It’s the eve of the festive season mania. Of stressful final examinations. Of drunken year-end work functions. As the year draws to a close, mental fatigue starts to set in and the go-to response is to go on autopilot and not engage with anything. During this last quarter of the year, mental health must be a top priority. The number of seemingly happy, well-rounded people who have taken their own lives this past year is testament to the fact that mental illness doesn’t have a discernible look. Sometimes it’s wrapped in a perfectly curated Instagram feed or a high retweet rate. Since people have started openly sharing their struggles with mental illness, their stories have often been met with one response that stands out. An earnest plea: Check On Your Strong Friends, Guys.
I consider myself the strong friend, and they do check in on us. Stoic in nature, we tend to always say we’re fine because if we tell the truth and say we’re not fine, people will most probably give generic responses like not to give up hope or that it will all be okay in the end. As automatic a response as saying “bless you” when someone sneezes. It just feels disengaged. The benefit of this time of year is that since things are slowing down, one can take the time to engage with the strong friend sincerely and the strong friend can accept help and allow people to be there for them without feeling like a burden. Come out from behind the automated responses; the quirky tweets, lyric quote captions and ROTFL emojis. We just might make it then.
By Nande Nodada