Why is it so difficult to talk about my Mental Health?

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“Your destiny is the level where you will play your tune. You might not change your instrument but how well you play is entirely in your hands.”

 Elif Shafak, The Forty Rules of Love: A Novel of Rumi
Dear Readers,
Please find below a very opinion piece sent to us by A in Karachi. Thank you A for this great brave piece of writing. This post is also dedicated in memory of Indian Star Sushant Singh. The article below was written after the tragic news of Sushant Singh Rajput’s death by suicide broke all across the media. Indeed, this sad news has shaken the country and condolences have poured in from across the world. The opinion piece below speaks about mental health issues with men. It is also said that Sushant was suffering from depression and was under treatment. RIP Sushant!

No matter what you achieve, what you want to aspire to be, or how famous and powerful you become, the most important thing is whether you are excited about each and every moment of your life because of your work and the people around you.​

 

 

Author: A, Karachi

 

Edited by:

 

 

 

 

Why is it so difficult to talk about my Mental Health?

 

A few weeks ago I acknowledged that I needed help and I looked into options. Over the weekened I changed my mind and decided to put all my worries about my mental health aside and focus on my future. Easiest thing to do is to pretend you have no issues and everything is OK when it’s not. Today, my mind has changed and biggest contributing factor is the sudden demise of Indian actor Sushant Singh, who commited suicide at his home in India. Though I don’t know him and have never seen his work, his sudden death set the internet on fire. I saw the news and felt so much emotions go through me.

I will be turning 18 soon, but I am not your average teenager. In the last 3 years I’ve exchanged very few words with my family. I’m so quiet that if I deliver a sentence a day to those around me, they’ll go into a state of shock.

A few years back, I stopped talking, after my trust was breached.

I often look at women in my family and around me and I think it’s so easy for them to talk. They talk about their feelings and I see them expressing all their emotions fully, whether sadness, anger, happiness, or jealousy. 

What about us men? What about our feelings and emotions? How often do we hear men express their feelings and display the emotions they go through?

Men in my family only express one or two set of feelings; anger or happiness.

I struggled with anorexia and sometimes still go through the phases of anorexia.

I am an unusual male figure in my family. No one is like me. There are 101 things that I don’t do.

My mother finds me odd. My sisters avoid me and my brothers are baffled by me. My family sees me as a weakling in the male prodigy of family.

I am not weak. I expressed my anger very well when I was young but I was 13 when my feelings changed. I felt all of a sudden suffocated by those around me. All of a sudden small things started to irritate me. It irked me the way women in my family had nothing better to do but waste time and shop and talk and shop more and talk.

Their conversations started to bother me. Next I felt the arrogance of men around me. I started to express my self and well who takes a 13 year old serious?

When I became overly chocked with feelings, I felt eating was not the way. I felt odd calm come my way. I was 15 when my family realised after a psychiatrist who was visiting us said that all of my habits were not normal. She said she never came across a teenager like me.

All of a sudden alarm bells went off. All of a sudden I became a point of interest. I had three sessions with her and I don’t know how she relayed my feelings towards my family to them that all of a sudden environment around me turned hostile.

We need family sessions but no one had time. I was put on medicine to increase my appetite and one of the members of staff was assigned to me for eating. And that’s when I felt intense anger towards them all of a sudden.

I expressed what I felt and the backlash left me baffled. I was labelled as ungrateful, overly critical and chauvinist. That’s when I stopped talking. Three years have passed and I have not exchanged more than two words with people around me. The more they pushed me the more I cut everyone out.

I am not immune to their feelings around me. My mother is the key person who frets over me. I struggle with insomnia and I can go days without food. I was advised not to fast during Ramadan, but I did.

I have a iron will and people around me know that.

My academic performance is good and perhaps this is what has made my family step back from me. I don’t have many friends in my academic circle. Most are obnoxious and lead a lifestyle that I don’t agree with or have no desire to follow. I don’t watch much television, it’s time consuming and I never go to cinema as it bores me. I don’t hang out in local clubs and I avoid social hangouts.

When I decided to look into options of help was because I realised my emotions were not healthy. I am struggling with insomnia and I feel the suffocation around me.

I met a very famous person before the lockdown who prescribed a remedy to me. It helped and I found that my anger locked up inside was subsidisng. I felt strength in his words, but I also knew I am a ticking time bomb, I can explode anytime.

He told me to get help and express each and every emotion that was bothering me. He said, ‘Lighten your load, you’re carrying too much baggage’. 

Over the weekend I changed my mind. I tried to brush everything aside and focus on my new academic year which will begin at a new place in a new environment. I realised that I didn’t want to travel in a new phase of my life with this baggage.

The quranatine time really exposed my mental state to me and those around me. Now eight people around me realised what a problem I was becoming. Quarantine was hard as I felt more emotions, more grief, and more anger towards those around me.

I watched the news flash and heard the non-stop commentary over Sushant’s death around me and I froze. How many times I thought ending my life would stop the mental anguish in my mind? How many times I went through these dark thoughts and I realised how someone like this famous personality who had nearly everything but simply had nothing became a victim of his thoughts in his mind.

I have seeked a psychiatrist and I am ready to deal with what is in my mind. I don’t have a full scale eating disorder. All I know is food is irrelevant for me. I don’t look at food as good or bad but something as a burden. I eat and cannot eat for days. I don’t have favourite food and I don’t have a hate food list.

My eating is linked to my emotions which I was told in my initial assessment.

I hope by reading this someone will go and seek help and realise that it’s not ok to hold things inside. It’s not okay to allow things to build up inside. Allah created us equal and has given both men and women same emotions to experience. If we are not okay with something then we are not okay with it. And to label men as weak if he displays his emotions is just so discriminatory.

I can’t change my family but I can work on myself. I want to go through the next phase of my life at University with a different me. A man less angry and a man with a sound mind. 

 

“Be thankful for every thorn that others might throw at you. It is a sign that you will soon be showered in roses.”

 Elif Shafak, The Forty Rules of Love: A Novel of Rumi
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Islam and Eating Disorders founded in 2012 – run by Maha Khan, the blog creates awareness of Eating Disorders in the Muslim world, offers information and support for sufferers and their loved ones.

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