Let’s Talk About And Acknowledge Mental Health

by | Sep 9, 2023

“Why are you always sleeping, Kiran*
Wake up, be energetic 
Put your phone down 
And face the day pleasantly"

“I feel low lately
I don't know why, and
what’s going on exactly
It's depressing maa”

“What depression are you talking about…? These are fancy words used by this generation just to escape the chores, work burden, and other responsibilities”
“Let it be maa”, the conversation ended with a mumbling smile that held a million words.

That’s Kiran and her mother in a conversation.

Mental health
Grilled behind one’s own mental space

Diving Into Kiran’s Mental Health

I am trying to ensure if I am not using depression as an excuse to escape the responsibilities on my shoulders.
But my mind refuses to believe it, as I feel it’s much more intense than that.

Adolescence was one of the times when I experienced disorientation and discovery added by introspection. I was confused back then because of the hormonal, and psychological changes. But right now after a decade, everything has settled down. Still, why do I carry the sense of disorientation? Why do I feel like this? Is my body trying to suffocate me? Why is there immense tension around me when everything seems to be perfectly fine?

Inability to Numbness

Sometimes there is a feeling in the gut that goes towards my earlobe. As I wake up in the morning, I find my hands and legs shake uncontrollably. Some sort of large magnet holds me back in my bed. The simplest tasks that I have handled earlier seem like mountains to climb now.

I’m struggling to find a reason why such a thing occurs within me. Sometimes I just want to roll into the fetal position and cry. But that too becomes impossible because I am not able to emote. Just feeling numb on one side, and then there is an impulsive urge to express.

Vulnerability and Withdrawal

It doesn’t mean I don’t have anyone to share things with. There are friends, family members, and colleagues but deep inside it seems like if I expose my vulnerable side, it will look silly to others. The inability to bear their unspoken criticism restricts me most of the times. There is also a firm belief within me that others will not be able to understand the dichotomy of emotions within my mental space. All this holds me back.

Also read: A How-To Guide If You Are Beginning To Understand Mental Health

Emotions like happiness, excitement, surprise, trust, sadness, and anger do not occur naturally, rather they are forcefully emoted according to social circumstances. Mostly, faking emotions is easier so that others can interpret them with respect to my actions. It also helps in making them feel less concerned and bothered by me. It might get worse but I can’t help it. I had started to wear the mask of normalcy to hide depression, and now I have to wear it all the time. Forced smile starts to fall off sometimes. I’m finding it easy to withdraw from friends and family to fill the inner void.

Overthinking And Memory Issues

Procrastination and overthinking have become my friends. Diving into all the possible consequences of every action for a particular event makes me feel exhausted. But the reality always hits differently by giving a slap across my egoistic face. Accompanied by isolation and numbness, there is one more thing that gives heart pounding as well as a gut hammering experience which makes me respond to situations with fear and dread – ‘Anxiety’. From the inability to concentrate in the daily routine to having a considerable effect on the work performance triggers the anxiety more.

Walking without the momentum
Barely making a conversation
When millions of words overload the head
Hunger and thirst are just eclipses by now
Why should I sink deeper every day
Standing amidst a crowd of people
Yet, could feel the stark outline burn within
Mourning in the corner of a dark debris
So that the light can’t interpret.
When the metaphor of life tears me apart
The significance of holding onto the purpose
Anchors the weight that I carry.

– Kiran

This destructive cycle completes when the symptoms cater to the illness. That’s when the stage surpasses from mild to severe depression.

Mental health
Whirlpool of emotions hidden in the darkest chamber of mind

Disturbing Thoughts During This Phase

Here are some thoughts Kiran shared, that we fail to notice in plain sight. These may vary from person to person, along with their degree depending on socio-cultural/contextual settings.

  • A wave of worthlessness hits the core of oneself constantly
  • Feeling useless by loss of self-esteem
  • Feeling like a burden to everyone, hence comes self-destruction and guilt
  • Nothing excites anymore, inability to feel joy/sorrow because of numbness
  • Poor concentration adds to memory problems and gives rise to lower productivity
  • Being tired/exhausted every time
  • Oversleeping to escape the day but sleep deprival at night
  • Little or no appetite
  • Missing old self where the mind and body system worked well in the past

A Safe Space To Share

Nowadays there is an increased awareness about seeking help for mental well-being and several campaigns are being conducted to end mental stigmas. The tools and solutions have also become relatively more accessible if one is willing to seek them. But when suffering is mental, seeking help is not an easy thing to do. Sometimes, the people around need to be sensitised and they have to be mindful about understanding these issues. It is helpful if they are willing to extend their arms to show that one won’t have to go through an isolated struggle. Providing a non-judgemental space for them to express, helps a lot.

Taking Steps to Align

Aligning oneself is the first and most crucial step towards getting over the depression struggle. Some need assistance to do so. Others can do it themselves. It’s like revival and restoration of one’s senses and abilities by understanding the pattern of one’s system. It can include:

  • Initiating talks with that one person who they are comfortable with, and slowly progressing to have constant sessions of quality time can have a positive effect
  • Providing quality sleep to the body in accordance with the natural sleep clock
  • Journaling or doodling is a way of expressing stagnant thoughts in a written/visual manner. Developing it consistently relieves some of the mental tension.
  • Diet and exercise. Taking care of the body will result in a positive impact on mind. Making care and growth a part of life at every stage. Intake of nutritious food and ensuring equivalent physical activity directly relates to healthy hormonal secretion.
  • Being close to nature serves as eco-therapy. It reassures one’s connectedness with the natural setting. It also generates positive emotions like joy, calmness, creativity, and peace.
Mental health
Daily journalling by listing things help declutter a wave of thoughts

Acknowledgement Before Improvement

India has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35. It’s important to acknowledge that ignoring these kinds of mental health issues has ripple effect on the overall well-being, education, workspace, and other public spheres. A few months into working in the development sector as a part of India Fellow made me realize that health is a common link that connects all.

Of course, every generation has a unique lifestyle. With the difference in socio-economic status also, some people don’t worry about their mental health because financial and physical health takes precedence in the order of priorities. But with the adaptation of technology, surviving in this highly competitive world, trying to keep up with the everyday changes takes a toll on the mental health of almost everyone. Acknowledging it instead of ignoring it is the first step.

*Fictional name used to maintain confidentiality


  1. One in seven Indians between 15-24 years of age feels depressed, lacks interest in doing things, shows Unicef report
  2. What is depression?
  3. Rise of depression amongst young adults in India

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1 Comment

  1. Vikram Kandukuri

    let’s talk!


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