Mental health in tough times

By: Syeda Hadia Rubab Naqvi

In a country like Pakistan things of great concern are most of the time subsided and neglected. On the top of the list is mental health. Mental health has never been the subject of interest for our society because they have better things to talk about for example the storyline of an Indian soap which has been on TV for more than a decade. Or how many marks did the neighbor’s son secured in exams All we have ever done is to consider mental illness as a sin which one should hide and never talk about .today let us talk about mental health in PAKISTAN where when you go to your parents to talk about your mental illness all they say is “tumany kiss bat ke pareshani hay “which menas how dare you have a problem and they further add “jao namaz parho “which means we cannot afford a physiatrist because LOG KIA KHAYAN GAY. The only outlet these people have is to go out and breathe in fresh air. For a maulvi daughter fresh air might be going out to madrassah. For a middle class girl fresh air might be going out for a little window shopping in raja bazar or commercial market. And for a girl from upper class it might be a nice Manicure pedicure salon session or a trip with friends. We have to live with this virus until somebody comes up with a vaccine. Prime minister while addressing the nation one fine day this is the last thing a person with a mental illness wants to hear to be locked in a certain premises. Now for a person who doesn’t suffer from anxiety, depression, panic attacks or any other mental illness for that matter would be absolutely fine with the idea of being in a space for a longer period of time .But people who suffer from mental illness might go through tough times due to this pandemic. People who have claustrophobia (fear of closed spaces) might find it hard to be in the same space for a prolonged amount of time. It’s just like a family of ten people living in a small room .how are they supposed to be in that same place for months upon months and god knows how long will it be prolonged. How are they supposed to stay sane in such times? Now let me walk you through the points that how this pandemic can cause a person who might be recovering from a mental illness or paving its way there to fall into the pit again. People who have anxiety really find it difficult to control their heart beat while they are having an anxiety attack. So what they would normally do is go for a run to prevent their heart from exploding. But due to the lockdown and a wave of terror among individuals that it’s not safe to go out might prevent a person for going for a run who has anxiety issues. Now what would happen in result is they will fall back on the track of taking medicines to ease their mind and heart. For a person going through depression already finds it really hard to get through the day without falling into the pit of darkness and upon that just imagine they have to imprison themselves to their rooms and thus what ultimately would happen they would fall directly into the pit of darkness. Oh let us not forget about people who have eating disorders I completely believe that eating disorders like bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa are mental illnesses. Due to this pandemic they might fall again into the habit where they used to binge eat or puke after binging. Or not eat required calories for the day. To sum it up the only thing this pandemic is doing is making people fall for the same wrong patterns of life they were following before which is quiet sad alarming and concerning. I would request you all to be kind to people who you know have been through any sort of mental illness listed above or any other for that matter. And those who are silently battling with a mental illness you must know we are in this together and we would surely overcome this virus. All we have to do is just to hold on.