According to WHO, 1 in 4 people will suffer from a mental health issue at some point in their lives. That’s a pretty huge statistic, and it means that yourself or someone you know may have, will have or has experienced mental health issues.
A mental health issue, also referred to as a mental illness or psychiatric disorder, is a behavioural or mental pattern that causes significant distress or an impairment of personal functioning. This means that a mental disorder could disrupt the normal functioning of an individual’s life. Sound familiar? Maybe. For some of us, we’ve experienced a crippling sadness and lethargy, for lack of better words, that doesn’t allow us to go on with our daily lives.
If you are experiencing this, you might need to consider seeking help in the form of someone experienced and professional. There is no shame in this, as there are many factors that could make us predisposed to mental health issues/illnesses including genetics and our environment.
While preparing to see a mental health professional, you should also be seriously considering coming out to your immediate family. No man is an island and it is extremely important that you go on this journey with as much support as you can get. Now, as someone who found it near impossible to come out to both my parents (and even my best friend who I felt I could tell anything) about my mental health struggles, I understand very well how difficult this can be. So I’ll be offering some practical steps you can take to do this.
Stop doubting yourself. Stop gas-lighting yourself. Just stop. Your experiences are yours; they are true, legitimate and valid. It is not all in your head. I won’t kid you, this is the hardest part of the battle but it’s one you have to fight and overcome.
Make dua’. I can’t stress this enough. Make dua that Allah guides your decisions from now on as the outcome of your next step can affect a great part of your journey to recovery.
Look for a family member who is mature enough to handle this information, someone you have a good rapport with and can trust. Someone you aren’t shy of and can talk to.
When I say talk, I mean talk like you believe yourself. Also, if you haven’t seen a professional yet, tell your confidante you’d like to see one. I personally feel this is very important as it eliminates all doubts and gives you the confidence to seek help.
It is important to state that people’s experiences vary. Some individuals will receive support while others don’t. To be honest, it can be very discouraging when someone you’ve trusted enough to show a vulnerable side of you downplays your experience, but it helps to remember that those experiences are yours, not theirs and you’re the one seeking for help, not them. A good place to find support is support group meetings. You’ll meet people going through similar experiences just trying to heal – like you.
And for individuals with supportive families, there will be many times your family will not understand. Be grateful for the times they do and remember, this is your journey, not theirs.
Along the way, you’ll develop your own strategies that will allow you navigate your mental health journey. Stay positive and things will stay positive.