One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. One in every four people! That is a huge statistic that puts mental health as deadly an illness or more than other illnesses currently plaguing mankind (including the infamous coronavirus)
But we never really talk about it, especially in countries like India. Where the term still remains taboo.
Mental Health has always been a stigma as if it could only mean going completely bonkers. But It is much more than that. And in today’s crisis-struck lives, mental balance is completely highjacked. Instead, we are plagued with constant stress and anxiety.
What is Mental Health?
Mental Health is Emotional, Psychological & Social Well Being. It is just as important as physical well-being to carry out day to day functions.
Excessive anxiety, stress or depression can make it extremely difficult to even get out of bed on a daily basis.
Mental health cannot be identified with direct physical symptoms like a common cold or a spinal injury. Rather there are subtle indicators in the physical aspects and minute changes in the emotional behaviors that on a regular day might just go unnoticed.
Trivial behavioral changes like eating or sleeping too less or more, mood changes, lack of energy to go about with day-to-day activities, inability to make decisions or to follow through with it.
Mental Health does not get affected overnight
Things that affect this fine balance of our mental health do not just sprout overnight. Unlike how you suddenly wake up with a fever, these symptoms grow subconsciously until they become the new normal you know which is what makes it more lethal.
The daily rush of life with its abundance of distractions would leave us blind to the existence of these manifestations in most cases. But as we are restricted to 4 walls with limited options to immerse ourselves in, it is harder to ignore now. Regular activities seem to lose their meaning, you procrastinate, alienate yourself from your social circles.
And mostly all of this happens gradually. It is like getting caught in quicksand, you do not realize you are getting into one and once you are inside, the way out becomes that much tougher.
The claws of depression
Depression hits you when you least expect it and has a way of enslaving you without realization for months if not years. It begins slow and ensures to stick around until no semblance of things you enjoyed in your life remains.
I was caught in its claws as well for a while, but I never realized it then. I just shelved it as stress or anxiety or unhappiness. The problem was that it was all that combined and more.
When I look back now, I can identify for myself exactly when I was undergoing excessive mental stress. Where I could have sought help, at least from my own family and inner circle of friends.
But I did not know then: that being unhappy and pretending to carry on every single day was not natural. Almost everyone I used to speak to was unhappy about something in their lives and seemed like they were carrying on. And the thought that they could while I was struggling, added more stress in my head and I used to tell myself to get it together and carry on.
Breathe, Take a step back
While change does not come about easily, small steps help in the journey. Start getting back on your feet slowly and fix the smaller issues that could be immediately rectified.
Turn off that news channel playing in a loop. Stop refreshing your apps on the mobile.
Take a walk or sit down for a mediation indoors. There is a release of endorphins after a workout that causes a post-workout kick helps in feeling good about yourself.
Pick up that phone and call a loved one. Speak your heart out from the inane silly things to the matters that keep you up all night.
If you feel you are not ready to talk to the world, journal periodically. Writing helps in a lot of ways. Putting your thoughts out there helps spells out worries that get muddled in the head. It also gives clarity in identifying the reasons or causes behind such stress.
There are several things beyond our control now, but we can still control our thoughts and actions. So check in with yourself every now and then and stay strong. Remember, this too shall pass.