I know you might think, “Oh, not another mental health post!”, but I urge you to remove two minutes from your schedule to read this post.
The past two days have been heavy for us in India. We lost someone to suicide. And then, we saw all our social media feeds filled with mental health-related posts. The topic of mental health suddenly resurfaces when certain incidents take place and then dies down after a momentary uproar. It’s a good thing that we’re at least talking about it, but I’m worried why we only talk about it when such incidents occur. Does it take the loss of life to bring us out of our bubbles to discuss real issues? Is mental health only a concept that holds no importance for us until and unless we experience jolting incidents? We’re all telling people to talk about their thoughts, feelings and emotions, but are we really ready to listen without passing judgments? Are we ready to hear them out without offering our expert advice and opinions to them? Are we prepared to respond and not react to something they tell us? Let’s understand that it takes courage for someone to share their feelings and we must respect the fact that they chose to share it with us. Instead of jumping up with solutions, hear them out, let them be and make them feel like you’re there for them.
With regards to Sunday’s incident, media channels are asking why one would end their life even when they seemingly have ‘everything’, but here, we need to acknowledge that just because a person appears to have the brightest of smiles, a good professional standing or even just looks ‘okay’ on the outside, does not guarantee that they are mentally well. Many of us are trying to find a reason as to why someone would take such a step, but before that, let’s understand that there may not be ONE cause for such a step, it could be the effect of cumulative feelings, thoughts and emotions that push them to end their lives. Try and imagine the agony, trauma and pain that they go through internally before they think that ending their life is the best option they have. Another thought that is doing the rounds is that people who give up on their lives are ‘cowards’, but before you make such insensitive remarks, put yourself in their shoes. I know you can’t, and that’s exactly why you don’t have the right to comment. As outsiders, you and I don’t fathom the depth of their struggles or their pain and spewing hateful remarks or taking mindless jabs at them could be the most disrespectful thing to do.
The next time, you’re about to say something that might hurt another person, tell yourself that they may be struggling with something that you know nothing about – Please be kind, after all, we’ve only got each other!