Princess Leia - Came over her fear of loneliness and learnt to love herself

Goodbye Stigma, Hello Mental Well-Being

Princess Leia - Zoya Khan
September 11, 2021

Do you think sharing your true feelings makes you weak? Do you think therapy is only for the mentally ill? Do you know what therapy is?
There is a dire need for mental health awareness and destigmatisation in India. Development in the mental health space is particularly slow in our country, in spite of the fact that it is one of the most ' depressing countries' in the world. Depressed or not, EVERY human needs to take care of their mental health just as much as their physical health.

Aapke haath mein dard ho toh aapko attention and care milti hai lekin agar aap sad ya anxious ho toh log usse utna seriously nahi lete.

I am sharing this from personal experience and I know you will relate. I’ve never assertively said this: ‘Hey, my mind feels sick today so I need a break’. I’m often hesitant or even ashamed to speak about my mental health to not just my colleagues but my own loved ones because there’s so much stigma surrounding it. This stigma is not just surprising, it’s wrong. It's okay to be sad, anxious, paranoid, angry...why are these emotions looked down upon? They're only natural and universal. The more we hide the fact that we don't feel these emotions strongly, the more our mental and even physical well-being is at risk.

I would never ignore a physical ailment, for example, an ear infection, and say, ‘Oh, this can be dealt with when it gets worse’. I tackle it immediately. Same rules apply to mental health but I didn't know this until recently because no one even mentioned it around me, including the media, society, or even my own family. If I'm sad, I need to talk about it and not just ignore it until it becomes a gaping issue. Speaking about my mental health should be just as big a norm as brushing my teeth. It shouldn't be made a priority only when things hit the roof and I get a panic attack.

Jab hum balloon mein extra hawa bharte hain toh woh phoot jata hai. Issi tarah, ek insaan jab extra emotions se bhar jaaye toh uska mental breakdown hota hi hai.

Just like me, you might have been clueless about how to deal with your emotions, especially the dark ones which are almost never discussed at the dinner table, in the office, during a date, on a holiday - even though emotions creep up at any time, they don't care what you're up to - they can arrive in the most unlikely situations.

So how do I be proactive about my mental well-being?

Well, here are a few things I did for starters:

  1. Breathe consciously.
    Sometimes it all starts with your breath. Pranayama is a great start to everyone's day. It centers you and once it's a part of your routine, you'll breathe more consciously and wholeheartedly.
  2. Pay attention to your emotions.
    Very often, we are so unaware of our feelings that we don't have any tools to cope with stressful situations. Becoming aware of our positive and negative triggers can help us increase and reduce them respectively. It gets easier to feel better when we know what's coming in the way.
  3. Connect with people.
    More often than not, we truly connect with people over our problems rather than achievements. It's a natural way to relate to each other, release tension and form real long-lasting bonds. So form a good tight-knit network of friends who are empathetic and understanding. They don't need to be plenty, just a few but close friends who are there for you even on the difficult days, and vice versa.
  4. Talk it out with anonymous peers.
    When speaking to our close friends or family seems difficult and too frequent, we can opt to speak to eager peers 24x7 on a new app that's all about mental health - Jumping Minds. It's a free and secure digital space where data and technology finally meet empathy and community.

Why Jumping Minds?

If all else fails and/or you need more support than you're currently receiving, you can log into our app that's created solely to make you feel better. It's an intelligent, innovative toolkit for your efforts of self-care. With a few taps on the phone, you’ve got yourself a digital safe space for all things mental. Best part? You can stay anonymous. Through smart matching, you can talk to quality peers who are eager to help you. You can also relax in a digital corner that’s made of all things peaceful and stress-free just for you. We even have your virtual intelligent pet Snuggles who, for a change, can speak just like you. :)

I hope you're feeling lighter knowing that it's okay to not be okay. It’s that simple. Let's not be a generation that pretends, we must be a generation that leads with a voice of empathy, inclusivity, and openness. Let's create a safe space for ourselves and everyone around us. How? By eradicating the stigma, and in fact, reversing it. From now on, there should a stigma around NOT discussing mental health.

Feelings hi toh hain yaar, sabko hoti hain.

So remember to follow the simple steps mentioned above: Breathwork, awareness of emotions, and connection. And whenever you feel like it, sign in to Jumping Minds. Take charge of your mental health today, just like I did. I am here and I am vouching for you. :)

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