–Tanvi Jajoria, Counseling Psychologist, BetterLYF Wellness
It’s 100 degrees out there, and you’re craving your favourite ice cream. Wait, imagine you’re holding that ice cream in your hand, in this scorching heat, but here’s an important catch, YOU CAN’T EAT IT UNTIL YOU FINISH READING THIS ARTICLE. Sorry, we don’t make rules for ourselves, or do we?
“Mental health is very important, mental health should be prioritized, mental health is health and should not be neglected.” By now you must have heard such statements an endless number of times, and now they’re just trending quotes to be printed on t-shirts and cute mugs. Certainly, not!
“Now that I know that my mental health matters, what do I do about it? My parents still think it’s only because of my phone and my boss gave us some very useful tips to increase my productivity, for my mental health.” We get you, it’s not easy. In a collectivistic culture like that is seen in India, being aware on an individual level is not sufficient and does give rise to a lot of roadblocks as well.
That reminds me, how’s the ice cream doing? Take care of it!
Talking about roadblocks, let’s look at some of the most common challenges that we face when it comes to working towards our mental health – lack of support from friends and family, financial constraints, societal pressure and barriers, lack of accessibility to good services and so on. Now even if someone has all of this with them, they can still face a crucial challenge here – their own resistance to seeking help.
“Things are not that bad for me that I pay someone to just talk about it, it’s not like I have depression” Until and unless it gets worse and out of our own control, we don’t wish to seek professional help.
Why do we wait for things to get worse in order to seek help? Think about it, but don’t eat that ice cream yet. We have been taught since childhood that some problems are not big enough like others, that there are people facing even worse situations, and that if you are not able to deal with these seemingly small issues how will you manage the ‘bigger’ challenges in life, that if I ask for help for such ‘petty’ issues people will think I am weak.
If any of this sounds familiar to you, hang in there, you are not alone. Every other person that you have ever met in your life has at some point felt that their issue is not big enough and hence, should not reach out for help. And in that process, all of us just wait and wait for that right time, until our emotional baggage becomes too heavy to carry and then we feel it’s of no use, “This ‘mess’ that I am in cannot be resolved.”
By the way, how’s the ice cream doing in your hand? Is it messy enough already?
You must be thinking you should have eaten it the moment you got it, you know how these sweet little things work, right? Why did you wait?
Because we decided, “I’ll eat it when I finish reading this article.” But what if you get an important call after this? You’ll wait again? I hope that’s not a ‘quick work call’. And who knows what comes next? This was certainly not a good decision. Then why do we put off things that we know matter to us, and still wait for them to get all ‘messy’ enough? We know we need to prioritize our mental health but still keep it towards the end of our priority list.
But how does seeking help before this meltdown help?
- When you’re in the initial stages of facing some mental health challenges, it’s relatively easier for you to understand your concerns well and develop healthier coping mechanisms.
- You learn about your triggers and responses to various situations when they are not that complicated for you.
- You actually get to learn how to deal with bigger challenges in life as and when they come, just what our parents wanted us to be prepared for.
This doesn’t mean if you are facing mental health challenges that are too intense, you can’t benefit from seeking help. But this is for the people who are conditioned to downplay their concerns because of societal pressure and/or their own personal inhibitions and judgements about their mental health concerns.
Oh, and that ice cream is not edible now we suppose, but we can still fix it. Let’s not wait till our meltdown and make the process of healing harder for ourselves. You are not weak when you seek help because it takes a lot of strength to do that, no matter how small the problems may seem.
Seeking in-person or online therapy, joining support groups and interacting with people with similar concerns and educating yourself more about the available resources from credible sources are a few ways in which you can take care of yourself and prevent yourself from melting down when you can clearly benefit more from working on your mental health concerns as early as possible.
“Justice delayed is justice denied”. Do justice to yourself by giving yourself the care that you need.
Also, Read – How to Find a Therapist Near You?
Difference Between A Therapist And A Psychologist
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