Growing up, I had a habit where I would check whether my house’s door was closed countless times, even after closing the door. Another habit I had was when I had to keep checking if I had kept certain things in the right place even after keeping them in place. My habits were tiring and exhausted my nervous system. After years of exhaustion, I finally met a psychologist and was told that the habits were patterns of a disorder known as OCD.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, OCD, which stands for Obsessive-compulsive disorder, is a disorder where people live with recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas, or sensations, which drive them to a compulsive obsession of carrying out tasks repeatedly. These include behaviors such as hand washing, checking the position of things, cleaning, etc.
According to ocduk.org, the disease is so debilitating and disabling that the World Health Organisation ranks the disorder in the top 10 of the most disabling illnesses of any sort. The impact of OCD on people’s lives is intense. In cases when the condition becomes extremely severe, the Better Health channel reports that people will tend to avoid anything and everything that will trigger their fears of obsession.
This avoidance spans towards daily activities such as eating, drinking, reading, or even walking. This avoidance can lead to people being unable to carry out day to day tasks and cause house boundedness. Critically, these harmful implications of OCD in peoples’ lives often lead to cases of depression and other anxiety disorders. As a result, patients’ struggles should not be underestimated, and they should receive support from society. Critically, with the right support from society, patients should ensure that they receive appropriate help from medical professionals.
Like all mental health illnesses worldwide, OCD is no different when it comes to seeing societies neglect the well-being of patients suffering from the disorder. In some conservative societies worldwide (notably India), mental health issues such as OCD, Depression, or even Anxiety are either misunderstood or unrecognized or even classified as underrated.
The case of mental health issues being classified as underrated in India arises due to people’s concerns about their social status or standing. People believe that revealing their mental health issues reveal their vulnerabilities, as they wrongly fear that it exposes their weaknesses to other people in society. On the other hand in this case, society is also wrong as it judges these people based on their vulnerabilities, which are in turn natural feelings of any human being and wrongly framed as weaknesses.
Consequently, due to the flawed conservative ideologies concerning mental health, patients are inappropriately characterized as crazy or weak people in society. People with these conservative beliefs tend to stay unaware and suffer in silence by hiding their pain or suppressing the pain of their loved ones who may be suffering as well. As a result, this unnecessary conservative ego stops people or their family members from not just accepting their pain, i.e., opening up about their struggles, but also from seeking help from professionals.
Critically, with an increasing amount of people suffering from mental health issues such as OCD, Depression, Anxiety, or even ADHD, it’s time for Indian societies to liberalize their mental health ideologies. Professionals in the field of mental health should work towards change by increasing awareness about the perils of mental health illnesses such as OCD or even Depression on the human body.
They should provide consequential exposure on social media and insight through news publications, host knowledgeable seminars and webinars on different platforms. Most importantly, Doctors should influentially break the stigmatic iceberg of calling mental health suffers crazy through word of mouth about its consequences in society.
Over the years, if a change in mental health liberalization is successfully facilitated as a result of the increased exposure by mental health professionals in societies, people will feel psychologically liberated. Sufferers will feel safe when facing their vulnerabilities – openly talking about psychological distress, and will find it easier to receive solutions to their struggles through the resources of ever-advancing medicine. Sufferers with new liberal ideologies will then not be worried about their social status or weaknesses and will be irrevocably treated or seen by others in society with normality. Societies will be healthier, and the word crazy will go into obsolescence.
2 days ago
We felt very happy and proud to see our son appear on Ms Tanvi Shuklaâ s programme on Mental health issues this evening.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.