HRP LETTER SERIES: LETTER TO MY FRIEND ABOUT HIS/HER MENTAL HEALTH
It feels great writing to you today, I really hope your weekend was wonderful and you’re of course getting set for the week. I’m sure you’ve got lots of plans for the week, plans that may certainly not include you even though you made them(work stress). It’s what brings me to the issue of mental health.
So when we hear “mental health”, a lot of us run wild screaming “I’m not a psycho” or simply “I’m not mad” even though it’s important to know that your mental health is as important as your physical health. And worse is how alarming it is to know that almost everyone you meet is mentally ill because of mismanagement of emotions, pressure (from work, family etc), workaholism, and even religious factors.
For some time, mental health seemed neglected and perhaps a taboo because it was misinterpreted as madness but it’s quite different today. For instance, a guy becomes heartbroken because his fianceé jilted him on the altar; few months in and he commits suicide. Friends think it’s because he lost his job when he couldn’t concentrate, others think he must have been using drugs and some locals feel it must have been a witch from his village.
Well everyone has their interpretation but no one pushed hard to reach him, no one tried to get the smile back on his face and he didn’t try either. Yes, not everyone gets people who would pull them out but if we would try to open up, we might just get such people around us. Friend, please try to help yourself too, don’t wait till you’re completely broken; speak up.
And then, I just might be speaking to a friend who is constantly being emotionally blackmailed or in an abusive relationship. Worse is, it feels hard to let go of it and anyone who says you should is an enemy. So you slip into anxiety to please him/her and make everything perfect- but it doesn’t work, so you slip into sadness, eating too little or too much and then depression and rage. It’s really not worth it to play games with your life, you’re important. And just in case you are thinking it’s best to just end your life with it; you don’t want to be a disappointed ghost. Be happy please.
What’s most saddening is the family scene especially when their ideas is termed “the best for you” and when you don’t comply, it’s one man with no ammunition against an army. It is hard, yes, I agree with you. It feels normal to keep their interests at heart but at some points when some interests are unequivocally selfish, don’t be afraid to say “no”. A thousand “Nos” keeping you alive and mentally fit is better than a lifeless man who said “yes” and couldn’t fulfil their dreams. Friend, live, make an impact, and most of all be happy with your choices. And if they bounce back on you, be responsible and still be happy, it takes courage to be “you”.
As I write to you, I seem to find myself thinking of how impossible I also thought it would be to find true happiness or joy. I thought my sleepless nights would never go away or the pain that I felt nobody really understood or the constant pain in my chest. But then I realised happiness is a choice, I decided to speak up. Guess what! You can’t drain off stale water by keeping it. Think of those thoughts of being called a failure, a disgrace, being abused physically and emotionally as stale, it helps to make you know they have to go.
Friend, I’m writing to you today for you to take time out for you. If possible take a quick test to know your mental health status and feel free to speak to a therapist. You are very important. For a start, it’s necessary to remember that you only live once. So eat right, don’t let your feelings influence how you eat. Finally, please do well never to judge your present with your past. Even if we lived our lives trying to rewrite the past, it would change nothing and we’d miss the present. Everyone has some mud in the past but we have to live each day anew, making it the best day yet.
Till we meet again, friend, I do not know your name but please recite these words to yourself, I AM IMPORTANT. Do feel free to drop your comments, I’d be eagerly waiting to hear from you. Lots of love from here, stay healthy, friend.
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