Hi, this is the first of my many articles and I am glad I have your attention. Through these few articles I hope to publish, I work to create awareness about the what and the why’s of mental health. The only difference is that I bring the perspective of a teenager to the table with a limited amount of experience but an enthusiasm to learn.
The cognitive, emotional, and behavioural well-being of an individual. And in these 9 words lies the definition of the so-called ‘mental health’. And yet, as a 17-year-old currently struggling to get through High school and figure out college, mental health is nothing but the understanding of how I feel and behave.
With the coming of the COVID pandemic, individuals have been forced to not only isolate themselves from the rest of the world but have been driven into their homes causing each one to spend that much more time with themselves. This has given people the chance to understand why mental health or rather what mental health entails.
Individuals have come to understand that looking after their mental health will ultimately lead to a better and more fulfilling life. Although to achieve this, individuals must be aware of their current emotions and why sometimes we let certain ones get the best of us, but millions today reap the benefits of good mental well-being.
Our emotions are embedded in us to make us more humane. The fact that we can feel pain and empathy even though the problems may not be ours just goes to show how advanced humanity is as a race. However, sometimes we let these emotions attain the best of us and therefore move towards an upset state of existence. This is where the problem may start and often can be stopped if acknowledged.
The question then arises as to why we fail to acknowledge this problem? Having broken in down into the simplest of words, many individuals even today are forced to bear these upsets states of existence and more often than not ignore them as they fail to see how these may escalate into something big. However, the question I posed myself before writing this article was why do we feel ashamed to admit that we have let our emotions get the best of us?
I found myself with two logical explanations:
Ego; a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance. A state of mind where we refuse to believe we are in the wrong, or in simpler terms consider ourselves to be the end-all of everything. In most cases, through our ego, we find ourselves to be the biggest loser. We fail to go over this mental block and therefore end up losing more than what we gain in the bargain. But how is this linked to our mental health? As one is forced to consider the individual more important, they are led to believe that they are simply ‘untouchable’. They refuse to believe that anything can bring them down and therefore when experiencing this upset state of existence, they tend to brush it off till it escalates into something worse.
Stigma; if we were to step back and ask individuals ten years ago about the importance of mental health, one would most likely be pointed in the direction of an asylum. However, today’s day and age the internet and more importantly social media has made it possible for individuals to access platforms to speak up about mental health. However, as far and wide as this may go, one cannot fail to recognize a certain percentage that still associates a stigma with mental health. The most common one is called out to be ‘what will people think’ or how will society react when I receive the tag of going to therapy. Another one allows individuals to think that people with mental health issues are often violent and dangerous. This not only discourages an individual from seeking help but can also delay the process of recovery for one may be holding themselves back.
Having understood these problems, I failed to wrap my head around as to how to overcome them. Maybe due to my lack of experience, I am unable to answer but having had a brief interaction with the subject for two years and having interacted with countless practitioners about the same, through a student’s perspective, I arrive at some conclusions.
Our generation has understood the importance of mental well-being and therefore are not afraid to reach out for help. For those who still struggle to, we need to help them understand what therapy may be in the simplest of terms. Reaching out for help is doing nothing but pouring your heart out to someone who holds no preconceived bias against you and therefore has no grounds to judge you upon. All one does is simply arrange your thoughts in a way that you can understand and comprehend better.
Speaking from personal experience, I was one of those who considered themselves to be weak if they sought out help. I believed that it would make me less of myself for I could not make sense of something that was a part of me. However, I soon realised that the mind’s true state was just existence. It never knew the emotions until we acted upon them. And therefore, seeking help was never going to make me less, it would simply allow me to achieve something greater by attaining better emotional well-being.
This article is not something you haven’t heard before. Nor is it very difficult to find over the internet if one goes through a few sites. However, it only allows you to understand it from the perspective of a teenager. It allows you to view the world through my eyes and maybe make sense through this short read of how chaotic things can be. All I ask is for you to seek help when you need it and not neglect the mind for it requires the same care we give to other parts of our body.