Hey readers, hope you are all doing well. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for being so active on social media and other platforms spreading the importance of mental health on the occasion of Mental health day the previous week (10 th October ).
It feels so happy when we all step up and speak up for the cause. But before that, it is very necessary to deal with assumptions and preconceived notions first.
I have listed 10 myths that we all came across since childhood, so let us try to understand the facts and erase those myths, thus becoming completely aware
1. Mental illnesses are lifelong and incurable.”If you are once a victim of it, you are a lifetime victim of it.”
I’m sure many of you have heard this statement from some of the people in your life. It might be an aunt next door or from your own family member. People generally think that it is very big or something monstrous. They think it would never leave them.
Well, the fact is, not all mental illnesses are incurable, not all mental illnesses are lifelong. There is a cure for some and also effective treatments for others. Some only last for a few days to months, while some might take time.
Some are difficult to cope with and are lifelong. Just like how one takes regular doses to keep their bp(blood pressure) in balance, they need to be supplied with additional therapy or medications as per the condition.
So let’s not assume and spread fear. Like any other disorder or disease affecting the physical body, the same is the case with mental illness, anyone can get it. There are maximum chances to get well too, if not completely well, they would definitely get better and show improvement with therapy.
2. People with mental illness are very weak and can’t handle stress. They are very sensitive.
Hmm… a 100 % NO. I would say that people living with mental illness are more resistant to stress and pressure because they are learning to handle it in a better way with the crisis they are experiencing.
For me, people who have mental illnesses or the ones who have experienced it earlier, are like those colleagues who have extra qualifications and experience. It is no more weakness, it is learning and equipping ourselves with various tools to fight against odds.
Researchers say that people with few mental illnesses are the ones having high IQ and creativity. So please don’t miss them or avoid them from being in your team, or in your friend’s circle. From what I say, it doesn’t mean that you should pity them or do a favor. Just give them equal opportunity and chance.
3. Mental illnesses are not real, they are something fictitious
Oops, No No, you are thinking the wrong way. Mental illness is as real as you are, as real as a fracture on your leg. They are not something out of the blue, they are not imaginary ones. One can’t have it on their own.
As people say in Hindi “Natak Kar Raha/Rahi hai”, (which means, someone, is just acting ), but the truth is not that, it is not an action, it is real. One might not know why it is coming, where it is coming from, but the pain and struggle are real.
The only difference between physical injury and emotional injury is that, on the physical end, you can see what happened, but in mental issues, you can’t. That doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Be sensitive to other’s pain even when you don’t know about it or can’t see that.
4. Mental illness is nothing but a demonic possession.
I am sure most of us know it is not, but there are still a few people and areas of society, we need to reach out to. We have to speak the truth loud that mental illness has nothing to do with demonic possession, nor will the traditional methods of evocation, incantation, etc would work.
Hey a question for you people😀
For example, You have been diagnosed with thyroid/diabetes or some physical illness, will you go to the black magician / a witch to get it out of you? – No right!
Then why in the case of mental illness. The responsibility lies on us friends, to go out and speak the facts, make them understand, and facilitate the process for change.
5. If you try to talk or go near a person living with mental illness, you would also get those symptoms and become like them.
First things first – Mental illnesses are not contagious diseases. It’s not a virus that would spread. So please be more considerate, make friends with people having mental health issues too. Spend time with them. They are just like us.
Why do we even reason out this way? We are all human beings and are equals, irrespective of personal challenges.
6. People living with mental illnesses are violent and can hurt or kill somebody.
This is the most common thing said by people around. It has been addressed by many people and I would also like to give my take on it. Mental health issues are huge and have many variations, different symptoms and behaviors depending on the particular issue.
Some people who have been diagnosed with mental health issues have anger problems and so become violent at times. The cases where we see such people hurting are very low. We can’t ignore the fact that there is a certain amount of danger, at the same time, we cannot even conclude and generalize that all who have mental and behavioral problems are violent and suppose harm.
In fact, most people living with mental health issues are victims of anger and hurt, caused by society. Let’s not conclude by listening to a single story. Single stories are dangerous and can make us blind to truths.
7. ” It is there in your system, flush it out, it will go ” ( In the context of depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. )
Sadly, many parents and friends say this. I wish it was true and that easy because positive affirmations and beautiful motivating things are all around us. But it does not work that way.
People drain our energy suggesting techniques and activities we need to do to get out of the emotional trauma and issues one is facing. If you are not a professional, please abstain from giving free advice. The most you could do is listen. Practice active listening.
It is not always in one’s brain or mind that can be flushed out, mental illnesses having a lot of reasons for which they occur – hormones, biological functioning, conditioning, neurological system, etc. One needs proper help and expert counseling to treat the illness.
8. Psychiatrists and psychologists are meant for mad people only
Nopes, mad people as we call them, are not mad people, they are just having few mental health issues to deal with. We can be the next ones facing those issues too, we never know. Therefore do not throw a label as such. Our words when spoken have a life of their own, let us be loving and mindful while we speak.
And coming to psychiatrist and psychologists, they are mental health professionals, they will teach us, help us, and guide us to have a healthy emotional life. Even the tiniest of issues can be discussed and sorted through.
For example – exam fear, stress, pressure, not being able to give your full, feeling of emptiness and dissatisfaction, relationship issues, etc. It is just like reaching out to a person who knows better about things you don’t. Therefore, I would humbly request and encourage you all to not hesitate to go to a psychiatrist or psychologist for even the smallest things that are concerning you.
9. Mental health issues are a result of bad and unhealthy parenting
Family and society play a very important role in the development of an individual. Parenting does shape a person’s mentality. But many people are living with mental illness, though they had good and healthy parenting. The children who had all the resources and have been supported physically, emotionally, and socially have also developed the issues.
The conditioning and people around us are just one side of the story, there are many other factors that cause mental illness.
So please don’t blame parents and family for what one is diagnosed with. Parents, please don’t blame yourself for what your child is facing, it is not you people who have done that. Yes, there might be unintentional harm you might have done, but it’s not too late, you can still learn and stop many lives from being the victims of unhealthy parenting.
Let’s get going with what we can do to help and promote a healthy environment for others to live in.
10. If we vocalize about mental illness, people will not talk to us.They would avoid us.
Many families stop their children from talking about what they went through or what they are going through emotionally.
Few notions have been stuck like “my daughter won’t get married if we tell people, what she went through or is going through “, ” everyone will put a tag on my child”, etc. Yes, society did make our parents feel that way but the times are changing.
So be the first one to talk and spread awareness about it. Let’s be brave to open up (if and when comfortable only, it might take some time, give it, no worries )and talk about it. It might help somebody and fill them with hope. Mental illness is not a rare one anymore. Most people around us thrive with some or other emotional issues.
You need not be an expert. But be aware of who the experts are and then direct your friends and people around you to them. Share these 10 myths with people you know and unwrap the assumptions and misconceptions which we have been holding.
Do comment down below the other such myths you grew up listening to or have come across any time.