In one of the worst depressive episodes of my life, I woke up from sleep because I was choking. I was choking because I had involuntarily stopped breathing for a few seconds. Just like that. Later, I figured that my brain was working slowly due to the overwhelming sadness and couldn't give any orders to the organs of my body.
I am sharing this because it is important, and I get the courage to do that because people before me, people I look up to, did the same with much more at stake.
However, more often than not, this act is met with so much dismissal, if not straight-up scrutiny, that one wonders what kind of world we are living in. Here are a few examples of the same.
1. Naomi Osaka being cornered into withdrawing from French Open 2021 because she decided to not attend the press-conferences to protect her mental health.
Yes, the decision to quit was hers, but the way things panned out, she did not have much choice in the matter. Everyone who follows sports and knows even one thing about the press conferences, is aware how toxic they can be. Plus, when you have social anxiety, even the healthiest situations turn into a nightmare.
Now what does one do when informed by a player about the same? Not levying a fine is what. As a start. But what happened was exactly the opposite. French Open fined Osaka citing 'rules' and the Grand Slams wrote a press release asking her what her issues were.
Get this, the four Grand Slams joining forces to counter a 23-year-old athlete, who was simply trying to make a very valid point. On the surface, they made it look like they cared, but if you punish someone for a personal decision and then ask them to elaborate on the problem, chances are that they won't. It's a no-brainer.
2. Media's consistent disregard for Princess Diana's mental health, leading to her ultimate demise in a car accident while being followed by paparrazi.
Princess Diana suffered from post-natal depression and bulimia (which is an eating disorder where one has a lot of food in one go because it brings comfort. However, they soon start feeling guilty about it and try to puke it out or not eat anything for a long time later).
Diana talked about these in her BBC interview. She explained, in detail, how it affected her. The media, though, did not flinch once before writing gossip columns about her. Nor did she get much help from the royal family. Her family. In fact, to date, mental health isn't the biggest takeaway from that interview, when it should be. We lost her, but maybe we could save someone else.
3. Meghan Markle being ridiculed by people an ignored by the royals after she shared that she was depressed and contemplated ending her life at one point.
Much like Princess Diana, Meghan Markle underwent extreme scrutiny for speaking out against the culture in the royal household. People called her 'dramatic" and even "fake" for making the allegations that she did. Not to mention, the classic "she manipulated Prince Harry".
Meghan Markle wont see your snide comments about her 'fake suicide thoughts', but your friends will. Those friends will then choose not to approach your judgement#MeghanMarkle #mentalhealth #MentalHealthMatters #MeghanAndHarry #SuicideAwareness— Laura Jade (@LauJayde) May 25, 2021
There was some support for her too, which indicated a shift in general mentality, but the criticism was way more in comparison, which is simply unfortunate.
He is unwell and the last person who give guidance to people struggling with mental issues. Narcissists like Meghan markle don’t commit suicide while faking her 7th month of pregnancy. They just isolate their prey and ruin them , look at harry #megxit— Cici (@Cici86280666) May 28, 2021
4. Deepika Padukone made fun of, for openly talking about her struggles with mental health.
People underestimate how difficult it is to tell others about these challenges. It's body numbing, I can vouch for it. Moreover, many mental illnesses affect person's self-worth. So, in their head, they already don't deserve help. In some cases, they get over that feeling, but are still petrified of the idea. And if neither of these two, they don't have the energy to talk about their struggles.
It's a very vulnerable position to be in and needs to be met with immense love, care and sensitivity. But this is what Deepika has to go through, to date.
That's insensitive towards both women involved. Amir Khan's daughter Ira is a young woman, and trolling is the last thing she needs after opening up about something so private.
And then, there is stuff like this. This is the level the world is operating at.
