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#Voices: Don’t Feel Guilty For Choosing Your Mental Health. This Twitter Thread Is Encouraging People To Step Back When Needed Without Remorse

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Conversations around mental health are fairly new in India as we come from a culture where this has been a moot point. For most of us, it would be easier to convince our parents that our house is haunted by a ghost than getting them to believe in the existence of mental health problems. Several people still blatantly dismiss it as a luxury item or an excuse to get away with things. When Indian families pressurize their children for scoring well and having a career chosen by them, do we really think of what such young minds go through? We make the marks they score a community event as everyone thinks they have the right to call up the family and find out how the kid fared. I am sorry but do these people ring you up when you’re feeling disturbed? In such times, your parents don’t think about how upset you must be; all they think about is how you’ve brought shame to the family as if we are the descendants of Aryabhatta.

Once we are through that trauma, the next five years your parents will either see you as the ideal child or an ideal disappointment, depending on your academic performance. When you’ve finally crossed that bridge too, the entire society joins together to pressurise you to get married. And all this while, it’s not like we don’t have heartaches, breakups, etc. In India, some of us may have the privilege (can you believe I have to call it that?) to live on our own terms. However, in several parts, your lives are still dictated by your family, your society, your community, etc. You are expected to marry a guy of someone else’s choice. What that does to your mental health is a question nobody asks, simply because they don’t understand it.

And while we are trying hard to navigate through the social pressures in our lives that restrict freedom of choice through emotional manipulation and cultural norms, the workplace doesn’t get any better either. Recently, Harsh Goenka took to Twitter to share his thoughts on choosing mental health and it resonated with netizens perfectly. “It’s OK to cancel an appointment. It’s OK to not reply to that call. It’s OK to change your mind. It’s OK to want to be alone. It’s OK to take a holiday. It’s OK to do nothing. It’s OK to just chill. It’s OK to stay OK,” he wrote. I really wish that employers across the world believed in this but often managers consider your need to take a mental health day off as blasphemous. Some of us have been lucky to have managers who understand that mental wellbeing is important and we are not just machines. But many of us don’t have that liberty.

Comments started pouring in as people added to the list of things that are perfectly okay and we shouldn’t feel guilty for. “It’s OK to grow Slow. It’s OK to be afraid. It’s OK to ask for help It’s OK to be Different. It’s OK to not be Productive. It’s OK to say I do not Know. It’s OK to Breakdown. It’s OK to take “NO” for an answer,” wrote a user.

Another user added, “Its OK to take sick leave and enjoy partying with friends.” Why is that people have to lie to HRs that they are sick in order to get a day off? Thankfully, if I ever needed a day to rest, I never had to lie about it but those are the perks of having a wonderful boss. People take pride in ruining their mental and physical health over work. They think they should get Employee of the year award for working on weekends. I mean, dedication is one thing but please don’t ruin it for others who’d like some work-life balance.

Another user tweeted about how it’s okay to be yourself and not give in to societal expectations of things. “It’s OK to just follow ur heart. It’s Ok to not think what others will say. It’s OK to not worry I’m in pajama & still going out. It’s OK to not to tweet about ongoing trends sometimes. It’s OK if you want to cry. It’s OK be a child sometimes. It’s OK to laugh out hard sometimes,” the user wrote. Really, there are no rules, as long as you don’t hurt others, do whatever it takes to heal your mind. Take a step back; it doesn’t mean you’re inefficient.

ALSO READ:5 Ways Forgiving Will Help You Heal Better. And It Definitely Doesn’t Mean You’re Taking Them Back

In this pandemic, our mental health has been compromised, in varying degrees. Some of us are showing stronger symptoms of distress while some of us have been able to tackle the stressors better. However, it’s time we have to push the carpet off and deal with our mental health that we brushed underneath. We cannot simply go on denying ourselves the right to step back, cut off or cut down, and to cancel whenever needed. We cannot always be up and running. It’s okay to slow down and take life at your own pace.

ALSO READ:On World Mental Health Day, Here’s An Appreciation Post For The Effort Bollywood Has Taken To Break The Stigmas Around It

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