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Mental Health And The Taboo Around Therapy

Mental health and the taboo around therapy.

As a child, my dad often told me that the body achieves what the mind imagines. So, I decided that the mind is superior to the body. But then I read a book that stated "a healthy mind resides in a healthy body". But as I grew up, I observed that all of us have forgotten to take care of our minds. Whenever we get physically ill or get any physical ailment, we consider it as serious and treat it – either by going to a doctor and taking proper medicines or by giving our body the rest it requires. So why neglect the well-being of our minds??? why not let it take a breather amidst all the chaos? And if need be, why not go to a doctor and heal our minds?

Even scientific studies show that there are 7 different types of rest which a person should seek to feel completely recharged. Physical, mental, spiritual, social, creative, emotional, and sensory. And so far, we have only been concerned with just physical rest.

The "WHY"

The stigma and taboo around mental health still exist mainly because we, as Indians, have always had an atmosphere of rush and the need to get things done quickly. The sheer chaos of the lifestyle we live never gave us enough time to introspect and become vulnerable. We have been taught from childhood, especially men, to be “tough” in front of others, to not share problems, to not show weaknesses. Our perspective on the word "strength" has indeed made us very inexpressive and distant.

Mental health has never been given the importance it requires in our society. Although the stigma around mental illness and therapy is dissolving gradually, there is still a lot of backlashes faced by people who advocate or promote talking about mental issues on a public forum.

In this aspect, dare I say that the covid lockdown had an upside - that we got to spend some time on ourselves, we got to reconnect with ourselves. We got to reflect within and realize our flaws, embrace our imperfections and fight our own battles with our insecurities. This is probably why people are starting to realize the importance of mental health and how it is as equally important as physical fitness.

The lockdown gave us much-needed enlightenment that indeed is very essential for every individual. Realizing and embracing the fact that we all need help at some point, accepting that needing help does not make us weak, and working on making ourselves better as human beings.

The sad part is that even if we want to seek out help, the resources and mentality of people in our country have not been developed and opened enough to facilitate an open discussion about mental health. Most of the medical colleges in our country do not offer courses that talk about mental illness and how to tackle it. The very few therapists available are quite expensive and turn out to be of no help to the common man. Moreover, instead of being viewed as “doctors of the mind”, they are rather viewed as  “doctors of the crazy”. Therapy is looked down on as something which only crazy or mentally disabled people opt for. The mere mention of a psychiatrist invites judgment and criticism.

In today's digital and fast-paced world, people tend to lose the human touch and become aloof with their emotions. It is imperative to take a step back and rejuvenate the mind. Therapy does not always have to mean that you pay someone to listen to your problems. Therapy is doing anything that clears your head. Something that makes you see within yourself, that makes you smile from your core. It can be painting, singing, writing a journal, meditation, anything that recharges your mental health. Because a blooming flower is always much more beautiful than a shriveled up one.

Citing the example of the late actor Sushant Singh Rajput. We have seen from his example that talking openly about your issues can make a humongous difference in your quality of life. To prevent any more of us from such unfortunate circumstances, we owe It to ourselves as a community to create a healthy and open discussion about mental health and break the stigma around therapy. Knowing that you are not alone in this fight gives a ray of hope and the strength to go on to countless people amongst us.


Another reason why people run away from discussing or confessing their issues is because of society's perception as to what mental health means. In our society, when an individual is diagnosed with anxiety or depression, people often make comments such as "but you have everything you can ask for in your life, why do you need to be depressed ??"  Such comments may not necessarily be out of malice but are often due to a lack of awareness. This eventually pulls down the confidence of the individual and confines them from opening up about their issues and creates a never-ending cycle of ignorance and frustration. If we educate ourselves properly, have a better understanding of what it means to be healthy, we can do wonders together. Instead, we can always reach out for help instead of branding ourselves as "weird" or "difficult". 

The GenZ and the millennial generations have slowly begun to understand the importance of mental health awareness and I'm all for it. Students are often under a lot of pressure due to the expectations of parents and society. On top of that, they have so many expectations from themselves and are afraid to lose. The fear of failure often drives them to make some really bad decisions. Be it drugs, alcohol, or even suicide. This is why it is very important to let youths know that it is okay to fail, it is okay to not succeed on the first try. As long as you are trying your 100%, as long as you have dedication towards what you do, you will succeed eventually. 

In conclusion, I would like to point out that the future will be so much brighter and better if all of us know we have someone to lean on, to talk to, to share our thoughts with, and to care for.


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Tags: #MentalHealth #Therapy #BreakingTheStigma #SelfHelp


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