When I hear the English word Repeat and Depression, Deepika Padukone name comes straight forward in my brain. Now even when I am typing repeat or depression on from my phone, her name appears ad option 😂😂 my phone knows who is the real Depressive person— Van|sha Musing with SSR (@Schiffer05) November 2, 2020
Either Siddharth has shifted to Pakistan or such is his mental state that he is hallucinating Rahul Gandhi as his PM. I request Deepika Padukone to help him cure his mental illness as she recovered from a similar depression before or-else as a last resort, NCB will help cure. pic.twitter.com/O7oVVk4hI4— Charan (@fascistMomta) February 4, 2021
5. Prince Harry being reminded that he is not fulfilling his duties as a part of the royal household, with no regard to his mental health, something he has been extremely vocal about.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been at the centre of controversy since the time they got married. Their wedding was talked about a lot, and often in a disrespectful manner. Later, when they left the family to live separately, people got another reason to hate on them.
Which hasn't changed after their interview to Oprah and subsequent acknowledgment regarding challenges related to mental health. People are still fixated on their roles and responsibilities as the royals and leave no chance to remind Harry that he has wronged the Queen.
True. #PrinceHarry knows his mother was killed because she was pregnant with Dodi Al-Fayed’s baby, and that Dodi was proposing marriage to Princess Diana the exact night that she died. https://t.co/mrPtWRn41R— M🐈⬛️🇺🇸 (@lovethykitten) May 21, 2021
Too bad #MeghanAndHarry do not have Twitter, but if I could send a direct message to #PrinceHarry it would be: if you want your son to respect you one day, be a man - get a pair - grow a sack. I am horrified, as a father, that you have nothing - no integrity to offer your son...— Taking Liberty (@takingliberty1) May 23, 2021
So #PrinceHarry is suppose to be this big Mental Health advocate... My question is where is his concern for the mental health of his Grandmother, his father, his brother and the rest of his family? pic.twitter.com/DetQ5hsZQN— Brittany Gadoury (@royallybrittany) May 29, 2021
With regard to the last tweet, the person causing issues to someone can also be struggling themselves, that's a fact. But it doesn't mean they shouldn't be held accountable for their actions, because if that is not done, the chain of mistreatment will never break.
6. Amy Winehouse, who was struggling with addiction, being followed by paparazzi to the point that she had to file a case in the court for the same.
The court ruling stated that photographers had to be 100 meters away from Amy and were not allowed to take pictures of her outside her house in London. This is how bad things were for the star, before she succumbed to alcohol poisoning in 2011.
Think of how the media treats women who speak about their mental health. From Naomi Osaka to Meghan Markle, from Princess Diana to Amy Winehouse, from reality TV stars to royalty. The women change, the will to humiliate doesn’t. It is deeply rotten, outdated and needing change.— Matt Haig (@matthaig1) June 1, 2021
Amy winehouse was truly a talent because at one point I still remember her music being more known than some of the artist that were out there with her if it wasn’t for her passing away and the vilification of the media same with Britney she would have been among the GOATs :(— 𝒯𝒽𝑒 𝐻𝑜𝓃𝑜𝓇𝒶𝒷𝓁𝑒 𝒦𝒾𝓂 (@Redtuliplove) May 26, 2021
7. Britney Spears being villified and hounded by the media every step of the way even though everyone could see her struggling.
She had public breakdowns, she was pictured crying in a restaraunt while carrying her baby, she told people in clear words that she was suffering from bipolar disorder - and it still did not stop the media from harassing her.
People wanted to know everything about Britney and the press did everything in its capacity to get them what they desired. No one cared about the woman, though, or how she is dealing with the trauma caused by constant gaze.
i just watched the documentary on britney spears. and i'm just telling you that i hate the tabloids and this industry even more. really the media has ruined her life and her story makes me want to cry— em the milf (@drunkdollyem) May 29, 2021
There are many examples of celebrities not being taken seriously after they have opened up about illnesses like depression and anxiety. What's worse, they are often mocked for the same. Stuff like this helps no one, and for so many, makes an already difficult existence, challenging for new reasons - because for someone who is facing the same issues, it's triggering to watch others being met with indifference.
Having said that, if you, or someone you know is going through such problems, please know that there is love in the world even when it seems like there isn't. There are people who'll be kind to you if you open up. That's a promise from someone who has.