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Friends, family, acquaintances, medical professionals included refuse to acknowledge the existence of mental illnesses. It some times creates self-doubt. One, at least I, just cannot respond with an ‘Hmm…’ or reply with the longish details to prove them wrong. What does one do then?
How often have you heard?
“It’s all in your head”
Umm… of course it is all in my head – that is where the brain is and that is where serotonin is secreted and that is where the fault is. So yes, I know it’s all in my head. It is you who doesn’t know that “it’s all in my head”. In case you are thinking that I enjoy feeling listless, think about SOMEDAY when you felt listless, try to relive that feeling – all you wanted to do was get out of that feeling, all you wanted is to feel better. So do we.
“These medications are harmful and addictive and good for nothing.”
Has a medical practitioner ever said these words to you? I have heard them at least a couple of dozen times. What do you say to a medical practitioner who you believe would know better than you? Off late I have started giving a rather cut and dry reply – “I know what the medication can and cannot do. They have helped me stay sane for years. So if your treatment could work around the fact that I am on medication let’s do it.” I sometimes wonder what makes these qualifies professionals make comments on other kinds of treatments. Can I tell you how many people have told me YOUR treatment is good for nothing? Everyone believes their own dose of medication
“You need to relax.”
I want to.
“You are stronger that you think”
So if I punch you right now will it hurt you?
“Everyone had difficulties is life, we all face it.”
Ok, so why isn’t everyone on medication? Do you think we should run a campaign on how everyone is depressed and needs medical help?
“God did not create depression it is man-made.”
So is traffic on the roads. God didn’t create traffic on the road, so why is the frustration and fatigue caused due to driving back from work due to traffic considered normal?
Primal beings did not have the depression. While there is no proof of this, even if we were to believe it their needs were different, so were their ways and means for meeting the needs.
I partly believe mental illnesses are a 1st world phenomenon, just like cancer and aids. The people who suffer are not making up stories. So if you know someone who suffers from a mental illness please be there for them, just like you would be there for someone with accepted serious illnesses. Mental illness deserves acceptance, acknowledgement, love and support.
If this makes any sense, call someone you know who suffers from a mental illness TODAY and let them know you love them.
It’s all in their head remember. You call will help serotonin secretion and you would have made their day less listless, given the drugs some help and made them want to work a little harder at the listlessness.
The power of stories to inspire change made me turn into a storyteller. I write
Thanks for this wonderful piece. As someone who has two people
in the family who suffer from acute mental illnesses, we face the
challenges that come with them daily. And innappropriate and insensitive
responses are some of the most difficult things to deal with.
So yes, I hope people see that mental illness is REAL, as real as diabetes, or cancer
or heart disease or Aids. And patients need the same support, sometimes even more ,
because their symptoms are often not obvious. Cultivate some empathy everyone
and chuck the constant judgement ! Just love .
I feel so good after reading your article being a person who takes anti depressants and mood stabilizers. Yes people need to overcome the stigma associated with mental issues and accept them as just another type of disorders that can be cured with medication.
Reading your article, I realized that I am guilty of the same crime that you are talking about. I have a cousin suffering from a mental illness and there have been many times when I’ve told her that you are thinking too much, just relax, take it easy and all that stuff. Having read this, I plan to call her up today itself. Thanks!
Thank you so much for the comments. I hope we can spread these messages as much as we can to bring about a change in the society, no matter how teeny tiny it is.
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