A Scarlet Letter of Shame!

(You can never function fully if your mental health is suffering at any given point or level)

Today, I am about to deliver controversial rhetoric, that I feel needs to be sternly addressed as a subject. We live in a society where individuals zealously embrace the freedom of expression as a means of channeling out whatever reassures them. What is even more ironic is that almost every second person in Pakistan is a doctor, a self-proclaimed alienist in particular.

*In crux, screw a professional degree for it.*

To be clinically relevant, a mental health issue/ disorder is associated with alterations in one’s mood swings, behavioral patterns, and impaired functioning. Though every society sees and judges human behavior through different lenses, there are still uncanny resemblances to the word “Mental Health.”

Nestled in an enigma impregnated with infinite layers of taboos and belonging to an era of utter arrogance, where one blatantly slaps varying levels of sanity on individuals− it’s somewhat arduous to devise a definition shared by all.

Due to the lack of emphasis on the existence of a fine line between what it means to be “different” and what it means to be “sick,” the silent plague has engulfed us all. Indeed,

*Ignorance is sure as hell bliss*

Countless cases flash, from self-immolation by a woman over getting rejected for marriage, to a suicide committed by a senior police officer, or even a student taking his own life by poison for being an A-grader but not an A-starrer. Additionally, a father hanging himself for being unemployed, a gender minority being self-destructive by overdosing on pills, a boy slitting his wrists after a breakup, and a girl jumping off from the roof as a result of fat/slut- shaming through cyberbullying all shows that vulnerability cuts through all social status cohorts; including in Pakistan.

Contrarily, the global exponential rise in suicide rates, the Pakistani nation still lacks the acumen regarding statistics outlining such trends. According to one estimate, there have been more than 20,000 suicide cases reported; however, the number is surely an underestimate. The irony lies in the fact that, while the picture is pretty clear regarding “Mental Health” will be the leading cause of deaths by 2030, the number of unreported cases is way more than those quoted in the official statistics. Unfortunately, families of the deceased cover up the act by either not addressing this issue or reporting them as “Accidental Deaths.”

Unfortunately, the ones who are suffering and have not yet inclined towards suicide are ignored big time.

On a very somber note,

Where are we standing? What are we even doing?

Countless questions, limited answers!

The truth…

The society, especially the Pakistani society as a whole still turns a blind eye to the plea of the psychologically crippled corner of the world. Ironically, the Pakistani nation has a staunch belief as this being due to Western/Jewish/Hindu indoctrination, a form of seeking attention, learning English, black magic, or even extra co-curricular activities like parliamentary debates and MUNs, etc. What’s even more tragic is the failure to realize that the cure does not lie in drinking a mere glass of holy water, getting close to the family by obeying elders, praying, reducing time on luxuries and gadgets, or even going to priests or shrines for an exorcism.

Apart from society, Mass Media also tends to stigmatize this issue. The phrase “Health is Wealth” sadly is only limited to physical health. The country’s psychological health care system is lamentably deficient to the extent that patients are termed as “Pagal/Mad.” and sent to “Pagal Khanay” facilities only when the court (mostly) issues orders. Their life becomes a much living hell rather.

Due to lack of facilities or any sort of aid, this seems like entering a black hole. The miserable species nowadays solely rely on reading articles off the internet and self-diagnosing their issues, failing to realize there are abundant mental health disorders, and thus being oblivious to what exactly is wrong with them en up going into deeper levels of the miserable whirlpool! Another dilemma arrives when resorting towards alcohol or substance abuse, seeking satisfaction through chaining to pornography and sexual activity, targeting weaker individuals to flush out toxins, and self-harm as the only escape from the limbo.

Read: https://medlineplus.gov/mentaldisorders.html

The abusive mode of battling mental health leads to depression which tends to trigger individuals to think, and eventually take their own lives. And we fail to realize that this is even crippling the progress of the entire nation!

If one is mentally disturbed, they can never function fully in any walk of life; both personally and professionally.

