We live in a world where mental health is often overlooked. People underestimate the importance of being healthy, mentally. And by mental health, I’m not talking about the major neurological diseases but the issues we face in our day-to-day life and choose to ignore. These issues are highly damaging for the person suffering from it and can lead to extreme physical as well as mental damage and suicide also.
According to World Health Organization, over 450 million people currently suffer from mental disorders, placing it among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide, that is, one in every four people will be affected from mental disorders at some point of their lifetime. Over 800,000 people die due to suicide every year. Surprisingly… well not so surprisingly, suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29 year old. That, is an alarming rate and we need to think where we’re going wrong.
First mistake we make is neglecting the initial symptoms of mental disorders which is basically because of the lack of knowledge about them.
The most common and most damaging mental disorder is ‘Depression‘. We often mistake it with usual mood fluctuations and emotional response to challenges in everyday life. Depression may become a serious health condition if it is long-lasting and with moderate to severe intensity. It can cause the affected person to suffer greatly,and at its worst, can lead to suicide. An affected person finds it hard or impossible to have fun or enjoy their lives. Well, statistics shows that globally, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression.
Another disorder from which people are often unfamiliar with, is ‘Bipolar Disorder‘. Some people hold unhelpful beliefs about what bipolar means. Mostly, thinking of bipolar as being like having dual or split personalities or that it is just ‘moodiness’. These kinds of beliefs are extremely damaging as they can make people feel isolated and alone which leads to worsening of their mental health. Bipolar Disorder is experiencing extreme periods of low (depressed) and high (manic) moods. High or manic periods typically consists of feeling excited, confident, adventurous, having racing thoughts, a feeling of not being able to get their words out fast enough, difficulty concentrating on one thing, a feeling of being special, invincible, and in some cases, experiencing symptoms of psychosis such as hallucinations or delusions. While, low , or depressive periods usually include hopeless, empty, fearful, low self-esteem, feeling guilty or worthless, tired, heavy, lack of motivation, feeling tensed, frustrated, agitated, suicidal thoughts and feelings. Also, some people experience ‘mixed’ episodes, where they feel elements of both high and low moods.
Other mental disorders include:
Anxiety and panic attacks, where a person experience physical symptoms including shortness of breath, sweating, an increased heartbeat or blurry vision. A panic attack is when these feelings of anxiety become intense and overwhelming. It is estimated that in any given week, around 6 in every 100 of us will be experiencing Generalized Anxiety Disorder, 1 in about every 200 people will be experiencing a panic disorder, 8 out of 100 people will be experiencing a mixture of anxiety and depression.
Eating disorders, where a person experiences unhealthy thoughts, feelings and behavior about food and their body shape.
Obsessive- Compulsive disorder, where a person experiences obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavior.
Post traumatic stress disorder, where a person develop a certain set of symptoms following a traumatic event. These symptoms include reliving the traumatic event through flashbacks, intrusive thoughts or nightmares, constantly feeling on edge or alert, experiencing high anxiety or panic attacks, avoiding feelings or memories of the event through keeping busy or avoiding talking about the event. It is not necessary that the person show symptoms immediately after the event. PTSD might begin weeks, months or years later.
Borderline personality disorder (BPD), one on the most widely recognized personality disorders, though it is still thought to affect less than 1% of the population. BPD symptoms might include strong emotions, rapid changes in feelings and moods, difficulty in controlling certain impulses, poor self image, feeling of not fitting or belonging, and a deep sense of emptiness and isolation. Someone with BPD might go to extreme lengths to prevent feelings of abandonment. They might feel tempted to harm themselves if emotions become hard to cope with or express, and might also experience delusions or hallucinations.
Schizophrenia is experiencing symptoms of psychosis like hallucinations, delusions, paranoia and confused thoughts and feelings alongside negative symptoms which include withdrawal from family, friends and extreme lack of motivation and interest generally.
These feelings often lead to self harm and suicidal thoughts. These symptoms are often mistaken for “mood fluctuations” and neglected.
One of the major mistakes people do is judging people based on their behavior, especially at first glance and make fun of them. The suffers refrain themselves from talking or getting help because of the fear of being judged and being made fun of. At such point in their life, when they are ready to end their life, if someone make fun of them in any way, their self-esteem is completely lost, gone. They cry out loud, beg for help, but that is just the Sound of Silence. Talking about your problem is hard, especially when it is about mental health because people generally put a crazy or paranoid tag on them. That’s what prevent them from talking and it worsen their condition and lead to depression.
We have to understand the little clues in the behavior of a person that indicate that the person is suffering. Usually, people suffering from depression show their feelings through art forms. Drawings, written work, music, these things can tell a lot about a person, if we can just have empathy and patience.
If you ever find someone who is suffering, talk to them, hold them, make them believe that they are not alone, that you’re there with them no matter what and won’t let go of them, listen to them. Help them. Be patient with them because it is not easy to put every feeling in words. You have to recognize their emotions. Get professional help. Even a small hug might save someone’s life one day. A small act of kindness can save people. Spread the word, Save lives. Because if you’re not a part of the solution, then you’re a part of the problem.
Like Chester Bennington said, we can defeat hate by love. We can conquer it by ignoring it. We can destroy it by loving the person next to you. So just take a moment and just tell the person next to you that you love them and you’re happy that they are here with you, celebrating life.
Be the change.