Let me start with a story of my friend Mr I. Mr I is a happy guy, he is very talented in what he does. But, in the last few months he started taking lot of stress, he became pessimistic and eventually that stress made him fall into depression and he started getting suicidal thoughts. He knew he is not the same guy as he once was but he was helpless.
Today we will be talking about Mental health. This is something as important as physical health but we often do not pay heed to what our or other’s mind is trying to show us. Any imbalance in mental health can cause serious problems like stress, depression, anxiety, phobia, etc. Mental imbalance is like a silent enemy which only the person who is enduring it can understand, but in reality, it is a very serious issue as 14% of Indian population suffered from mental illness(according to a study in 2017).
In the following few paragraphs we will try to understand what causes mental imbalance(or illness), how it affects our daily lives, how to identify it and what we can do to help ourselves and others around us from its serious effects.
Causes and effects
Let me tell you one thing honestly, there is no specific cause of mental or emotional imbalance. People can get stress from almost anything, but it gets dangerous when that stress takes perilous form. Here are some of the effects of mental health imbalance:
- Depression- it could start with any bad experience or trauma, could take major form if not addressed.
- SAD- Social anxiety disorder, where people avoid going into crowds due to certain bad experiences. Bad experiences like bullying(also cyber bullying), eve teasing, body shaming, etc.
- Inability to think clearly- if we are taking stress all the time, we may experience lagging and we may even be unable to use our brain properly.
- Anger issues- if anything is bothering us, either we will endure it silently or we will become violent and inadvertently started getting angry with anything and everything.
- Schizophrenia- it is very common in India and we get more than 1 million cases per year. In this we may face difficulty in concentration, difficulty in speech or behavior. Sadly enough, its exact reason is unknown and treatment could be lifelong.
- Suicide- This is the most extreme thing, There are numerous reasons of suicide but this happens in despair and helplessness.
Do you know? 381 daily suicides were reported in India in 2019 , and this figure is seeing an increase every year.
How to identify
The most important thing required to identify mental health imbalance is observation. If your loved ones are showing changes in the following things, these may the signs that they need help:
- Thinking process- They cannot take easy decisions or are unable to perform easy tasks that requires mental ability(you need to compare how they were and how they are now).
- Mood swings or emotional shifts- if they are getting angry or emotional suddenly or suddenly they are getting upset with something, this could mean something is bothering them.
- Eating and sleeping pattern- although there are various others reasons that could disturb sleeping and eating patterns, but if you know that is not the case, then surely stress is bothering them.
- Delusions and hallucinations- people may laugh about it, but these could be the symptoms of above mentioned-disorders.
- Social relation withdrawal- this may not apply to introverts, but if the person who is suddenly showing this change, it could be a sign of anxiety.
- Drug or alcohol use- People often try to find solace in drugs and alcohol, so you need to observe if you are seeing its sudden consumption(or heavy consumption).
- Catastrophizing -if the person is being negative about everything(suddenly) or they are not seeing the positive side in anything, it could be a sign of catastrophizing. They may need your help in such times.
- Daily activities and responsibilities- if there is a change in daily activities of someone(due to an unknown reason) or if the person is evading from their responsibilities, it could be a bad sign as well.
- Loss of interest- if the person has shown sudden loss of interest in the activities they like, this could also mean something is wrong with them.
Do you know? 42.5% of the employees in private sector of corporate India suffers from depression or some kind of anxiety disorder.
Steps to look after mental health
Before writing anything further, let me tell you, there is no medicine that can treat the mental imbalance. Surely, there are anti-depressants available in the market, but those are not the solution and that cannot cure you. Mental health can only be improved with certain efforts, like:
- Spend time with the one you love and trust- this applies to both, a person who is suffering from mental trauma and the person around them. People need support and understanding in such times, kindly give it to them.
- Talk about your feelings- you need to open up about your feelings to the ones you trust. People also need to make sure, they are willing to help their loved ones by showing some interest. Feelings can also be shared with Psychologists.
- Keep active and eat well- This may require little push from others, if you are seeing your loved ones facing mental health imbalance, encourage them to engage themselves in some kind of physical activity. Workout, dancing are some great distraction, ask your loved ones to join you.
- Do what you like- if you have some hobby or some skill, try to use it to distract your mind.
- Change your environment- this is something people need to do, as the person who is facing mental stress may not want to get out of their zone, they may need a persistent push to get them out of that environment.
Healing takes time, and asking for help is a courageous step.Mariska Hargitay
The most important thing we need to do is to stop stigmatising . This is as common as 71% of Indians use terminology associated with stigma to describe mental illness. They think that they are not crazy and they need no help from a “crazy doctor”. We need to stop this mindset. If you cannot change your mindset then try remembering the above-mentioned points.
Do you remember my friend Mr I? He is trying to get back his life altogether. You must be asking how while reading this. Well, there is no specific reason for that. He made some positive changes in his life. He realised life is beautiful and there is so much, he wants to do. He started investing his time in healthy activities. He is now trying to find happiness in little things. I will not say his problems are all gone, but he is slowly reaching there.
What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, more unashamed conversation.Glenn close
Let us recall what we just learnt today:
- We tried to understand the causes and effects of mental health imbalance.
- We learned how to identify the effects by observation.
- We also discussed the steps we need to take to ensure good mental health for us and our loved ones
In the end
The first thing I need you to do is ruminate if you or anyone around you are showing any signs of mental stress or imbalance. You now know how to do that. You also need to make sure you get professional help. You should understand how important this is and how timely action can save you and the people around you. Getting help from a psychologist is far better than waiting for something extreme. Please find time for yourself and the people you really care about.
Today I will not ask you to like or comment, but I just want you to share this with the people you love. This one share may take 1 minute from your life but can save someone. Stay healthy and remember to smile.