Strict actions need to be taken immediately to counter this battle. We need to first detach ourselves from the medieval and fallacious system spawning the existence of Pakistan to sink like the titanic. Dependency on the government organizations needs to minimize because individual steps matter above all. Acceptance towards this bitter reality and showing a severe concern, and compassion to the ordinary citizens by communicating is an individual step costing nothing. Communication is the key to everything, and you might motivate anyone seeming to be “okay” to open up and address their pain. As far as the psychiatric and health system goes, collaboration needs to be done with philanthropic organizations, the government, and international aid.

Being a victim of mental health abuse, I too gave up. My mental state cracked to the verge of beyond the imaginable. Life inevitably means to keep pushing forward, but to understand the meaning and purpose of one’s life; you need to look backward! When I reflect on my past, I now understand what life threw my way and why it did so!

I want to start by taking the initiative in addressing and doing what I can until the circumference of my circle expands. The day mental health concerns are treated with an equal alarm as physical concerns, Pakistan will progress towards the future.

“A healthy brain never compensates for a health state of mind!

I am currently doing a Career-Prep Fellowship at Amal Academy, and it is helping me in a million ways by projecting me towards the purpose of my life. Though it has only been two weeks, I owe so much gratitude to it and my project managers Ms. Naveera and Ms. Rubia, for being there at every step of the journey. I thank my family, especially my mother, for always supporting me through every thick and thin! Love you, Maa. And I want to thank my best friend Cookie for being there when no one was 🖤 One of the learning activities/tasks was to write a letter of gratification to thank someone for helping you in life.

On the contrary, I have an alternative view and dedicate a message to “Life” itself. I want to thank the primary source or process of pushing me to experience all the ventures. The reason being, the list of people to thank is endless, and those in my proximity always seem to get a treat off and on. If I ever intend to appreciate anything, it is life itself!

“The humanity we all share is more important than the mental illnesses we may not” ― Elyn R. Saks

The first initiative taken is this post, stay tuned for more magic to translate pain into power. I will be writing regularly, especially regarding Mental Health Issues! Ciao.

A letter to Zindagi. Zindagi is the Urdu word for life.
All the elements of my life summed up in one frame. A pro-caffeinating bibliophage being with minimalist bonds.

Please read the content of the letter below:

“Dear Zindagi,

I feel like a vegetable caught up in her headspace. I cannot manage to fathom at times whether to grieve the monochromatic auras you engulf me in or relish the apricity I see that sets my soul on fire. Irrespective of everything, we surely have an uncanny resemblance to our respective courses. You pull my strings, and I push against the odds. You dragged me to hell a million times, muted my expressions, and made my existence bleed.

However, today I’m officially deciding not to curse you anymore.  Instead I pay my gratitude for all that you gave me. In the dark hours where the pandemic plagues mankind, a realization sparked and made things clear. You wanted me to sacrifice; I am making a slight compromise. I have officially decided to accept whatever you throw at me as a token of love and care. For you see, I misunderstood you for twenty-five years. The challenges you made me go through were golden opportunities you blessed me with, just to see me conquer, flourish, and grow!

Hey! You can’t destroy energy but you can surely change it from one form to another. So I am going to flux the toxic emissions into a positive ramification of breathable air.

I want to thank you for throwing constant obstacles my way and making me bleed until I developed nerves of steel. I want to shower my love upon you for giving me the toughest path and time. Thank you for throwing me into the whirlpool of mental health issues, only to see me become a survivor and a WARRIOR! Well, guess what I’m going to build an empire from all the bricks you threw my way. Not just for my own self, but for humanity at large, one day!

Amongst the unfolding of your curtains, the plethora of illusions, hard choices, endless slaps of socially constructed labels, and existential crises…..

I can only say that somewhere between the radical points of black and white, you gave me the identity of that arch of the prismatic spectrum of people and experiences encountered. I hope you will continue giving me endless surprises as now you won’t see me surrender, but bloom! Shukariya 🙂

Yours Sincerely,

Someone more and less than I

Someone who will top all your exams!” ✔️

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