Personal struggles – The best emotional medication

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The pandemic has brought mental health into sharp focus because so many are struggling. Picture: https://www.newsweek.com

In 1965, The Beatles released a song called ‘Help’.

The lyrics and the beat were so catchy, everyone loved it. The popularity of the song rocketed it to the top of the charts.

When I first heard the song, I was 13 years old and blown away like millions of others with their music. But I had no idea what the song was really about.

It wasn’t until some years later in an interview with Playboy magazine that Lennon spoke candidly why he wrote the song and why he found it really difficult to complete it; “The whole Beatles thing was just beyond comprehension. I was subconsciously crying out for help,” he said.
With all that was going on in his life, for some strange reason, he just couldn’t finish the song.

So, Paul McCartney stepped up to the plate and helped him finish the masterpiece .

When you listen to the lyrics you realise this enigmatic and talented super star, with all the trappings of rock and roll royalty, was going through his own personal struggles and screaming for ‘Help!’
“Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being around
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me!”

When you think about it, it matters little who we are or how much fame and fortune we possess. We can still feel trapped, alone, and depressed. And no matter how many people maybe around us, the feelings of loneliness isn’t something that can be solved with just being around people.

The desperation of loneliness can take a person into a very dark place. And sometimes the darkness and feelings of helplessness are so great that some begin to self harm. When they’re at their lowest ebb and feeling extremely vulnerable and fragile they, unfortunately, contemplate suicide.

Please understand I’m aware of the delicate nature of the subject and have used the word suicide for a very valid reason.

Far too many people of every age and every background are dying needlessly and prematurely because we’re unable to recognise the signs of their desperate pleas for help. So here are a few of the symptoms the experts suggest we need to be aware of;

  •  They’re anxious and worried;
  • They’re depressed or unhappy;
  • They may have emotional outbursts;
  • They have problems sleeping;
  • They have weight or appetite changes;
  • They are quiet and withdrawn;
  • They are misusing substances such as alcohol or drugs;
  • They feel guilty or worthless;
  • You may notice changes in their behaviour;
  • They are prone to isolating themselves; and
  • They appear edgy and uncomfortable especially in social settings.

However, what’s extremely important to remember is to broach the subject about how they’re feeling in a very casual way. And it needs to be done with lots of gentleness and sensitivity.

Sometimes, it may even anger or embarrass them. Please don’t take offence. Because sometimes they’re embarrassed about what they’re going through so they tend to hide what they’re really feeling. And experts also suggest that some people who are depressed are harbouring suppressed anger.

Anger isn’t a bad or immoral thing as some might think. Anger is an emotion. It’s all about how we express it. If anger is inappropriately expressed towards a person who doesn’t deserve it, then we’re way out of line. Silencing and suppressing anger can also have lots of negative side effects.

We can begin to feel down, dejected, and unloved. We can sometimes feel we have nothing to live for. We can start abusing people, especially those close to us. Small things can trigger our rage to the point where we’re a danger to ourselves and to others.

Things such as road rage and sudden outbursts of anger are all signs a person is in a very fragile emotional state. Unless they get help for what’s really troubling them on the inside, there’s a likelihood their personal life will most certainly take a battering.

And if they happen to be in a relationship, there’s a good chance it’ll be like walking on eggshells around them. And this is when domestic violence begins rearing its ugly head.

But being the human beings that we are, many of us continue trudging through life hoping that by some miracle, we’ll get better. It’s unwise to think this way. When we’re sick, we reach for medicines or go to a general practitioner to try and get better. But when it’s emotional help we need, many of us do nothing.

The best emotional medication is to own up to our shortcomings and ask for help from a qualified professional.

A good counsellor can lead us through recovery and help us reconcile the emotional challenges we may be carrying. Let’s face it, if we’re honest, most of us carry some form of repressed emotions. So, you’re not alone. Far from it!

However, some of us are unable to truly comprehend why people fall prey to this debilitating condition. So, we can sometimes view them as being weak.

Please know it’s a real condition with real life-threatening scenarios. Tragically though, the stigma attached to people suffering serious emotional and mental health issues is sad as it’s completely baffling.

Empathy is what’s needed together with education for the community to become sensitive to the needs of those struggling with mental health.

For those who have been in this place or may be still struggling to find a way out of the quagmire, a little something to think about.

We need to learn to love ourselves. Not the easiest thing to do especially if we have unreconciled emotional issues to contend with. And these issues can range from a heap of different hurts and painful emotional experiences we’ve had to navigate through life.

One way is having a talanoa session around the tanoa and opening the conversation in a very casual sort of way. It’ll remove the spotlight and lessen the stigma for someone in your group who may be quietly suffering without saying a word about what they’re going through.

The pandemic has brought mental health into sharp focus because so many are struggling with putting food on the table.

Many have lost their livelihood and can’t make ends meet. The stresses and challenges have never been greater. Hence the need for asking people how they’re doing and if they need someone to talk to.

Sometimes, just talking about stuff and letting the person know you’re there for them can take the weight and edge off their struggles.

Please also remember not to blame or get angry with them if you feel they’re evading your advances.

It’s just that they’re trying desperately to deflect and protect themselves and how they’re feeling.

Because they don’t want you to think anything less of them. Remember, you might never know how your caring concern for someone may have saved their life.

  • Colin Deoki is a regular contributor to this newspaper. The views expressed are the author’s and not of this newspaper.
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