Vulnerability is Liberating: The first step for Mental Health Awareness

Many generations had the influence of telling us: “vulnerability is a weakness.”

Is it really?

Is it great to bottle up all emotions and pretend to be fine?

Then why is being vulnerable a threat to humans?

Mental health has been strongly influenced by this notion and has been stigmatized since then. It is a hush-hush topic that does not get much attention; they say it can cure on its own. Then why are we seeing whispers and silent cries of our young minds struggling in the pandemic? The world of uncertainty is becoming gloomy for us, and we don’t know what the future brings us. Amidst all the mixed feelings, there is, however, a ray of hope. 

We look up to our leaders for inspiration and action, and the news of Sachin Tendulkar opening up on battling anxiety is one such. “Acceptability is the key,” says Sachin when he talked about battling anxiety for 10-12 years of his career. He mentions that besides preparing physically for a game, you have to prepare yourself mentally also. In his mind, a match starts long before one enters the ground. A player is bound to go through ups and downs, but it is important to accept when one feels low. 

Indeed, acceptance is the first step to support mental health. It helps us to appreciate and work on the things we kept on ignoring. Sachin and many other icons who have opened up about their struggles in life help us identify our struggles. Normalizing the not-so-good feeling is essential. Ask yourself this question: how often have you said or texted “I am fine” to the question “How are you” to a close one when you were not? 

Our screens have become our learning space, and online classes are the new normal in the present crisis. However, the second wave of COVID-19 in India has made us feel disconnected from our paths. The daily news has taken an overwhelming turn, and ignoring this should not be the case. The same online classes now demand more focus and attention from us and we struggle to balance. 

The tired youth has still managed to balance the assignments and deadlines on time but fails to recognize that there is more to life. Success is holistic and not just a good job title. There is an urgent need to reform the education system which involves a holistic approach. We must raise the youth who have plans for a better future and want to develop the nation with their skill set. The future change makers have the capacity to create a big impact and we are here to make it happen.

The world of cinema has helped to raise awareness about mental health on a larger platform. One such recent film is Dear Zindagi. It is one of the prominent films to promote mental health. Apart from the main storyline that the film revolves around, there is one more beautiful thing to cherish in this movie. Kaira (played by Alia Bhatt) inspires us to express our feelings. In a world where we are often shamed for being vulnerable and appreciated for being ”all-time strong”, Kaira was truly being herself and was the strong woman that we admire.

Mental health awareness is required to eliminate the stigmas around it so that the youth doesn’t suffer in silence. It is important to understand the symptoms and seek professional treatment when necessary. Therapy needs to be normalized so that one feels strong when being vulnerable and is not shamed for it. 

We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.

-Carl Jung