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The moment I signed up for this article, I knew it was going to be a big deal for me; I was taken over by an overwhelming sense of responsibility. To write about something so delicate.
Now, I’m not saying this is going to be ground-breaking; it might not even do enough justice to the ones suffering. But it is going to state the ‘obvious’, because the stigma seems to be keeping it out of sight.
This October 10, World Mental Health Day was celebrated with the theme “Young People and Mental Health In A Changing World”. Yeah, young people. The Young People who are supposed to be changing the world, and they are, but it evidently is taking a toll on them. And for all they do, or atleast try to do, shouldn’t the world, the society, appreciate and accept them better?
Well acceptance aside, we don’t even care to acknowledge its existence anymore; it’s all hazy amidst the unnervingly abundant trivialization and misrepresentation. Talking about trivialization, I hold myself accountable too. I and many young people I know use “I am depressed”, “This makes me want to die”, “It’s like an OCD”, a little too often, and I really hope none of us mean it. But for the people who are suffering, it’s underplaying something that is very real for them.
Not a lot of us say, “Damn, I have cancer” or “I feel diabetic”, right? Especially, not around the people who suffer from them. Because it’s offensive, it’s hurtful. But it’s okay to be insensitive towards someone’s mental health issues? I think not. And that’s why, its our job to make a conscious effort to watch what we say.
So, there is one side that means no harm. But there’s the other side that looks us in the eye and tells us “It’s just a phase”. Well maybe it is, but so is your entire life, why do you try so hard then? I find it impossible to understand which part of you has the audacity to say that to someone who, despite going through so much, has the courage to open up and allow themselves to be completely vulnerable.And vulnerability requires courage. Accepting that you need help and trusting someone to help you takes immense courage.
I believe all of us can do so much better than “you’re just stressed”, because serious issues like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, anorexia, OCD, dissociative disorder, PTSD and the many issues that go unnoticed, DO NOT need that euphemism; they do not deserve to be stigmatized.
In a world that’s straying so far away from its true nature, we need to learn to adapt and help others find their sense of security and belonging. While the triggers range from sabre-toothed tigers and fires, to our appearances, our surroundings and struggles that are more internalized; here’s hoping that our solutions evolve too. It’s high time.