Shame traps us in a dangerous vicious circle. Because of shame, we desperately try to please others to prove to ourselves that we are worthy. But shame is smart. It makes us feel ashamed of seeking validation from others. So, we desperately seek validation because of shame and then feel ashamed for seeking validation!
Scientists, dietitians, and doctors are also influenced by patriarchal culture.They are not Gods. They are subjective human beings who are conditioned by the society. A good example of this is the way some doctors fat-shame their patients.
Motivational quotes have their purpose but the problem is with people who use them to shame others/trivialize others’ problems. These people reduce success and courage to will power/motivation, which is pretty simplistic. They don’t take it account privilege, genes, environment, upbringing etc..which all play a role in determining a person’s destiny. No, you cannot snap out of depression by reading a motivational book. It is a complex issue and reducing it to lack of will power is insensitive.
Note: This post is based on my personal experiences and I could be wrong.
If you are feeling suicidal, I would suggest you go to a Psychiatrist. Medicines are sometimes important for our mental health, so please don’t think twice about this. Psychologists/Counselors/Therapists don’t have the authority to prescribe medicines.
If you are someone who wants to work on your issues in detail, then I would suggest you to visit a counselor/therapist. Psychiatrists are not trained in counseling.
If your issues are complex and you want a long-term solution, then I would suggest you to visit a Psychiatrist AND a Psychologist. These days, there are clinics which have a psychiatrist and a psychologist/counselor/therapist.
If you don’t sense an immediate danger to your mental health and yet, you have issues, then first visit a Counselor/Therapist. He/She will direct you to a Psychologist/Psychiatrist if needed.
Psychologist, Therapist and Counselor seem similar but there are distinctions. Please google and read up on their roles.
Be careful while choosing mental health professionals. Like every other profession, there are people who won’t give a fuck about you. Stop going to such people. Use your intuition and rationality to determine whether a mental health professional is empathetic.Remember that at the end of the day, they are human beings, not magicians.
Not everybody can afford to go to a mental health professional. If you don’t have the money, then please consult a NGO. There are NGOs which offer free counseling. There are suicide helplines too.
Do not hesitate to seek help. Don’t care about society’s perception of mental health professionals.
Your counselor/therapist is not your friend.He/She is a professional who is there to help you. He/She is not a magician. He/She cannot ‘transform’ your life overnight. He/She doesn’t have all the answers. His/her word is not the last word. He/She is a human being with flaws and limitations. It takes effort from both parties to build a healthy relationship and like any relationship, it requires time, patience, understanding and adjustments. Be practical and set realistic goals with your therapist/counselor. Not all counselors are empathetic, though. There are some insensitive therapists who invalidate your feelings.
Yes, you read that right! I suffer from social anxiety disorder but that’s not the focus of this post (I will write about it in detail in future). The whole point of this post is: Why are we ashamed of talking about mental health? We don’t feel this kind of shame when it comes to physical health but there is something about mental health which makes us talk in hushed tones. I hope someone reads this post and decides to talk about his/her mental health issues.
Shameful things are so embarrassing that even thinking about them makes us feel ashamed. So we push all the shameful things to the corner of our mind. These accumulated things affect our self esteem and make us feel less confident. One way of dealing with shame is writing down the embarrassing things. Thoughts move at the speed of light but when we write, we instruct our brain to find the right words and this makes us feel in control. By expressing our shame through language we are making it a little “normal” ( as language is a socially acceptable thing).
Medication prescribed by Psychiatrists has been criticized by many. People believe that medicines only treat the symptoms and not the root cause of the mental disorders. This argument is valid but we can look at medication in a different way. If you have opted for the psychiatric path to get better, then you can find long term solutions while you are taking medicines for the short term. If you are under medication for anxiety then you could slowly challenge yourself by putting yourself in situations out of your comfort zone (the medicines might make you feel less anxious). By the time you are off the meds, you might gain enough confidence to challenge your anxiety. This might not work for everyone but for those who don’t like counseling or therapy, psychiatry could be the best option. Ideally, people with chronic mental illness should opt for a combination of psychology and psychiatry (my personal opinion) but if you are confident, then you can choose one of them.
Some posts on this blog are about mental illness and in many places, there are suggestions. A lot of these posts are about anxiety and depression and I write about them because I have personally experienced them. Each human being experiences mental illness differently so I apologize if any of my posts are insensitive or patronizing. What works for me may not work for others as my experiences are not always universal. I have grown up in a culture which shames mentally ill people so I still have unconscious prejudices. If you are suffering from mental illness and feel that I’m wrong about something then please correct me. Thank you.
1. Write down your thoughts