Everyone’s Favorite
October 14, 2019
Wings Of Freedom
December 2, 2019


  • Normalizing mental health is the need of the time. Lack of awareness and education,the age old myths and stigma related to it are responsible for denying 'The Mind' its well deserved attention and care.
  • A healthy physical state can be rendered useless if the 'Master Mind' is not healthy. To understand this concept of 'The Mind' and mental health we need to understand certain basics.
  • The centre of 'The mind' and our mental health is in the brain. The 3 main functions of the mind are to related to thought, mood/emotions and behaviour.
  • There are specific areas in our brain related to ability

    • to concentrate,
    • To think logicallly,
    • To reason,
    • To conceptualize, to plan and execute, to be motivated
    • to feel emotions and control them
    • to control our behaviours and impulses,
    • to control our sleep , appetite.
  • The human brain is the most complex structure known to mankind. It has trillions of neurons , each neuron communicates with another 1000 others at rate of 150mph, through highly complex machinary of synapses, receptors, enzymes and neurotransmittors. The arrangement and structure of it being unique in each person.
  • To execute even a simple task like holding a pen or speaking a word, it requires perfect and complex intricate communication of very specific areas of brain. Just like its very easy to understand that after a head injury or suppose a brain stroke - a person may not be able to walk /move properly /speak properly, because the complex neurocircuitary involved in movement and speech is affected, similarly in mental or psychiatric disorders the areas of brain which control our mental functions are unwell and hence cannot function properly.
  • And just like when we are physically disabled and unable to walk or talk, because of mental disorders we may not be able to think ,feel and behave properly and not be able to function properly - not be able to study/work/ care for self/ maintain relationships and live optimally.
  • Our body is subject to continuous "stress" from various sources all the time. Right from the conception of an embroyo, life in the womb, birth process , infancy, childhood , adolescence, adulthood and old age, specific age related changes in body metabolism, hormones and physiology are happening continuously in everyone. This is the physiological internal stress.
  • The genetic code decides each person's uniqueness. That is not just limited to the external appearance but also the unique way in which every organ and body system functions. Some people are more prone /sensitive towards developing certain diseases because of this genetic vulnerability and the reason why certain illnesses run in the family genes.
  • Apart from these internal stressors we are also subject to a lot of environmental stressors in form of exposure to pollutants, toxins, urban life stress - long work hours, lack of adequate sleep, unhealthy eating habits, lack of physical activity ,improper nutrition, ultra competitive academic and work culture, poor living conditions, financial stressors, relationship problems in addition to infections, drug exposures, traumatic events, etc.
  • Our body is bombarded with so much of this, that our stress levels are spiking almost every day. Every organ in our body has only a limited capacity to cope and compensate for it. After a point of threshold , certain organs/areas are unable to compensate and diseases will now be clinically visible and will require external intervention.
  • For some people stress may lead to hypertension , for some hyperacidity , for some diabetes and in some heart illness, decided by unique genetic vulnerability. Since our genes are unique and our life long stress exposure is unique, no two people can be compared to each other. Each person's journey is unique and different.
  • For some people the mind may be vulnerable and may fall ill, just like any other body part.
  • The idea of "The Mind" is very misunderstood and we think the centre of our emotions is in the heart and we popularly believe that mind is in total voluntary will power and the one who is not able to do it is plain lazy/ unmotivated / simply unwilling and that people with depression and anxiety are told 'its just in their mind'!
  • We never say that to a person whose liver/heart/kidney has failed and the person cannot function because of it. For them we have only empathy because the physical illness have a face and can be easily seen on outside.
  • And there is no external face to mental disorders unless in terminal stages. Like a fractured hand will be seen in an Xray, abnormal blood reports will diagnose many diseases, unfortunately there is no biological test, yet to diagnose mental illnesses and the person appears completely normal from outside. However the suffering felt is real, the impact is real. Its like suffering from an invisible disability.
  • Also every person going to an Eye surgeon is not Blind. There could be 100 different problems only in the eye, some just requiring spectacles, some having infections or some having cataracts.
  • The most damaging myth is that "ANYONE who has any mind related problem or ANYONE seeking help for a mental health problem is psychic, mad, insane, socially inept, inadequate, wacky, crazy in the mind."
  • This is far from reality because this commonly used portrayal, very badly and superficially points to that of Disorganised Schizophrenia or Severe Intellectual Disability, which is just one and relatively uncommon out of many diverse kinds of mental health problems.
  • According to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, By the American Psychiatric Association there are "297" different types of mental illness.
  • More rampant and prevalant are anxiety, depression, suicide, personality problems, addictions, phobia, etc in all age groups and NO, they do not look and behave like above portrayal at all. Most of them are working professional or students who have usual life struggles as any other normal person.
  • And just like how some mild physical diseases may respond to life style changes , healthy nutrition, exercise some mild mental disorders may respond to it too. However just like how severe acidity causing stomach perforation, or severe hypertention or severe asthama will require medicines similarly severe mental disorders which affect a person's functional states to severe levels will require additional medical intervention.
  • Nevertheless the suffering is far greater than the physical illness because one has to
    • struggle to identify in 1st place that illness is psychological
    • struggle to reach for proper help,
    • struggle to accept for yourself,
    • struggle to accept that medicines/therapy may be needed to control mind (which we believed our entire lives that could be achieved by having a high will power,
    • struggle to get support from family/friends/work places because you have 'to prove' mental disorder since it is invisible externally
    • struggle against constant stigma - in the world which is ever ready to pass judgements/ ridicule and stigmatize
    • struggle to stick to treatment despite many people advising against it and ridiculing
    • Hence on Mental Health Day , the priority is to normalize mental health. Not give our mind the unjustful 2nd class treatment. It is as important as physical health.
  • And because afterall, very truly,
  • 'The Mind is the Only Master!'

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