Sahrish / Female / 30 / Karachi

An Open Letter on Mental Health

Chances are we don’t know each and may have never heard about each other either. But I know one thing that makes us be alike. It is either you still have a heart and your humanity intact or that you and I, both are a passenger of the the same boat called ‘mental illness’ that has way too many rooms (disorders) named differently. We may struggle with a different disorder but we are still in the same boat, right?

Today, I choose this day to write this letter to you and address a few things that might help you. My letter is not just for those who suffer from mental illness but those who know someone who struggles with any sort of mental illness. Please understand the importance of mental health. Mental health education is not just necessary for those who suffer from it but also for those who live with them or love them. Parents and siblings need to understand how important their understanding and support is for the person struggling with any kind of mental health issue.

Please understand that having depression and anxiety is normal. It’s a part of being human. Nobody asks for it yet it’s still there. It can get annoying for the family but believe you me, a little love, understanding, support, and kindness does so much that no one can imagine.

To those who struggle with any kind of mental illness, you’re doing great. Hang in there Champ! I know how hard it is but you’ve made it so far, you can go a long way too. I know you must wonder why it happened to you? See the brighter side that you still have your humanity intact. It’s okay to break. You’ll be fine. Just keep going on.

To those who haven’t gone to a professional, its okay. I know how difficult it is to even think about going to one let alone actually going to one. If you cannot bring yourself to go on your own, try confiding in a close friend or a loved one who understands and then maybe with their help go to a professional. Trust me its important for you.

Now I’ll share a few things that I have learned and that have helped me for the past 3 years that I have been fighting depression:

  • Don’t push people away. (A) They aren’t the ones causing you the pain and anger you feel. (B) They just don’t understand. (C) You just can’t shut everyone out. (D) Just because someone doesn’t understand, you can’t just rub it on their faces that they don’t. It’s rude and impolite. (E) You need someone to help you out some time. So do not shut people out.
  • If you need to let out the pain, anger or whatever inside is hurting you, let it out in a way that doesn’t harm anyone especially you.
  • If you need someone to talk to make sure they ‘listen’ and not just pretend to hear what you said. Find someone who cares about you. Trust me there are a lot of people out there who genuinely care about you and want to be there for you in real.
  • Never try to compare anyone’s life or any situation with yours. (A) You may not know their end of the story let alone their reasons behind the decisions they make. (B) It just won’t help you in any way.
  • Do what keeps you calm. For me, it’s reading and painting. It helps me to feel relaxed.
  • It’s totally OKAY to cry. You are a human being and crying in no way means you are weak. So, let it out. Cry to your heart’s desire.
  • Dance if you feel like. It helps to release the tension.
  • Let the negative energy out. But when you make sure you turn the negative energies into positive energies before letting them out. And no, it won’t leave negative energies inside. It’s easy. I learned it from one of my bosses.
  • There are apps with calm music and sounds. Download them on your phones. Meditate while listening to them.
  • Travel if you can. Going to new places and meeting new people help diverting the mind.
  • Sometimes working out helps too.
  • Wear bright colored clothes or a bright lipstick. Red is my personal favorite and black is a happy color. Just saying.
  • Watch ted-talks or some mindful videos.
  • Spend time in nature.
  • Get a pet. I adopted kittens and they became the center of my universe. They helped a lot with my depression

I think that’s enough for now. Ending my letter with, please don’t take mental health lightly. It’s just as important as your physical health. Remember, your brain controls your entire body. If one can’t see mental illness it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. It is not a joke. It is not something to be taken light-heartedly. Educate yourself, acknowledge its existence and help yourself and others around you.

Sincerely,

A girl fighting depression