Rajkumari Sharma Tankha
Do you often feel depressed and stressed? Have your sleeping hours increased or is it that you are unable to sleep at night? Have you started eating more and that too frequently or has your appetite gone down?
Well, if the answer to any of the above questions is yes, it’s time you paid attention to yourself. For, this is neither normal behavior nor something to be a brushed under the carpet thinking things will become better on their own. They won’t. You need professional help to deal with these issues. You need to visit a mental health professional. And the sooner you do it, the better it is for you.
Sadly, mental well being is the one of the most neglected part of our health. When we talk of health, most of us are only talking about physiological and physical well being. But health is much more than; it is an all-encompassing term that relates to all aspects of our body, mind and soul. Just like physical health, mental health also impacts productivity and quality of life.
Research has found that depression and anxiety are the top two among the 25 chronic mental health conditions that people are suffering from these days. Experts say that the cost of lack of mental well being (which results in a person’s reduced productivity) is far greater than the cost of maintaining physical health.
According to the studies done in the UK, the EU and the US, 15-30% of the working population deals with some mental health problem during their working life. A report published in The Lancet and The Lancet Psychiatry in May this year stated that the mental illnesses will increase in the next 10 years in India. Further, along with China, India accounts for about one-third of the global burden of mental illnesses, much greater than all the developed countries taken together.
More and more young people are falling prey to mental illnesses. Increasing demands and stiff competition at work place coupled with falling family systems, long travel distances to offices and lack of an active social life, all lead to people getting isolated, mentally. Human beings are social animals, and whether you accept it or not, lack of social interactions does take a toll on your mind, stressing it, depressing it, till you reach a point where you just can’t take it anymore and either turn to suicide or slip into actual madness.
In our country, suicide is the third leading cause of death between the age group of 18-35 years. In urban metros, four out 10 professionals suffer from depression or anxiety.
The figures are scary, indeed. But what’s even more scary is that in India, only one in 10 people with mental disorders receives treatment, if any. Others either do not think of these issues as a problem or are too ashamed to come out in the open and seek treatment. Mental illness is considered as some sort of stigma which people shy away from disclosing, even to their own near and dear ones.
But the good news is, it is not. If someone is seeking the help of a counselllor/ psychologist/ psychiatrist it doesn’t mean that he/she has gone mad. It only means that the person has an issue that needs to be addressed, lest it blows into a full-fledged problem which may lead to a point of no-return. Isn’t this the case with most other diseases? Like, you leave a cyst untreated and it may become a tumour/cancer, you leave cough untreated and it may lead to bronchitis or you ignore a wound and it may turn into an ulcer.
What I am trying to say is please attend to your psychological problems, give them the same concern you give to your physical and physiological problems. Better still would be to not let the problems crop up. To begin with don’t let the problems of office overwhelm you. Look at living your life with contentment of your mind and soul rather than the physical attributes like branded luxury items. It is okay if you earn a little less than your friend or neighbour. It is fine if your child has not got into IIT and it is no earth-shaking matter if your boss didn’t give you promotion. If you look at life as a whole all these are trivial and momentary issues. With time everything will fall into place.
Enjoy your life as go about it, each day. Spend time with your parents and kids after you return from office; stop a while to chat with your neighbor while you pass him/her on the street; make it a point to go out as a family to one of your friend’s or relatives’ home on a weekend; or go out on family picnics with your colleagues. Don’t just wait for a outstation travel to bond with your life partner. Do it every day.
Try adopting these simple things in your lifestyle and trust me you won’t feel office stress. But if it does, go seek a medical help. There is nothing to be ashamed of.