Did you know that a NIMHANS survey suggests that one in every 20 Indians suffer from depression? But this is only the tip of the iceberg and the more commonly known mental health issue. We face challenges every day in our lives. It is a cause for concern when we are no longer able to deal with these challenges effectively. We all deal with difficult circumstances in different ways. Some of us prefer to take a vacation, while some of us dive into work and throw all our energy and focus into it. When do you know if this is harmful or helpful for your mental health? Here is a quick checklist:
You are constantly tired at the end of the day with no energy.
You shut off your negative thoughts with alcohol or other temporary fixes.
You find yourself being impatient and frustrated easily.
You feel lost and unsure about what your next steps should be.
You have been in this ‘bad phase’ for over six months.
If you answered yes to even 2 of these statements, it may be time to pay some attention to your mental health.
Pop culture seems to focus more and more on mental health and counselling in recent years. Everything from ‘A Beautiful Mind’ to ‘Dear Zindagi’ has shown aspects of mental health and how counsellors can help. While some are insightful, most are exaggerated in a way only blockbuster cinema can do. Here is the perspective of a regular counsellor just looking to bust some myths and create awareness.
1. Therapy is only for “Crazy People”
This is a common myth which has been around since forever. It is important to understand that counselling works for anyone who is having trouble in dealing with everyday situations and emotions. Just like you would go to a doctor for a physical ailment, you should visit a counsellor for your mental health. Mental health is just as important as physical health and deserves the same kind of attention.
2. It is a ‘weakness’ to seek counselling
Many people consider it a weakness to seek a counsellor. This is simply not true. It is a brave decision to pick up the phone and book an appointment to change the way your life currently is. If you know of someone who has sought professional help, make sure to applaud their bravery and courage to make a change.
3. Counselling is an overnight fix
Counselling is also not an overnight quick fix solution. It requires effort and commitment from the client to reflect and implement the techniques and skills you learn during sessions. Don’t lose patience if you don’t see results immediately.
4. ‘Counselling cannot help me’
Finally, for the people who have tried counselling and have been disappointed with the results – there is no one counsellor who has all the solutions. If one particular type of therapy does not work for you, don’t hesitate to explore other options. It is also important to remember that you must be open to learning new behaviour patterns or life skills that require more self-reflection and will not always be a smooth process. That being said, if your counsellor and you are a good match and establish a good relationship, counselling will go a long way in not just helping you in your current situation, but enabling you to deal better with most future situations as well.
So, remember - the next time you or someone close to you feels low and it is not just a phase, discuss it with loved ones and consider picking up the phone to book an appointment with a counsellor. We all need a change in mind set and today, it starts with you. * This article first appeared in The Wonder Woman World.