Team Paradigm Friday, 22 May 2020

Mental Health : Major Growing Issue

“It hits you all of a sudden. It’s the middle of the day, you’re surrounded by friends and the sun is out. But something isn’t right. There is this feeling, a very uncomfortable feeling in your mind, in the pit of your stomach. You want to leave and go somewhere that is quiet and dark. You are being consumed. Consumed by your own thoughts. So dark and so horrid, you are afraid. It’s wrecking you from the inside out.

But what can you do? Suffer? That’s what many of us do and did. But sometimes the suffering gets too much. You can’t handle the darkness that’s pulling you into an eternal abyss and you decide that the only way to stop the darkness is to join it. You take your own life. Suicide. Simple as that.

I lost a very close friend of mine to suicide. It sent us, their friends and family, all into a cage. We felt trapped, we felt deep inside us this horrible, disgusting feeling and all you wanted to do is cry. That’s how suffering feels. This constant feeling of being trapped and not being able to do anything to stop it. That’s how people with mental illnesses feel constantly. It devours us. Fear eats our insides away until we are nothing but bones. Fear controls us. Fear puts us on autopilot and does whatever it wants.

That feeling you have in the pit of your stomach when you are about to do something that makes you nervous? That’s how anxiety feels. It’s how living with a mental illness feels. It runs our lives and we can’t stop it. Admitting to someone that you have a problem is probably the hardest thing to do. Admitting to my best friend that I have anxiety, depression and OCD took me months. Every night I would run it around in my head, what and how will I tell my friend that I am crazy and I can’t control it? Will she be OK with it? Will she laugh? Is she going to stay being my friend? And that’s the problem I am trying to write about. Admitting you have a mental illness. It’s not easy to do and that’s why more than two million people are struggling. They can’t tell anyone.

Lucky for me, I have an amazing group of friends that understood, while some aren’t so lucky. A lot of friends and family reject their siblings or children or friends because they don’t know how to deal with a mental illness. Dealing with a mental illness, whether you have it or someone else does, is like a tripwire. You have to be so careful with your words or one bad move and it can devastate someone. Do you remember the part where I mentioned a friend I lost to suicide? Well, her name was Abigail, but her friends and family called her Abby. Abby was an obsessed-scratch that-dedicated to One Direction. They kept not only her happy, but everyone happy. Their music helps people, physically, mentally and spiritually. Abby also told me, before she passed, that One Direction was the only thing keeping her going.

Now, you might ask, where am I going with this? Well, what I am trying to do here is get One Direction to notice Abby’s story, get them to talk about mental health and let people, especially young adults, to realize that they are not alone in this battle with mental illnesses. No matter what the illness, no one is ever alone, no matter how lonely it seems.

“And here you are living, despite it all.” - Rupi Kaur

A quote that always inspired me, even through those dark days when I decided I couldn’t do it anymore, couldn’t carry on living.

To all those suffering deep inside, pushing those feelings to the back of your brain, the bottom of your heart, please keep on living. Please remember that no matter how distant your future may seem, no matter how distant love may seem, it will always be there. Never lose hope; I know it’s easy to. We are rocks in a sea of chaos; we cannot let every storm knock us around. We simply mustn’t.”

This story reminds us of a quote by Russell Willson “If we start being honest about our pain, our anger, and our shortcomings instead of pretending they don’t exist, then maybe we’ll leave the world a better place than we found it.”

Mental Health has always been the most ignored health issue in our society. It has always been seen as a stigma which could not be removed. Mental health has never been given the importance as it deserves even after all the advancements and studies made in this area. The current studies show that Mental illnesses affect 19% of the adult population, 46% of teenagers and 13% of children each year. Not only youth but also elder people suffer from Mental Health issues. People struggling with their mental health may be in your family, live next door, teach your children or work in the next cubicle. However, only half of those affected receive treatment, often because of the stigma attached to mental health. Untreated, mental illness can contribute to higher medical expenses, poorer performance at school and work, fewer employment opportunities and increased risk of suicide.

In a world where loneliness is becoming a new hype here are the recent studies which show, since the 1980s, the percentage of American adults who say they’re lonely has doubled from 20 percent to 40 percent.

About one-third of Americans older than 65 now live alone, and half of those over 85 do. People in poorer — especially those with mood disorders like anxiety and depression — are more likely to feel lonely.

Here is a story shared by Doctor.

“My patient and I both knew he was dying.

Not the long kind of dying that stretches on for months or years. He would die today. Maybe tomorrow. And if not tomorrow, the next day. Was there someone I should call? Someone he wanted to see? Not one, he told me. No immediate family. No close friends. He had a niece down South, maybe, but they hadn’t spoken in years.

For me, the sadness of his death was surpassed only by the sadness of his solitude. I wondered whether his isolation was a driving force of his premature death, not just an unhappy circumstance. Every day I see variations at both the beginning and end of life: a young man abandoned by friends as he struggles with opioid addiction; an older woman getting by on tea and toast, living in filth, no longer able to clean her cluttered apartment. In these moments, it seems the only thing worse than suffering a serious illness is suffering it alone.”

Social isolation is a growing epidemic — one that’s increasingly recognized as having dire physical, mental and emotional consequences. A wave of new research suggests social separation is bad for us. Individuals with less social connection have disrupted sleep patterns, altered immune systems, more inflammation and higher levels of stress hormones. One recent study found that isolation increases the risk of heart disease by 29 percent and stroke by 32 percent.

Another analysis that pooled data from 70 studies and 3.4 million people found that socially isolated individuals had a 30 percent higher risk of dying in the next seven years, and that this effect was largest in middle age.

In the current scenario where the world is facing the greatest lockdown ever, mental health of the people is at stake. This lockdown is having the adverse effects on mental health and relationships, shown by the study. Highest rates of divorce appeals have been registered in China as revealed by the resources. Frustration, anxiety and depression has been amplified due to uncertainty of future and jobs among students and adults. Their voices need to be heard. Some concrete actions should be taken for the increasing uncertainty among people all over the world.

Story Source: New York Times NAMI

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