This is a rant post about the apathy our society nurtures, towards depression and other mental conditions
In no way, I have an authority on this grave topic but I have first-hand experience that if it remains untreated, depression can wreak havoc in your normal functioning life.
I have just started my journey of healing-one day at time. Hope, I’d get few compadres along the way.
Why this is so difficult to talk about mental health in India?
India is a ticking time bomb, when it comes to dwindling mental health. Even our honorable president had admitted so.
But why so?
There are myriad of reasons and I am no expert, researcher or fact-finder. What I am documenting is purely based on layman’s observation.
Our work-spaces are not equipped for mental upheaval
I hail from an industrialized town.
Since childhood, I had seen men around me used to return from factory in a highly-agitated state most of the days.
My father used to work in crane section and his job involved operating from an elevated space. He had seen so many colleagues fell from crane, somebody cracking neck, others with broken legs, fortunately nobody died.
There was no trauma-care unit in his work-space (I highly doubt whether they have had one these days).
We had host of angry fathers shouting at their wives, spanking kids occasionally and venting out bottled-up aggression on “weaker-beings”.
Same holds true for modern-day work-space.
You can have a hernia operation, rest for few days and can disclose to your ‘sympathetic’ colleagues.
Recovering from a bout of depression or social anxiety disorder won’t merit the same reactions from those with whom you work.
Putting the onus on gods, marriage and elders
In a religious (and developing) country, there are few quick-fix solutions for everything, say for depression.
First, pray to god (read Gita, listen devotional songs, meditate- the last one gets my goat every time), if that doesn’t solve things, then ask the elder and invariably-
- S/he will suggest you to get married, if you’re single, to “settle things down”.
- If you are married then don’t know what they will say. May be have kids or loads of sex?
And now ‘depression’ gets the memo, you’ll bloom like a sunflower from next day onwards.
My rant with Indian schooling system is unending. Once I start, it would be difficult to stop. So I’d rather not start.
Lack of qualified professionals
Few months ago, I was watching a phone-in show that invites a clinical psychologist/psychiatrist every-day and connects them with viewers.
While the concept is noble, it showed some red flags.
A newly-married lady phoned-in and was explaining the mental strain she was having in adjusting in her in-laws house (typical desi craps).
Instead of dishing out some solid solutions, the “experience” psychiatrist suddenly started talking about
- how greedy we Indians have become,
- how impatient this generation is
- The virtues of adjusting (like: if your screaming boss doesn’t send your helter-skelter, why react differently when your mother-in-law shouts).
I was like- “What the real fuck?”
And the said psychiatrist declared proudly at the beginning of the show that she has degree from States.
The moot point is- like Zomato, we need reviewing system in terms mental health professionals also.
Else, instead of curing you, your counselor’s antiquated view might push you to teetering edge.
Like cervical cancer, breast cancer, miscarriage or menstruation, we don’t talk about mental health in a South-East Asian country.
For me, the morbid consolation is- at least with mental health, the shushing-up is all-inclusive for men, women and any other gender.
Words of caution
In case, you don’t get any of these and take pride of your psychological sturdiness, then congrats.
But please, don’t say the following things to sufferers.
Here’s the cheat-sheet (*bad info-graphic alert*)
Now why you shouldn’t say these- is the story of another post.
Needless to say, if you are suffering from early signs of depression( for me, it was sudden break-downs, feeling sleepy all the time, not wanting to get out of bed), consulting to a professional therapist is the key.
Meantime, here are three resources for some immediate relief-