Let’s talk. Such a simple sentence and yet it carries such complexities with it. None more so when it is uttered in the context of mental health.
In an ideal world, mental health issues wouldn’t be stigmatised. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to fear that we are broken or beyond help. In an ideal world, I wouldn’t have to worry about being labelled by my depression just as I am not labelled by the hair-line fracture running the length of my metacarpal. But we don’t live in an ideal world. Ours is a fractured one, a terrifying battlefield of strewn limbs and shell-shocked minds.
Here is the paradox of this vow of silence, we need to talk about mental health issues. It is the only way we are going to have some semblance of control over ourselves. So this speak no evil, hear no evil business that we have going on with these issues? It needs to stop. And, we can stop it. We just need to talk and listen. If you have a moment (which I assume you do, or else you wouldn’t be here) listen to this video.
You are going to have to ask for help even if you think it’s all in your head. Actually, especially then. Talk to the campus counsellors, your close friends or use websites such as the Black Dog Institute or Every Day Health to ask for help and advice. Despite the stigma against visiting your campus counsellor that may be present in your peer group, go to them. Make an appointment and explain to them how you are feeling. Yes, you may feel embarrassed to talk about your triggers or the situation at hand, but it’s better if you can be as honest as possible. Not to mention, try to keep up with your appointments. [I made the mistake of dropping out of them when I felt I was getting somewhere, which turned out to be a colossal mistake.] More often than not they will try their best to lend you a hand when you feel like you are drowning.
Speaking of drowning, know the signs. Do you often feel like you don’t have any life eft in you to drag yourself out of bed for days? No, it is most likely not laziness. Most of us are quite capable of separating our usual procrastination from that hollow feeling in our bones. Talk to other people. Figure out how they manage their symptoms. If it turns out that you have to be on medications, do not feel ashamed or as though you are somehow less of a person for getting help. Different people have different biochemistry and there is no singular prescription for any mental health issues. Like any other adjustments, this too is a trial and error process.
My mother has a saying that she likes to repeat in times of trouble:
Life will be daunting. You are still going to live through it.
You too will live through this.