October 10. Yes, that is TODAY! Today is World Mental Health Day.
It is ridiculous and sad to know that people, on average, wait 8 to 10 years before seeking help for mental illness largely due to stigma. “Oh, you are just lazy.” “You are just weak and whiny.” “It’s all in your head and you can just make it stop.” “You are being selfish.” You would never say that to someone having a physical illness, would you? Say, someone is coughing so much then everyone will suggest that person to see a doctor, right? Or even taking a sick day off work and rest? But why is it so hard to do the same for someone suffering from mental illness? Because the suffering is inside, and mostly silent.
I don’t need people to understand how I feel. Honestly, I wish no one needs to go to those dark places ever. I am just asking for some simple kindness and acknowledgement. Please acknowledge the fact that mental illness is real and a lot of people are struggling with the battle on their own every day. It could be biological, psychological or a mix of other causes. The important thing is that with proper treatment, just like any other illness, people can get better. You can get better.
My parents have witnessed my struggle with depression and anxiety for many years now. They are as open-minded as they can be given their generation and background. Till this day, my mom still believes that I am just lazy when I am depressed. She still thinks that seeing a psychologist “just to talk” is a waste of time and money. So, a part of me also blame myself for “being lazy and weak” and for not being able to function 100% all the time. Some days, I just wish that my mom can just make me a bowl of soup like the time when I had a stomach flu. But sadly, for her, mental illness is not as real as stomach flu.
That is why I am being so vocal about mental health so often. I need to make a little noise to raise awareness on this subject. Please spread this message too. People do not need to fight their inner battle alone.