavior changes and could reach out to them. They die by suicide when they feel that no one will notice their absence. When the hope ends they take this one tough step. And what are we doing , we are shaming them. No Wonder there are so high suicide rates. We should encourage people around us to open up and share their stories. So we can act at appropriate time .

I have dealt with the darkness in my life. And one thing I am certain is I AM NOT ASHAMED OF IT. I am even thankful to it. It helped me to appreciate the happy moments more and cope more accurately with appropriate cognitive strategies. And yes it helped me to relate to people and reach them.

I humbly request everyone who read it to share with everybody with whom they can. As we don’t know who may right now need it.

I have one simple message for everyone who is struggling right now. THERE IS HOPE. THERE IS SO MUCH LEFT TO LIVE FOR. It is hard but worth it. And there is always someone we can reach to. To get the emotions validated. And I can promise you just one thing, whoever you are I will hear you every time you need someone to stand there by to you and to hear your stories . I would be honored to hear people when they need it most.

Remember the harsher the winters more sweet will be the summers.

Sharing the little you have with those in need can turn around a life without you realizing it..
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