The one perk of going through 2020 was perhaps how mental health, talks about depression, and awareness regarding the same was sensitised and circulated amongst the common masses. But are we at a level to freely express our discomfort when we have anxiety attacks tugging at our heartstrings? Not really, alle? The stigma associated with ‘mental health’ is still very dominant in our society. Even when we muster up the courage to open up to our family, we are mostly hushed down and expected never to speak of it again. Let us see why depression is not a ‘thonnal’ and why the social stigma associated with mental health needs to be demolished asap!
Psychiatrist or counsellor is NOT ‘praanthinte doctor’
What most people have in mind is perhaps Dr. Sunny Joseph, from the US, who arrives at Madampalli to treat Sreedevi because everyone thought she was ‘off-balance’. Please! Sometimes when you can’t do much to change someone’s situation or when you feel so, it is best we talk to someone who understands what we are going through. Medically and scientifically at least, if not personally. And it takes a lot of courage to admit that we are in a situation where we need external help to sort things out. In times like these, please show some love, and for heaven’s sake stop throwing around shit like ‘Oh! Urangi eneetta maarikkolum!’
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Depression is not ‘just a phase’
When we catch a fever or go down with ulcers, is that just a phase? Exactly! Most of us cannot see ‘the mind’ as a part of the body and hence, we had to differentiate well-being into physical and mental health! When you undergo a health checkup and are deemed ‘healthy’, are you really healthy? Inside out? While your loved ones flock around to care for you when you fall physically ill, you are mostly left to fend for yourself when dealing with a mental breakdown or having an episode of depression. As if that is something left for you to figure out. Something that ‘wouldn’t have happened’ if you didn’t probably goof up in the first place!
There may or may not be a reason
“Ninakk enthinte korava ivde!” or “Eth nerom phone nokki irunna ingathanneya!” does not make any sense in this context or anywhere else. Prying into somebody’s personal life or arriving at your conclusion does more harm than good. Even if the person has a seemingly perfect life, the one where he/she has acquired all the unsaid societal targets like a job, a house and a perfect family, it is no reason for someone to not get depressed. There is sometimes no words to describe the hollowness you feel inside or the emptiness you are wading through. Instead of sinking into the quicksand of emotional blackout, isn’t it always better to introspect and find that one root cause of the situation? There is no reason small or big enough to make someone feel so. So, however trivial you think your reason is (thanks to getting stung by social stigma,) it never is. You will put the pieces together one day. You will have it figured.
“Depressiono? Aeyy kanda parayoolello!”
We have all heard that the happiest faces conceal the most sadness. Just because someone looks happy on the outside, doesn’t always mean they are OK. We are all fighting our battles, right? Some people reach a point where they are not able to anymore. So when someone you know is going through depression, you can’t go about telling that they have no reason to be depressed. Depression doesn’t come with a sad face and a ‘hug me’ signboard. It is mostly a happy mask that you cannot see through. Therefore, at the end of the day – never judge.
“Naattukaar enth vijaarikkum”
Yes, it’s alarming for some to know that their son or daughter has been seeing a therapist to talk things out. “Ninakk njangall ille, njangalod prnjoode?” is not the solution to every problem on Earth. If a person is not comfortable sharing certain parts of their life with you, let them be. Your prodding is only going to make things worse. “Ithokke naalaal arinja ninkk chekkane/pennine kittuo?” is the baseless worry everyone has when you seek medical help for your reasons. This is an alarming indicator of the extent to which the face of mental health has been tainted. And with all due respect to our fellow dwellers, if you cannot understand what the other person is going through, please do them a favour by keeping your nose out of their business! And no, no one needs your sympathy.
Being depressed is not a choice. It is not fate either. But there is a chance to decide what you want to do with it or better put, how to deal with it. If talking to a therapist seems odd because the person is a stranger, think again. Isn’t talking to someone who won’t judge you be the best deal you can get? There is a point when we do get fed up with “Ithinu maatram ipo entha indaaye” and “Ninakk maatrella preshnangal, ellaavarkkum ind”. There are times when “Ellaam sheriyaakum nne” or “ninakk njangal ille” make absolutely no sense.
But always remember that there are times ahead with the people you love and the places you want to go to. Take one day at a time. Find one good reason to wake up every morning- may be something as simple as watering your plant. Love yourself because you are always much more than what people think you are!