I can’t remember when I first heard the word ‘depression’. I expect it was in the context of weather. And, growing up in the nineties, ‘that’s mental’ was an expression of disbelief. So, despite a parent having experienced multiple episodes of mental ill health, it just wasn’t something we talked about at home. Or indeed at school. Or anywhere. If my brothers or I complained of feeling sad, we were told, “Cheer up! It might never happen.”
A simple gesture, a simple ‘Hey, how are you?’ can make all the difference in someone’s day. Talking about how the world around you is closing in on you, how you feel alone, how it’s raining gasoline and you’re trying your hardest to resist the urge to set yourself on fire can be very very challenging to talk about especially if you’ve never had that space to talk about it before.
I come from a typical Indian family, where in the past, mental health was simply not a topic for discussion. Today, I help connect hundreds of people with therapists and direct them to basic mental health resources. Here’s a slice of my journey: