There is nothing particular about some days, but these days are most particular of all. Some days, I am chirping like a bird all day long, other days I’m in love with dead silence. Some days, I look at people around me, feeling blessed I have them, other days, I want to run far, really far, away from any human existence. There are days when my mother’s lap feels heaven to me; other days, even mom’s love just doesn’t suffice. Some days, I am all pumped up to conquer the world; other days, I question why I woke up at all. Why are some days just so difficult to even live? Some days, when I just don’t fit anywhere, with anyone; days when I just don’t feel at par with the world. Some days when a mere “What happened?” fills me with anguish because I feel helpless to describe where I reside. Some days, when all I want to do is cry – and still, crying doesn’t feel enough. Days when I question my existence – days when death doesn’t seem all that bad, rather an escape; a blessing. Some days, I push people away – but all I want is someone to hold me and unfold why I feel the way I feel. And whilst I am hoping all of this for myself, am I there to hold others on their “some days”?

Illustration, Moonassi

 

Maybe this is why mental illness is so difficult to diagnose; because it is not as simple as an “I have a stomach ache.” It is difficult to fathom into an ocean of thoughts. It is difficult to gather the courage to respond than to get masked behind a happy face. You don’t even know if it’s there, it takes a while before you realize it exists. It is difficult to say you have “a problem”, making way for your neighbors’ under breath mumbles that follow along with your treatment, or maybe even before that. If somewhere you have begun perceiving solitude as a reaction to every problem; if you no longer find your passion passionate enough; with all these emotions just eating you up inside; you should seek help.

“People around me I call friends and family, ask me what I feel. I am quiet and I feel the quietness, and I do not know how to describe my numbness any better.”

A disease not considered a disease does not seek a cure. Many mentally ill patients do not want to take medication. It takes time for them to come in terms with the actuality that they are ill, mentally. Every mental illness is analogized to being mad and do we wish to be called mad? No, right. Why is being mad all that bad? Why is being mad to be felt shameful of? Why do we not see it as a medical condition? And while we feel concerned to see a doctor in fever, we abhor doing so in depression? Why do we not feel it a necessity having regular mental health check-ups like we feel for our heart and blood? We fail to infer that mental illness is just like any other disease and the way other diseases require treatment and medicines, depression requires it too.

Bitterly, the challenges do not end here. A global shortage of mental health professionals is another devil to be curbed. Even if you seek help, you might wait for weeks to see someone. “The shortage of psychiatrists is an escalating crisis … of more severity than shortages faced in virtually any other specialty.”, as stated by a 2017 report from the physician search firm Merritt Hawkins. Alarmingly, these stats exist even when millions of people are going underdiagnosed and untreated – nearly 150 million Indians need mental health care services; less than 30 million are seeking care. (National Mental Health Survey -2015-16).

“There comes a point where you no longer care if there’s a light at the end of the tunnel or not. You’re just sick of the tunnel.” – Ranata Suzuki

Illustration, Moonassi.

But is a Psychiatrist enough? Not ever. What causes mental illness is a yearning to be loved, to be cared, to be felt worthy, and to anticipate an alluring future. We want mankind around us to be more sympathetic, our kin to value our existence and to be there. Always. More than a Psychiatrist, we need our society to be more understanding of emotions, of sentiments and of their judgments that affect us all, more than they presume. For our community to blossom, we need everyone to reckon every life as a beautiful miracle – a life that is too exquisite to be lost to mental illness.

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”

 

Authors:

Tafheem Masudi ([email protected])

Shivangi Pandey ([email protected])

Author Tafheem Masudi

A Ph.D. graduate from FMI Novartis, Switzerland | Currently a Postdoctoral fellow in GU, Sweden | Mental Health Advocate.