When you catch a fever or some body part aches, you take a pill to bring down the fever or relieve the pain. If symptoms get worse you see a doctor who prescribes medicines. There is no second thought when you want to share this with others. WIth all the advances we have made as humans, it is extremely unfortunate that mental health is a taboo in 2021. Nobody wants to know if you have emotional symptoms. It is a topic uncomfortable for many to talk about or share. Everyone know how a fever feels, so the listener can relate to your condition. But not everyone knows how depression feels, so it like talking about an alien on Mars, who you’ve heard about, but have your doubts on whether they exist. If you have a doctor appointment, you can tell your co-workers or your supervisor that you have a doctor appointment. Unfortunately, if you have a therapist appointment, you can only say personal appointment. I have not heard anyone say I have a therapist appointment, except my close friends. It is a taboo. I am not sure where the taboo lies, in the mind of the person who has the appointment, or is it a fear of judgement by the listener.
Understanding mental health was difficult prior to the pandemic we are all stuck in, but now, I guess more people are opening up the idea of the existence of mental health. The pandemic has affected everyone; either by infecting the person with the virus or with the fear that one may catch the bug. Many people have been stuck inside their houses finding alternatives to their “normal” way of living, or trying to establish a new normal. This has taken a toll on everyone’s emotional health. My one year old nephew puts his hands across his mouth and shows us what a mask is. It makes me so sad. My children have been indoors since March 2020, not meeting friends, not going to school and it has taken a toll on their mental health. It is an even more cumbersome task of parenting where it is my primary responsibility to ensure they don’t break down; to keep things as lively as possible. Nothing is normal, but creating a sense of normal is so essential to keep everyone sane.
I am tired of reading about the pandemic so I am going to spare you and let’s get back to emotional health or mental health and therapy. Therapy is the art of healing the mind and I cannot stress enough how important it is to ensure one’s mind is healthy. Everything stems from your mind, your happiness, happiness and love that you share with people around you. When the mind is not well, you are sad, making everyone around you sad. You have no enthusiasm to do anything, and just want to lock yourself up in a room. There are other extreme issues which I am not going to talk about. You are on your journey of healing when you realize or someone tells you to see a therapist. Unlike the other physical illness doctor who has tools to check the issue and prescribe medicines, therapy takes time. Nothing happens in one session or even ten sessions. It may take years, but be assured you are on the path of recovery. You have to dive deep into yourself and peel the layers you have unknowingly built around you, one by one. As you expose each layer underneath and talk about your situation, experience, feelings, you are able to reflect on the situation in a different light with the help of the therapist. The blurriness fades and you start to see things clearly.
As my therapist says the answers are within you, you just need to find them. One of the best gifts I have given myself is therapy. Even as I type this I have some part of me thinking everyone is going to know that I am seeing a therapist. But that’s okay; because this is important to me and is for my well-being. And it just means that I am giving as much importance to my mind as my body. I know that not everyone understands the reason or the result of therapy. It is a very personal process, where you chalk out your path but you have someone who will help you to stay afloat and keep the balance.
When a movie star like Deepika Padukone comes out in support of mental health, we read about it and think wonder why she needs it or talk about it. But we almost always miss to acknowledge ourselves or people in our house who are going through depression. It is real for you and me as it is for Deepika Padukone. We all have a mind and we need to protect it for our own sanity. I sincerely hope there comes a day in the near future when we can openly acknowledge that ‘I am fighting depression and taking care of my mind to emerge stronger’ and that people around us don’t judge us, instead listen to us when we need to talk to someone..