The last two years have been anything but normal for all of us or for our mental health. While we struggle to make peace with the new normal, what has certainly changed drastically is the way we define things. The way we look and approach routine activities and tasks. How we carry out our routines tasks and evaluate their importance. Suddenly we were told about what is essential and what is not. What earlier seemed like a must-have was harshly eliminated from our lives.
House helps, street-side vendors, small businesses, restaurant owners as well as gym trainers had a rather tough time proving their importance. They had to fight a battle to prove how they were indeed essential. Our world turned upside down but the highlight of all the chaos was Health.
We all started stocking up on sanitizers, hand-washes, vitamin supplements, citrus fruits and were trying ingenious ways to increase their immunity. While cleanliness and good diet did increase our physical immunity, we couldn’t do much to increase our mental bandwidth. Burnouts, meltdowns and lockdown fatigue started paying frequent visits which made us realize about another essential activity that needed
immediate attention. Mental well-being!
We had a rather tough time admitting that quite often mental health isn’t given top-most priority. We are still struggling to come to terms with therapy being an essential. It is strange how we show absolutely no reluctance to visit the doctor but a visit to the therapist makes us question everything around. Is it needed? Will it help? What if it leaves me feeling more miserable?
When we fall ill, we visit the doctor. We are advised to rest and recover. Our body signals us to take it easy. We take medicines and follow all instructions. The same unfortunately is not the case with mental illnesses. If one feels overwhelmed, pressurized, mentally drained or scared they are not taught to seek help. We fail to see how our mind and body are connected. Why and how often we need therapy is very simple to answer. As frequently as one is recommended to get the physical examination done. A periodic full body checkup of the body is often advised to be reassured we are doing fine. A periodic checkup of the mind is equally essential. Pain irrespective of its source; be it in the muscle or the mind needs to be treated. Negligence towards physical or mental health will only cause damage and one must take action before it’s too late.
Mental health needs to be given as much importance as physical health if not more. In fact, a lot of Mental issues could be key contributors to a deteriorating physical health. There is a definite co-relation between physical and mental wellbeing. A physically ill person needs mental aid along with prescribed medicines to get well soon. From intense head ache, nausea, increased heartbeat, to being the key contributing factors of many communicable and non-communicable diseases mental disorders can cause a havoc in the body. One might get excessively stress and fatigued if proper care at the proper time is not provided.
We need to consciously show up for both our body and our mind. We need to give it the surroundings it deserves. If emotions are left unprocessed for prolonged time, it starts reflecting on our body as well as the face. Likewise, a calm mind and body also gives visible signs. We often find ourselves complimenting others using statements like,
“Your face glows”
“You don’t look your age!”
“How are you so fit and active despite your hectic schedule!?”
“Have you been following a different diet?”
The reason people glow is because they take care of their health inside out. They nurture their body and while it clearly shows on the exterior, it is the interior that is free of toxicity. It is the happiness and sense of contentment that shows on the face and body. Sound sleep, good gut, healthy heart, are a few things we all need as well as deserve. Bottled feelings lead to absence of either or all of them. When we are diagnosed with certain deficiencies, the doctor prescribes us with supplements and multivitamins. In the similar vein if we are deprived of a healthy state of mind we need to take the effort to include activities that will help it go back to being calm.
We all desperately need a space free of judgements and advices. Therapy gives us that space. It allows us to vent. As often as one would like to. Therapy helps us align with our body and makes us more self-aware. Aware about your emotions, feelings, triggers as well as coping mechanisms. It allows us to heal. And healing does not come with a target or a deadline. It is a journey. A journey filled with uncertainties, hurdles and pleasant instances. Therapy helps you embrace your journey. Therapy is certainly an essential.
But what about the money? Therapy is expensive one would argue. One also can’t deny the fact that it might also be inaccessible to many. Finding a good therapist who one can trust and be comfortable with could be another challenge. And therefore, it needs to be a well thought-through decision. Investing in one’s health should be given enough time. One must research well before making any sort of investment. It will and must take time to come to terms with what, when, how should you take therapy.
Whether you are ready to invest? It is only wise to take everything slowly, one day at a time and not let overthinking get the better out of us.
One can also find reliable organizations and community spaces that offer therapy at nominal costs. One can donate whatever they can. There are a lot of options to choose from and one can always evaluate what works best for them and also fits their budget. Therapy shouldn’t be considered as an ‘occasional activity’ meant to be taken up only when things are beyond repair. The objective of NGOs and entities creating awareness and organizing free consults is to help us understand it is easily accessible and affordable. You do not need a special reason to go for therapy. Your mind will give you signals. Listen to them and go for therapy.