A few days ago a colleague asked me, “It always amazes me that people actually consult psychologists and psychiatrists, it blows my mind that you need someone else’s help to figure your own self out. Shouldn’t everyone be able to solve their problems themselves?”
I answered him then and cleared up all the confusion he had going on about the topics involved, but the question hadn’t left my mind since then. While this concept amazed him, it proceeded to amaze me as this simple truth suddenly dawned on me that this in-fact is the normal mentality of the people we live around. And frankly, it’s contributing to prevailing mental illnesses day by day.
Not to be that person, but stigma against mental health and seeking help for mental health is the reason we’re being left behind, quite literally.
Every person has the power to change their lives for the better and they should be given the confidence to do so. They need to be reminded of reassurance and faith in themselves to be able to solve any problem by themselves, without any external help. But this conceited point of view needs drastic changing: just because you are able to help yourself, doesn’t mean others are too. You need to understand that everyone functions differently. They think, feel, perceive and reacts differently to different situations and not everyone has the strength to be strong and recover on their own.
It’s okay to be weak. It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to need help. It’s okay to not be okay. But it is never okay to shame a person for being any of these.
On this note, there’s another thing that needs to be clarified. Psychologists, who are they? Leaving all the fancy definitions behind, in simple words, they’re qualified people who listen to you and help you find a rational way out of the mental problems you face in life. Psychiatrists are those who prescribe medicines. Therapists and psychologists only help you through therapy. And it is true, if you can resolve your issues at home you wouldn’t need to pay someone else to listen to your problems, but the only catch here is that there’s people out there who need someone besides their own selves to listen.
Now there’s a difference between venting your problems and feelings to someone you know, a relative, a friend, and venting to a stranger. The stranger doesn’t know you, and therefore can’t judge you, and it’s nice to get an unbiased honest opinion from someone who can understand the situation you’re in without being involved in it. That’s part of the reason why people go to psychologists; they’re strangers who listen to your problems and help you find a way out of the problems without judging you for anything.
Sometimes when you keep everything bottled up inside your own head and try to play both ends of the game, you may misread and lead yourself further down the road of mental trouble.
Mental health isn’t just health for the mentally sick. It’s literally just constant maintenance for the mind. It’s like going to the dentist for regular checkups to keep your teeth healthy, you brain needs someone to keep it healthy too, and if you can’t do it by yourself, it’s okay to consult someone who can help. With this also comes the personal pride problem everyone faces ‘me pagal tou nahi hun! me psychologist ke paas kyun jaon?’
People need to realize that caring for your mind along with your body isn’t a crime, nor does it make you a maniac or insane person. Mental health is for everyone, and dismissing the matter won’t help anyone.
Stop this stigma and public fear of mental health, of psychologists, of getting help, of simply trying to do something for yourself. Promote positive mental health.