Mental illness is a real thing. Many people live with it and we don’t even know because we don’t recognise it! Over a 24 hour day, we walk past so many people who are suffering but we don’t see because mental health issues don’t have physical signs but emotional and mental signs that if we picked up on we could save lives. Mental health issues such as depression can push you past limits you didn’t think you could cross and that’s okay as long as you have someone to bring you back. Someone to tell you that whatever it is will be okay and that they are there for you.
It’s easy for people to say just get up and do something but what they don’t realise is that people with depression or mental illness can’t just get up. Sometimes even breathing is a struggle. It’s like you have enough oxygen but you can’t use it. It’s like every breath is a debt that you’ll have to repay. Every moment is painful and no one ever realises how bad it actually is.
Some people can be the centre of attention and speak in big crowds, participate in plays, dance in front of millions and be completely comfortable and that’s their achievement but for others even being able to get up and brush their teeth is an achievement and that’s okay. The important thing is to keep going and reach out to people because even when you think no one cares. There is always someone who would be happy to listen to you and support you.
What can people do to help?
Well, you don’t need to smother someone with love and attention 24/7 but look for the signs. Someone with mental health issues will show some signs and you need to make sure you are available to talk and most importantly available to LISTEN! Because sometimes it feels like in a world filled with million no one is listening to us and that is painful.
The most important message is for families. Families of the people with mental health illnesses choose to ignore them as they feel that the child is just seeking attention. But, remember they just need you to help them and support them. Especially in Indian and Pakistani families; depression, anxiety, OCD amongst other mental health illnesses are seen as stupid and stigmatising. But your children are suffering and in pain and if you choose to ignore them they will be left alone. So, reach out to them and tell them you understand because that could be the little boost they need.