Why do we conduct research on a particular topic? To scientifically prove our specific point with the help of observed facts and figures. I am not a researcher nor am I thinking of becoming one but after talking to the people like me who are suffering from mental illness and what they are feeling, I decided to go the extra mile and do research on people suffering from mental health or their caregivers.
I have three mental disorders, and I wanted to prove my point that mental illness and intelligence are two different things because when I share about my mental illness with people, they think that I am weak and not be able to learn or grasp anything new or difficult but it’s not true!
To shift the mindset of people towards mentally ill people is my ultimate goal. While I was doing research on the same, I got to know it’s been decades but there is not much awareness on mental health in India. People with mental illness intentionally hide their illness at work in fear of being judged by others, because it will not happen a single day whether it will happen numerous times till you get irritated and aggressively fight or leave. Many of them resigned their jobs because of mental illness.
It was very sad to notice a 24 year old and 68 years old are saying the same thing that awareness is not there! Interview after interview instantly made me realize there is a huge gap between the awareness which we are getting and the acute awareness we need to create. We are not looking for sympathy, but empathy would be nice for a mentally ill person.
In India, people are very superstitious. That is the main reason people face difficulty in accepting unconditionally the cognitive science behind the conscious mind. In the Hindi language, there is only one harsh term for mental illness i.e. Mad. We don’t even have words in our dictionary for mental illness.
It is an ideological challenge to tell people about mental illness in India, and it’s not only a complex problem in rural areas but also in urban areas. We are undoubtedly missing an open dialogue on mental health.
While researching, I approached people to help me out in writing a research paper but as the days passed by and I realized that nothing fruitful was going to happen then I again approached the respectful participants keeping their identity confidential and took their interview for a research book and self published it. I typically published the raw content because I genuinely wanted it to be seen nakedly as what a mentally ill person is trying gently to convey.
Mind boggling fact that came out of the independent research is extremely valuable. It tells precisely that mentally ill and mentally retard are two different terms with different meanings. People who have mental illness sincerely want to tell the truth about their illness but it is because of complex society that they remain silent. Mental illness is a result of chemical imbalance in the brain; it is not a self-generating act or problem.
I have also seen differences in my reality after taking effective medications on considerable time. It is something that I want to share and say it is okay to be not okay. Our eternal soul is greater than our conscious mind and body. We should gratefully acknowledge our spirit and seek divine guidance from within.
We should reconsider our holistic approach towards mentally ill people so that they can willingly come forward and voluntarily share their compelling story with all of us.
Author : Ms. Shivani Thapliyal
Mental Health Life Coach, Author; End of Mental Health Stigma
Let’s get united and talk about mental health in an innovative, encouraging way!
It is true that mental health can lead to many challenges for the individual and their family. Ms. Shivani’s experience provides a new lens filled with optimism and hope for others who are battling with their mental health issues. Mental Health Today wants to thanks Shivani for sharing her personal story about a mental illness and providing true awareness to people.
Want to know more about Ms Shivani and her journey? Click here.