It’s ok not to be okay!By: Umeza Peera
No, we are not talking about the new K-drama! The headline was just to catch your attention to the deeper meaning of this phrase, that it’s really ok to feel sad, depressed and rejected. But is it just the end of the world then? No. Let’s dig deeper.
You all must have seen the movie ‘Dangal’, right? Yes, the one which had Aamir Khan playing the father of the famous Phogat sisters. Well, on Thursday, March 18, Ritika Phogat, a teenger, all of 17 years, and cousin of the celebrated Phogat sisters, reportedly committed suicide after losing the final bout of a wrestling tournament.
This news was really hard to digest and the one question that comes to mind is - Why? Why did she have to do this? What can be so depressing that cannot be solved and one has to take this extreme step?
According to Ritika’s family, she was disappointed after losing by one point in the final of a state-level junior wrestling tournament. The young wrestler was a student at the Mahavir Phogat Sports Academy in Charkhi, where she was learning and practicing wrestling. During the first week of May, she was to take her class 12th boards exam.
Her family never expected Ritika could take such an extreme action, to give up on life? She had her whole life ahead of her to prove herself. Was there anything they could have done to maybe prevent Ritika from thinking that losing a match is not the end of the world and it is okay to fail? After all, failures are the pillars of success.
Ritika is not alone. Everyday we get news reports of teenagers taking these drastic steps because of pressures and stress in their lives. They are always taught to excel in everything and never taught to handle stress and failures.
This incident also sadly took me back to a time when I saw a friend struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts because her family wanted her to top the class. They kept pushing and comparing her to other students in class. However, due to so much stress, she went blank in the exam and failed.
Her parents and brother mocked her for failing the exam. She then tried to end her life. Thank God, she was saved but that incident, and countless more, made me realise how important it is to keep a check on people who may be having a hard time in their lives. In other words - we need to prioritize mental health! We need to be taught to accept failures and move on. But what does mental health really mean?
What is mental health?
We live in a world where we are constantly judged for our likes, dislikes, actions and behaviour. If someone praises us for our work, achievements or even how we look, we feel happy. But what happens when things don’t work out. We may get bullied or stressed and sometimes even fail in something. Then we feel depressed.
And how we constantly feel or behave during a certain situation and handle it - decides our mental health. Do we get too emotional, break down and lose control in an extremely difficult situation or do we talk about it, balance our emotions and try to be the best of ourselves?
Let me give you an example of good mental health. If you love cricket, you may know of Sachin Tendular and how controlled he was in the 1999 World Cup Match he had to play after his father’s demise. The legendary Indian cricketer also scored an emotional ton at the match. He not only managed his emotions but displayed resilience on the field even though he was undergoing a lot of personal loss and trauma.
So mental health comprises the emotional, psychological, and social well-being of a person. It has an effect on how we think, feel, and behave in our everyday lives. It also influences how we deal with tension, interact with others, and make decisions. It really determines how we behave under stressful situations, failures and underachievements.
Dealing with sadness, depression and stress
When we do not get what we want, it’s normal to feel sad and stressed. You might feel nothing is going to work out anymore or you can’t fix it. But remember this, the sun always shines after a dark stormy night. Dealing with depression and pressure can be fought and we need to learn how to get through it.
Here is what to do when negative thoughts come to your mind:
Take a break
A change of scenery or pace is beneficial to your mental health. Watching your favourite show or just dancing to your favourite song can instantly help. Doing the things that make you happy and a little ‘me time’ will always be your saviour.
Accept who you are
Each of us is unique. Accepting your individuality is much healthier than wishing you were more like someone else. Feeling good about yourself gives you the confidence to try new things, travel to new places, and meet new people. When life throws you a curveball, having high self-esteem will help you cope.
Do what you love
Stress can be solved by having fun. Doing something you enjoy means you're probably good at it, and accomplishing something increases your self-esteem. Doing something you love also includes sleep, as our generation is a sucker for a good sleep although we are awake all night with our scrolling game strong and overthinking. But allow yourself time to sleep if you're really tired. Our mental health suffers when we don't get enough sleep, and our concentration suffers as a result.
It’s okay to seek help
None of us are extraordinary. We're all tired or frustrated at times by how we're feeling or when things don't go as planned. Ask for help if things are getting too much for you and you don't think you can handle it. Your family or friends may be able to provide practical assistance or just a sympathetic ear. If you aren’t able to share it with your own people then you can reach out to the professionals.
Meet people who make you feel good
Catching up with people or friends, who make you feel loved and make you forget about all your stress, is one of the best solutions to dealing with stress. A face to face heartfelt conversation can work wonders.
Some names have been changed to protect the privacy.
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