Why Is Seeking Help For Mental Health Furtive?
Why is seeking help a taboo or a deciding factor for your social status of being sane?
Is going to a therapist wrong? Does it mean you’re crazy?
Why is it a dirty little secret?
It seems controversial to know someone who goes to therapy as if it’s wrong. Why? Why does all the elbow-hitting start when you see a relative of yours who’s in therapy, arrive at the party? Why does our mind start with its judgments? Why is it so wrong to seek help?
One musters the courage in admitting the need for help, but is always hesitant to seek it because how can he? He is afraid to come out of the closet to face being called insane. And what do we do about it? Instead of offering support and compassion, we unfairly call someone crazy! Somehow, that’s like pushing someone who’s already suffering over the edge, making him believe that he is as daft as a brush.
He knows something is wrong but instead of making it right, the individual focuses on covering up his ‘dirty little secret’ as if he committed a crime by acknowledging the need to seek help. Eventually forced to believe that therapy is for the crazy ones, the fear of being caught outside the clinic by someone he knows bubbles up. People don’t even want to accompany their family members or friends to a clinic to avoid being associated to that place.
If we can go visit a dermatologist to get rid of acne, a general doctor for viruses, a dentist for a toothache, then why not a shrink if we’re having some issues with our mental health! It is part of our body too; our brain needs as much attention as the rest of our body does. Why do we find it acceptable to ignore our brain and its issues?
We often come across hypocrites who say that they are ‘carefree’ and don’t get affected by what society thinks, yet when they see a relative of their own who is seeking help, they start feeling sorry for the person. You don’t need to! Feeling sorry for them is not the solution.
They don’t need our sympathy, what they truly need is our support and if that is too much then nothing at all. Some of us say we don’t give a damn about what people think, yet we fear asking ourselves whether we’re fine or not, or whether we need help or not.
It’s not entirely our fault, our upbringing and the environment where young minds are nurtured contribute majorly towards this mentality. If a child is having mental problems and approaches the parents about it, some parents often say “No! You aren’t crazy!” They feel that it’s just a phase and it’s all in the mind, which gradually makes a visit to the psychologist a forbidden task.
The majority believe that kids are too young to have issues regarding their mental health. They find it horribly wrong if a kid says that he isn’t fine mentally. They force him to think otherwise and that is how some of us grew up, believing that mental health can’t be an issue for children. We’re led to believe that only adults can have issues and not kids.
It’s very possible that even at a tender age, your child could be developing problems. Instead of thinking of it as something to be ashamed of, look into the matter and help them by simply being there and listening, not shushing them! There isn’t a certain age group for such issues. Anyone, irrespective of their age, their loss, their achievements, their happy face, and their normal lifestyle can suffer.
That’s why brave are those who can acknowledge that they aren’t fine and understand that some issues need to be dealt with, the ones who do something about it and take a step forward. And strong are those who deal with it gracefully no matter how much it takes from them, because they know that their loss is going to be nothing in front of what they are going to gain. It takes your peace, your strength, your belief, your trust, your power, your sleep and so much more, which many of us will never come to know.
All you need to remember is that even if you’re not okay, just know that you’re strong enough and you will fight it out. No matter how weak you get in the process, you know you will tackle it. And sometimes, it helps to be reminded that it’s just okay to be not okay.
Whatever it is that’s making you feel miserable, whether it’s serious or not, no one gets to decide except you. No one can categorize or put labels to what you’re going through. Only you know what it means. For others, it might be inconsequential but if for you it’s colossal, then it is! And there should be no shame in being honest about that.
Your life is too precious to be wasted in hiding from yourself. Live and speak up. Speak up to and for yourself. Acknowledge your need and let your loved ones know about it. It is just a problem that has a solution.
By spreading awareness and enlightening the ones who don’t see mental health as part of our overall wellness, we’re helping fight the stigma of mental health.
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Author: Ridhi Panwar
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