It’s not easy to deal with emotions on your own. We often feel guilty by sharing how we feel because we often worry how people will perceive us. There is this big stigma surrounding mental health, especially a ‘don’t talk about it’ rule, and I don’t necessarily understand why.
For me, talking about past struggles has allowed me to close the chapters I kept open for way too long. The feeling of being understood, and not judged, has helped me to find inner peace, something I was looking for pretty much all my life. Which is why I believe, talking about mental health should be our daily topic.
The sad truth about mental health is that we can’t physically see it. It’s not like with a flu or any other illness. We don’t have visible symptoms. We might know hundreds of people in our inner circle, yet we will never know what each of them is really going through. Your best friend might be open and outspoken, but you won’t know if she/he thinks of a suicide until it’s too late. You hear people saying; ‘It could be better, but I manage’, and you never ask why. And if you do, they will say not to worry. And so you don’t worry.
Talking about your thoughts and feelings is not embarassing. Talking about your needs and desires is not shameful. Talking about your problems is not humiliating. EVERYONE suffers from various issues. EVERYONE is going through different things in life. You are NOT ALONE. But we have to realise that we are only humans, and we deserve to be in this world. As harsh as it’s going to sound, taking your own life is not an answer to you problems. Believe me, I have been there. I was suicidal, not once and not twice. But I am grateful to still be here and it takes a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it. And trust me when I say, every single problem can be fixed. No matter how big or small it is, it can be sorted. My only advice would be, don’t deal with it on your own. Ask for a help. Don’t ever feel bad or embarrassed about it.
I know the current situation isn’t easy. However, mental health issues and suicides, aren’t a new thing. Pandemic only made it worse by not allowing us to see our families, friends, therapists. But, the problem of not talking about mental health has been around for years. For me, the most outrageous and worrying thing in all of this is, we only act when it’s too late. I know suicides sounds extreme, but it’s only a step away from depression and anxiety. And I think it’s very important we make people aware of how dangerous mental health problems can be.
I know how petrifying taking a first step towards better life is. I know how comfortable it is when you feel anxious and upset. You feel like you are on your own, and although you know you need help, you feel secure in your own dark place. It’s what you have known for some time and the idea of coming out if to deal with everything that scares you, is actually more frightening that being depressed. I know that feeling. All the thoughts you have: I can’t do it, what’s the point, I am useless, not worthy, ugly, fat, nobody likes me, I can’t deal with it, I am weak, I am a loser. I am not needed here. I hate me. Oh, I know those words too well. You are being hit with anxious idea that you just can’t be better, because you don’t know if happiness is for you. After all, the last few weeks/months/years were spent on a misery. How can you be happy again? It’s just impossible. And too scary. You worry if you allow yourself to be free, something bad will happen, and you will again return to a dark place. Worst of all, you think you will not be able to deal with whatever will hit you, because you are weak. My darling reader, you are not weak.
Let me let you a thing or two about a comfort zone. We are prisoners of our own mind. The way we perceive life isn’t always the truth. People who suffer from depression and anxiety tend to overthink in the most negative way, making things to appear worse that they really are, creating an illusion that a grass is greener everywhere, but their place. Therefore it’s very difficult for them to create a balance between the fiction and reality. What for them is reality, for the outsiders is a fiction. The most simple example is self-esteem. Imagine having a friend who is good looking, healthy, and in your eyes, has everything she needs to be happy. Perhaps you are even slightly jealous of her life. Yet you later find out her self-esteem is in the lowest point you have ever known. For her, what she thinks of herself is ‘the truth’, for you, her thoughts are a fiction, because you see a completely different image. There is no balance in this situation. It’s not constructive from either of you. It’s either an extreme low, or an extreme high. But both of you are in a comfort zones. She doesn’t want to believe anyone, except herself, and you believe yourself & what you see. And so both of you feel ok with how things are and don’t want to change your thoughts. You leave it as it is. Life goes on. Some time later, you find out she commited a suicide. You wonder if you have done enough. You didn’t want to interfere in her life, she didn’t want your help. Which one of you should go out of your comfort zone?
My experiences taught me that getting out of the comfort zone isn’t always scary. It’s not easy, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not as petrifying as you think it is. If you feel like there is no solution to your problem, ask for an opinion another person. It doesn’t have to be your family if you feel embarrassed to ask. You can ask a colleague at work, or call a helpline. You can be anonymous. But talking about your situation, no matter what you are going through, will change everything for you. You have to get a perspective about everything you think, and yes, you have to trust your gut, but it’s important that you communicate with others and speak out.
I will always suggest finding a hobby to occupy your mind, BUT number one solution to everything is talking. Getting your thoughts out of your head. Write them down. Read them out loud. Talk to others. Call a helpline. Never, ever keep your thoughts to yourself, especially the ones which are making you feel depressed, anxious, upset, angry. The answer to my earlier question: which one of you should take a first step and get out of your comfort zone, is both of you. Conversations can make a difference. They can teach you, open your eyes, help you to see a situation in a different light. Don’t be alone with your thoughts. Help save lives, not only yours, but also others. Talk to each other. Don’t struggle on your own.