Saving People from the Sting of Stigma


I nodded my head in agreement when I read this statement in a news paper. To be honest, I am not a fan of Jiro. But, seeing people take big steps back from their actualization, crossing the thin line of having a sound mind makes me want to extend my hand to those who get lost from emptiness, despair and misery. A place we all once used to be.
But I’m afraid, many are still left stuck in it, continuously sinking – until they get robbed by nothingness.

An existential psychologist, Rollo May, addressed about “Nothingness/Non-being” as a form of death. But not physical death rather, to how I put it, a “walking dead.” Many people nowadays are dead waiting to be buried resorting to drugs, alcohol, wrong relationships, promiscuous sex etc… to escape reality – a painful, dreadful and unwanted reality. Many of us should start living and stop surviving. I believe we are called to actualize using every deposit of potentials that God has installed in us.

Talking with quite a good number of people suffering from psychological disorders in and out of the National Center for Mental Health during the period of my internship, makes me postulate that having a mental illness is a mechanism of our mind to compensate for the overloaded stress, trauma, pain, sadness, fear and hopelessness, lest, leading to something worst possible than psychosis – which I couldn’t imagine what can be.

I don’t know Jiro, but subjectively speaking, he surely has a lot back there in his mind. His action of resorting to drugs maybe due to something that he wants to escape from. Just like one of the articles I have read about him saying, “it is not really the drugs that made him to be like that.” Rather, I think, it is the pain he is trying to repress manifesting through this maladaptive behavior.

Reality is too hard to accept for many of us – people who may have had too much of what worst ends it has served them. Many people get lost in their own thoughts being confounded in delusions as a way to evade the sting of reality.

Many are also baffled in handling people who are suffering with a mental illness, covering them with stigma that prevents sufferers from seeking help and people from having open minds towards proper guidance of these fragile individuals. We couldn’t say that physical health is more important than mental health and vice versa. These go hand in hand in a biopsychosocial model.

mental-health-life-effectsIf only majority of people are well-informed about mental health then we will have parents who can raise kids accordingly, kids who will grow up to have a sound mind – an individual who can actualize his/her potentials, and become an adult who will in turn, raise their own offspring using the deposit from a mentally healthy consignment of individuals who share in the same state of mental health. Then, the cycle goes on.

Mental health may seem invisible. But the actions, behavior and a person’s cognition affecting his/her life’s decision could make it visible and discernible. Checking our mental health is not just for those in the mental institutions, but for all. Just like Jiro, who was once a brilliant child (and I believe it is still in him) turned to be what he is now. Mental health is equally important as physical health. Don’t just be concerned about the food that goes into our mouths nor the fitness of our physique but also the thoughts that we accept in our minds and how we build up the strength of our coping skills.

Be mental health conscious.

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