By Namrah Matloob.
Who is a psychiatrist? S/he is a medical practitioner specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. We visit a psychiatrist for the same reasons for which we visit another doctor that is some sort of illness. Then why talking about mental illness and trying to cure it is considered as something which could ruin our standing among friends and family. Why visiting a psychiatrist or a psychologist is such a taboo in our society. If I can pay a number of visits to a doctor for a mild headache, why can’t I visit a psychiatrist if I feel the need?
This topic might seem wastage to most of you because you are the one who haven’t gone through those nights when you kept changing sides because you were too depressed to function. You haven’t seen such mornings when you might have felt that waking up to this beautiful morning will make no difference to your life. You haven’t felt that agony when it feels as if your heart will burst and your mind is numb because of sadness. It is really easy for people who haven’t been through mental illness to say that the time shall pass and you will eventually move on.
Why aren’t we ready to normalize the fact that there is treatment for such mental illnesses and it’s pretty normal to pay a visit to a psychiatrist or a psychologist? I have seen people in my circle who feel the need to consult a doctor but their reason for not to do so is “I am not mad, what would people say if anyone gets to know that I underwent a psychiatric treatment?” Or the best ever statement“I am just going through a phase probably”. I just want to ask one thing, why you want to prolong that phase, why do you want to go through that constant agony? What if the condition worsens instead of improving? Do the people who think that only a “pagal” person should visit a psychiatrist are going to help you when you will be facing consequences of your mental illness? No. The moment anyone one around us tries to seek our help in visiting a psychiatrist we are the ones who come up with statements like;
“Loag kia kahain ge.”
“Tum pagal tou nai ho, doctor k pas jaane ki kia zarurat hai es sab k liye.”
“This is part of life, it will eventually get better.”
“Why are you depressed when you have everything?”
Exactly, why a person is feeling depressed when s/he has everything. You can’t find a reason or come up with a solution on your own. There is a specialized person for all this. Depression, anxiety, insomnia, panic, dismal mood all are mental illnesses and can’t be cured by only saying that “it is a phase and it will get better”. We never say this to a heart patient or a diabetic patient that “it’s a phase and it will get better”. It’s not the individuals fault to feel this way so stop saying that “snap out of it”.
Visiting a psychiatrist is not going to make you weak. Seeking help isn’t a sign of weakness; it is a sign of strength that you are strong enough to accept your illness and are ready to get it cured. Judging and shaming a person with mental illness and tagging him/her as “pagal” on just mentioning a psychiatrist is only going to worsen their situation, so to everyone who read this, please stop taunting people. There is no shame in seeking help. Try to develop an encouraging and positive attitude regarding mental illness and visiting a psychiatrist.
Writer is an English literature student and hails from Islamabad.