Like our body, we should invest time on mental health

Lakshmi Kothaneth –
lakshmiobserver@gmail.com –

Depression can strike anyone at any time. Age is not a factor. ‘You Are Not Alone’ from the Whispers of Serenity Clinic held its competition asking people to express the theme for mental health of women.
The outcome was an eye-opener. There was creativity at different levels: poems, art on canvas, art on face, designer necklaces and designer wear.
Paintings have colours to portray emotion. There was gold to symbolise mental health and there were threads embroidered on fabric to represent feelings. Yet, there was nothing as striking as eyes in expressing thoughts.
An initiative by Janab Al Sayyida Basma al Said, the campaign has been reaching out at different levels. It would be interesting to find out who would be the final winners but their expressiveness was mind-blowing.
Some say it is the weak who get depressed; others say it is the strong ones because they have been battling issues and finally are ready to lose. No one should lose out to depression. Psychiatrists might even analyse the play of chemicals in our body. If depression is at the mind level, would it just take strengthening of the mind to overcome the moodiness?
“There are levels of depressions that can vary from chronic to light and normal,” said Sayyida Basma. They can be dual forms such as psychosis and anxiety, or stress and depression. There are many ways to treat depression. Sometimes medication is needed. But mental health can be treated in many ways. Art can be a therapy, she says.
‘You Are Not Alone’ campaign has been going on for four years and it will be announced on October 10, the World Mental Health, even as Oman is getting ready to celebrate the Women’s Day on October 17.
Freud’s talent, however, turned out to be therapy for participants and judges. How often do we discuss each other’s state of mind? How often do we encourage someone to start a conversation? Many a times, we think the person sitting in a corner wants to be aloof. Look again, he/she may be the person who is anxious to start a conversation.
We come across the best of speakers, but that very person could be hiding some of the most painful feelings. Prick a balloon and it bursts with a bang. Prick a human mind and the outcome would soon be judged and labelled.
I was touched when a school student brought her art work and said, “I did not want to give it a title because I do not want to label anybody.”
Her schoolmates called her names and that took a toll on her. Counselling and family support is helping her overcome her painful childhood days. I was impressed she was there to talk about her experience.
Feeling rejected and dejected are only thorns in the path of life. We get wounded and bruised but they lead us to chapters in life that are called ‘Experiences’. Without them, life would be monotonous.
So if you are bruised, get up and start walking again. Clean the wound and give it some time to heal.
This is what I would like to share with the teenagers — learn from the experience, strengthen the mind, find true mentors and with the chin up, head towards a successful life.
Life is a gift and mental health is a part of it. Just like we care for the fitness of our body, it is time to invest in our mental health.
With proper care, the beauty of mind can last almost forever. When gone, others will celebrate the ideas and thoughts of the mind. We cannot be perfect, but each time we feel the weakness, let us try our best to revive and keep our minds beautiful.
Have a beautiful Mental Health Day!

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