By Perez Yeptho and Kamalpreet Bhatia
Human beings need proper stability of the mind and body to ensure balance of the emotional and logical aspects of life. However, just like illnesses that affect the body and cause hindrances in the day to day life of a person, there are illnesses that affect the mind. It’s one of our society’s biggest and most catastrophic failures in not realizing the gravity of mental illnesses that have been increasing on a daily basis due to the 21st century lifestyle. Mental illnesses can broadly be categorized as conditions that affect the mood, thinking and behavior of a person. If one is to delve deeper into the variations in the mental illnesses found and the affects that they have on a person’s ability to function normally, one would realize that it is not something to be taken lightly.
Those who suffer from mental health issues often face a lot of stigma and isolation from those who know of their suffering and the fear of such a response is often just as bad as the illness they suffer from. For the rare few who brave up to share it with others, they are often told that what they have is not actually an illness, rather something they’ve just developed due to excessive stress and work. For a person suffering intensely from issues in their mental health, they begin to question and hate themselves more with each such dismissive conversation.
The question then arises, how did such a dismissive attitude come into existence in the first place? The answer is closely linked, again, to human nature. Often we human beings look for connections with our peers often in terms of respect so we look to explain away our shortcomings with excuses that gain us sympathy from our compatriots. All of this has led to us as a society to devalue and completely underestimate the sheer gravity of mental health issues.
We use words such as ADHD, OCD and insomnia which are serious mental health issues affecting millions of people leaving them unquestionably vulnerable and we through our ignorance describe ourselves to somewhat suffer from the same. Through several frivolous conversations we have managed to muddy the waters with lies carried over from our previous chit-chats. Such expressionism is but an impediment to ensuring that proper knowledge of these illnesses spreads out amongst the people.
As students and representatives of our generation it is important for us to spread awareness in this regard and this starts with introspection amongst ourselves. Here is the response we got from the questionnaire we circulated around NSIT which revealed a fair deal of what you all think of mental issues and in doing so we tried to clear out the misconceptions surrounding them.
We noted that almost a third of us have friends who have suffered from mental illnesses and almost two thirds of us believe that mental disorders are more complex than physical ailments. While both of these statistics showcase a level of understanding and compassion on the issue, our third question managed to hit home hard- over half of us have used terms such as ‘ADHD’, ‘OCD’, ‘Phobias’ etc. without completely understanding what they mean and in many cases we saw that the average student of NSIT also regrets using such words to further their conversations with others.
The aim of this article is not to shame you into not conversing about mental illnesses. On the contrary, we wish to see people fully understand the meaning of these diseases to spark off a meaningful and outreaching conversation about them and to figure out how we can help those suffering to live a life where they experience compassion from their peers.