Mental health is the elephant in the room that people love to ignore. Before I got diagnosed with anxiety at the age of 18, I had never had a conversation about it with my parents. Talking about mental health seemed futile until it became an active part of my life, and then it seemed too late. After a year of suffering from anorexia and anxiety, I couldn’t quite figure out how to talk about my mental health with my parents, without seeming weak.
It wasn’t until I had a panic attack in front of them did they fully understand the extent of my situation. It wasn’t on them though, how were they to know when I tried my best to hide it? And then they stopped at nothing, to try and get me the right help, therapy and medication I needed. Five years later, I am living by myself and dealing with the remains of my illness effectively. Which is why I believe it is extremely important to talk about your illness with your parents. But before we step into the process, here is everything you need to know about mental health.
A person’s psychological, social and emotional well-being is referred to as mental health. Anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders and personality disorders are some of the most common mental illnesses. Mental health disorders make everyday activities difficult and often result is isolation from everyone around you. So it is important to address your mental health and talk about it with the people closest to you.
Your mental health is as important as your physical health. Just like you take tactical steps to remain physically healthy by exercising or walking every evening, you should make a conscious effort to stay mentally healthy as well. You should always take time out for yourself and analyse your emotions. Being in touch with your mental well-being will benefit you in the long run. However, if you are struggling with your mental health, do not be afraid to talk about it, with your parents or your close friends.
Here are a few ways to talk about mental health for which you can start the conversation with your parents.
According to the World Health Organisation, 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. So you have nothing to be afraid of, it may be a taboo because of the lack of awareness, but that shouldn’t make you afraid of asking for help. Depression and anxiety are the most common mental illnesses, it is not your fault and it is important that you understand that. Asking for help from your close ones doesn’t make you weak, instead, it makes you stronger because you are ready to accept what is happening in your life and talk about it.
Again, if you accept who you are and what is bothering you, the process of talking to your parents gets easier. Shame and questioning your self-worth is a symptom of anxiety and depression that most victims suffer from. It is not a part of your personality, don’t let it define you.
Stepping outdoors and going for a walk has a calming effect on your emotions. So it is a good idea to take a breather and sit in the midst of nature before you talk to your parents.
The aim of this conversation is to get it out in the open and look for a solution together. But in the process, don’t make it about blaming your parents for your depression. Teenagers often don’t discuss with their parents because they are afraid they might hurt their feelings. This doesn’t need to be the case, make it clear that you are not saying how you feel to hurt them. You’re simply sharing what you have been going through.
It can be a little daunting to discuss this for the first time with your parents all alone. If you are already going for therapy or seeing a counsellor at school, you can ask your parents to join you during the session. This way, the third person can act as a mediator and get your point across if need be. You can also ask your best friend or partner to help you with moral support.
Do not sugarcoat what you are going through. Be honest about your feelings, how bad the situation is and what the side-effects are like. Keeping your parents in the dark would not help either of you. So be honest with them and yourself, because the end result is to make the situation better for you.
The last step when you have the talk with your parents is to have a plan. Even if the plan is that you are going to take small definite steps to a healthier you. Because if you are willing and proud of the situation, then the road to recovery gets smoother. Be prepared though, because nothing gets better overnight, you will have to find victory in the little things. From sleeping well to eating a healthy meal, these little things will make you stronger.
According to the WHO (World Health Organisation), India is the most depressed country in the world, with the average suicide rate being under the age of 44 years. Many teenagers feel the pressure of exams which leads to anxiety and depression.
If you’re dealing with the same, you can reach the Fortis Exam Helpline at – +918376804102.
If you are just looking for someone to talk to and discuss how you are feeling then you can contact COOJ at 0832-2252525.
However, if you are just looking to calm down in a stressful situation, you can chat with WYSA, an emotionally intelligent bot who helps you manage your stress.
If you are asking this question then it would be a good idea to schedule an appointment with a therapist. If you’re still second-guessing your decision, then here are a few signs that you need to see a therapist.
Once you see a therapist, they will analyse your situation and decide if you should take any medication or not. However, the stigma involved with medication and the pill shaming involved is completely unnecessary. I took pills initially to help me calm down during my panic attacks and it helped me recover. I eventually reduced my dosage and only need an SOS dosage now.
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