This 12-letter word gets the importance of one day every single year~October 10. And why not? Everyone wants to jump on the trend and talk about the "so-called" importance of mental health, only to ignore it the rest of the year.
I fail to understand "How can we ignore a part of the body until it starts impacting other parts." It's been so long that people shielded away from having conversations around #mentalhealth.
While social media is brimming with stories about mental health, are you taking care of your mental health because you mean it? Or is it just a social media stunt for likes and followers?
Honestly, until 2021, I was also part of a group that occasionally shared stories online and offline. It was not a part of the conversation but gossip. But after having an actual conversation with a friend, I understood that there is so much gap in terms of people acknowledging there is an "issue."
That's when I started talking about it unabashedly and boldly, irrespective of whether anyone said, "I WAS SEEKING ATTENTION" or "I WAS FAKE."
2000-2021: The years when I kept things to myself and ruined my mental and emotional health
I am 33 years old now. But it took me nearly 20 years to discover the "why" behind my mood swings and emotional outbursts combined with physical pain. And guess what? It wasn't that time of the month, as many people tried to tell me.
It started when I was in Class III. I lost my dear friend, my companion~ my sister. Suddenly one day, I was left alone. I had no one to talk to, compete with, or have fun with. The fact that I never processed my emotions made me a pretty complex person.
Overnight, I didn't have that partner in crime. But more than that, I was neither the older one nor, the younger one. I remember clearly, I didn't even shed a single tear. I saw everything happening before my eyes until she was taken away. But I didn't say or talk. All I did was play with a doll.
Every night I used to see my father crying because she was his favorite, her firstborn. He lost a piece of his heart, and I lost half of my soul. I stopped talking, taking an interest in what was happening around me. I became arrogant and shy, and I started fighting for no reason. (Yes, I used to hit in the name of "being a monitor").
But words like "stress, anxiety, depression" weren't a part of our language. I was brilliant at studies, but emotionally I was getting estranged. Years passed. But in the same mental capacity, I found a partner.
Can you imagine how it went?
I was so much in need of love that I couldn't know myself, my needs, and my wants. It was only during college that I put myself together and made changes. However, that was another mistake. I did not acknowledge that "something" was wrong besides my personality.
Additionally, my relationships made it equally hard for me to move on from the stress, anxiety, or loneliness in my life. Every single time, I stopped acknowledging the toxicity around and inside me, which led to added turmoil.
And my marriage was like the nail in the coffin. The emotional turmoil, demeaning my presence, disrespect, and everyday exaggeration of small things made me think, "Do I deserve this?" Oh, I must because I chose this man to be a partner.
To Sum it Up
My childhood incident with my adulthood turmoil made me quite vulnerable and prone to emotional outbursts. And I became a person that was confined to herself.
What could have been different had I shared my challenges?
The power of sharing experiences is often underrated. But it can do wonders. It's simple. The more people talk, the more literacy there is on this issue, and the more problems are dealt with.
Had I done that, it would not only have helped me understand "why" it was happening, but it would also have helped me find solutions to move on the right path. While many people will agree with this, many of you might be looking for logic and facts.
Let me share an example.
Virgin Money's Chief Executive shared her experiences with post-natal depression. This started impacting her professional timelines and deadlines. The pressure was so much that it led to suicidal thoughts. Her initial reaction was, "I am weak."
But she discussed it with a doctor, leading to a clinical problem diagnosis. The doctor asked her to have shorter hours with more exercise. And guess what? She received the highest performance-related bonus of her career.
A single decision of her speaking up changed her destiny. That's what I could have achieved had I not taken the "Confining to myself" route.
The impact of not speaking up is relatively high, with 45.7 million suffering from depressive disorders and 49 million from anxiety disorders. Imagine these are the cases of clinically diagnosed disorders. What about the people who haven't been diagnosed or are on the verge of transforming from pre to post-stage?
It's time that we understand the importance of mental well-being. If you don't believe, here's what science suggests:
The science behind sharing feelings/ emotions
As per an article shared by psychology today, simply talking or sharing our negative emotions can boost our healing process. It will help reduce stress and emotional distress and strengthen the immune system.
If you want to go a bit deeper, science confirms that vocal about our emotional pain reduces the activation of a part of the brain (amygdala) responsible for the fight or flight response.
The moment you give words to your emotions, you activate the parts of the brain that manage language. Hence, we become less reactive and more mindfully aware. So, the next time you feel down, don't get swept away by this feeling alone. It's time to #SPEAKUP.
👉 Selena Gomez: She truly believes in sharing about mental health. She released the trailer of her documentary "My Mind and Me." It will give insights into her struggle with stardom and her mental health diagnoses like depression, anxiety, and breakdowns.
👉 Michael Phelps, Jessica Alba, and Barry Manilow openly talk about sharing feelings to understand your current status of mental health more clearly.
👉 Recently, Virat Kohli talked about the importance of mental health and that unwinding is an essential part of life.
Mental health conversations could have been more effortless a decade back. But at least it's a start now. So, let's not wait until the next October to start the healing process.
It's simple. You are feeling overwhelmed. You are feeling stressed. You feel as if nothing is right. Just talk it out. If talking doesn't seem to be your forte, write it out! Let it out in a way that eases the burden on your mind.
So, shall we?