SUFFERING from a mental disorder is like going through hell. In our society, the public is not well aware of these disorders.
There are people who are affected by depression and live a devastating life without even getting treatment. Then there are those who are extremely aggressive and physically/verbally abuse their family members.
This we take so easily, thinking that this person is just aggressive by nature but the reality is that he might be suffering from a psychological disorder.
There are a lot of people who suffer from schizophrenia and get visual and auditory hallucinations and think they are possessed by djinns and go to fake pir who uses their helplessness just to make money.
The most important thing to realise is that these mental disorders are common and can easily be treated with medication and therapy. But, unfortunately, in our country people think that going to a psychiatrist or a psychologist signifies that the person is a crackpot or a mental case and that he is abnormal.
Therapists have a basic and humane function of getting people back into their normal lives. However, the only reason preventing us from disclosing about our depression is the fear inside us, as to what the other person would think about me.
Now this thought needs to be changed. As long as we do not change these thinking patterns, we will never flourish as a society.
In the West, people are not ashamed of disclosing about going to a therapist because they take it so normally, and because most people do consult therapists, the level of anxiety in them is less as compared to us. They have progressed tremendously in this area.
The small element of helping each other out is lacking in us.
Although we do have a Mental Health Ordinance 2001, but there seems lack of implementation to its provisions. We need to create awareness about it by promoting it so that people realise that seeking help is normal, and they can help themselves and others.
Employers should also be made aware of such disorders so that biases and discrimination are avoided. I would recommend a mental health practitioner working in every company for the wellbeing of its employees.
To conclude, one should realise that people suffering from mental conditions are normal people just like us: their only problem is that they are not being able to cope well with their issues due to which they suffer and need the help of a professional. We need to help such people around us and extend our support to them.
The more fulfilling, self-satisfying and less stressful lives we live, the more likely we are to prosper as individuals and as nations.
ADIL USMAN Karachi