While I’ve been told to avoid disclaimers of any sort, I must preface by saying that I’m not a mental health practitioner and the following post is in by no means ‘advice’ to anyone diagnosed (or not) with mental health illnesses. I’m only writing because I have found some solace in writing about things that keep my mind busy and loud and also because I want to try for what it’s worth, play a role in creating awareness. For anyone who is in distress in Sri Lanka please call:
1333 - Crisis Support Service
0112696666/0112692909 - Sumithrayo
0717639898 - Shanthi Maargam
1926 - National Mental Health Line
Also, how are you feeling today? I’m not sure how you stumbled on this post, but if you do, thanks for stopping by and I want to know how you are? How has your day been so far? I hope it’s been good. If your day is just starting, I hope it’s fantastic and you have a great day ahead.
How often do we stop to ask about the wellbeing of someone else? Sure we do the usual, “how are you?” but honestly, that usually is followed by the customary, “I’m fine thanks, how are you?” And I don’t know about you, but if someone asked me “how I was” this would be the exact response I would give them. Sometimes to vary it up I would even do a local classic “Not bad men.” But you know what, sometimes when I say that I’m fine, I’m genuinely not. At the same time, the over-naturally justifying person in me (verified trait by one of my favourites) also knows that everyone has their shit going on so how genuinely how is there enough time for them to invest in my life? My internal monologue continues to ask me if by telling them that I’m not okay and not even knowing that I’m okay, does that make it seem like a first world pain? I have so much to be grateful for and I have so MUCH in my life, but how do I explain to someone this void I feel inside me? Is it because I’m single? But it’s not as though relationships always filled that void, it at times did, but it was like a piece of a puzzle where the edges did not match. It did fit in with some difficulty but it wasn’t an easy fit and before long, the piece of the puzzle either fell apart or the void grew bigger.
So yes, how do I explain my first world problems?
And this is exactly why we don’t talk enough about mental health illnesses.
Yes, I see the problem. As a somewhat writer/blogger I see the discussion on mental health not being visible and therefore even non-existent, I understand that other physical ailments being considered a higher priority because it is seemingly more visible. But just because some of us with (high functioning) depression or any other mental health disorder can carry on, business as usual with seemingly no care in the world, does that make the illness less important?
Then there is stigma and shame. When I told friends and family that I was going to study psychology (as a minor) I was often asked to “read their minds.” It was similar to when I used to write to the newspapers and they asked me to “write about me (them) in the papers. But the stigma is real. With the ever growing conversation around ‘privilege’, albeit an important one — mental health illnesses are overlooked among those who are more privileged because after all, “what in the world do they have to worry about?” The very stigma that prevents people from seeking help. From talking about it to others. From seeking an empathetic support circle.
So where does that bring me to this post? Nowhere.
But if you do think things are not right, you are feeling a little more stressed than usual, or you just need someone to talk to, reach out. Sometimes, you might not be able to find your support circle right away. Sometimes it might even be your immediate circle of family and friends. But remember, just because someone didn’t react the way you wanted them to the first time around, that doesn’t mean you should give up — always know that there are others out there who are waiting to be reached out and be there for you, at least virtually. There is no shame here. No stigma here. The conversation on mental health is a very real one and if you feel like you could contribute to it, please do so.
For anyone who is in distress in Sri Lanka please call:
1333 — Crisis Support Service
0112696666/0112692909 — Sumithrayo
0717639898 — Shanthi Maargam
1926 — National Mental Health Line