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Thursday, October 10, 2019

World Mental Health Day: Lessons from 2019

Just in September I wrote ten poems about mental health as #MentalHealthPoet , earlier this year I did the #AtoZ Blogging Challenge again 26 posts about mental health. My book Mental Health:A Primer is also now available of Kindle.

I also started writing a mental health column for The Financial Express and spoke about it at various initiatives too like that of US Pain Foundation Storyathon and at Virtual Syahi's Humanity ki Chain.

I also became part of teaching the Disability competencies to MBBS students and hence delved deeper into the role of Medical Humanities in making our healthcare system better,

So all in all it has been a year that saw me actively engaging with mental health as an invisible disability and moving from the space of just a survivor with lived experience and read knowledge to an activist who now was ready to go one step ahead and start putting my first-hand lessons and research about both Fibromyalgia and mental health to use for awareness and community and peer support.

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Here are a few lessons I want to share today accumulated from these various experiences:

Family can sometimes be the most oppressive system and space, including birth families.

I have known so many daughters still nursing the "mother wound", so many men still not over the trauma of witnessing domestic violence or being a victim to it, so many instances of child abuse both emotional and physical sometimes by parents.


Mental Health is an evolving state of being just like physical health.

Mental health conditions can be a temporary disability and sometimes permanent though invisible. I know people like me having high-functioning mental health conditions and the effort they demand to survive with them and also people who had depression/anxiety but came over it and now manage their mental health better.


Mental Health Conditions are not painless.

It is ironic that in public perception mental health conditions are considered painless, whereas these manifest in physical ways hugely and can cause immense physical pain or heighten already existing physical health conditions as well.


Changing the language about mental health is crucial.

It makes a huge difference when we don't say "committed suicide" and say died by suicide, we de-criminalize a mental health crisis. When we portray people with disability as just their disability for instance he is schizophrenic we dehumanize them, instead saying he is a person who survives schizophrenia is more human.


Social Media works as a two-way tool for Mental health.

Social media has become such an inseparable part of our lives and can sometimes assist in expression of stress and finding resources and connect but also lead to more social stress and burden of expectations to have a perfect life causing anxiety sometimes.



It is World Mental health Day today and the theme is SUICIDE PREVENTION, I believe it is a long drawn process and can only be addressed by putting mental health as a priority in our lives just like physical health.


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To Kill a Mockingbird
The Catcher in the Rye
Animal Farm
The Alchemist
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Romeo and Juliet
Frankenstein
The Odyssey
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Count of Monte Cristo
Eat, Pray, Love
Lolita
The Da Vinci Code
The Kite Runner
The Silence of the Lambs
The Diary of a Young Girl
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Notebook
Gone With the Wind
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