A silent killer – Mental health issues

Being kind doesn’t cost anything, but can help in so many ways. Picture: SUPPLIED

Bula readers, and a happy Saturday to you and your loved ones. It is very hard for determined, focused and confident individuals to confess weakness, but today I want to share with you a story of someone I consider a friend.

For the sake of respecting her privacy we will call her Sera, who is normally a very strong and resilient individual, but some time ago she had a bout of anxiety.

This was triggered off by remarks made online about her in the public domain and also personal tragedy that had been causing turmoil in her life.

I wanted to console Sera and give her hope and open up about her feelings of anxiety. Thinking about it I am sure there are so many other people going through this or have gone through this condition before for one reason or another in their life.

She told me that it was quite a strange feeling as she felt great one moment, but then it could change as negative and worrying thoughts enter her mind. This would then make her anxious and overwhelm her with depressing thoughts.

These mysterious and negative thoughts had accumulated after a series of events which included, feeling work pressure from her immediate bosses, overcoming personal grief and also battling online bullies.

The combination of these situations, ultimately took her down and the anxiety started creeping in and consumed her. It is not easy to detect mental illness, but I am sure it is every bit if not more painful than most medical ailments.

Sera confessed to me that she felt ashamed and angry for letting these situations get the better of her and also felt despair as the anxiety was consuming her.

This made me relook at what mental health facilities, clinics and services we had in Fiji. The answer was very disappointing indeed, as it is virtually nothing at all to cater for the near one million population of our nation.

Anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders and affect a staggering 30 per cent of adults at some point in their lives. The good news is anxiety disorders are treatable and a number of effective treatments are available on the open market.

Treatment helps most people and with a combination of natural therapies and prescription medicine a vast majority of individuals are able to lead normal and productive lives.

I did as much research as possible online and decided to recommend Sera try natural therapies for the anxiety and that included meditation, deep breathing, calm music, good thoughts, prayer and believe it or not, it helped her considerably.

Looking back at Sera’s personal tragedy and also her pressurised work environment I couldn’t really help her as much I would have liked to have done, but with the online bullying I was able to source and hire some very good IT specialists to track down the IP addresses of the perpetrators and ultimately take them to task.

What is the definition of a bully you may ask. Well here are just some of the ugly forms it can take:

  •  to oppress others who are unable to fight back;
  •  to persecute those who are unable to put up resistance;
  •  tyrannise, torment, intimidate those around you with your power and presence;
  • pressure people into doing deeds they otherwise wouldn’t do;
  • harass people with threats of repercussions; and
  • misusing of power that has been given to you for the good of people, but using it for your own intentions over one or more persons.

This is a sad reflection of the society we live in and it also shows that we are slowly but surely losing that caring and compassionate nature that we are all known for as a nation.

Maybe it’s time for all of us to look inward and think about what we are doing to each other with our sometimes reckless and anti-social behavior.

Today, Sera is recovering from the anxiety she suffered and thanks to her amazing spirit is able to bounce back and begin living her life to the full. She has turned the corner and hopefully will continue to blossom in her personal and professional life going forward.

Others, unfortunately are not so lucky and may not have the support system in place to recover from these mental health issues. One piece of advice I can give is to be open and share your feelings if you feel your mental health is not what it should be. Seek the help of a health professional or even a loved one if you feel you can open up to them.

Finally, mental health issues can be a silent killer and we should all be a little kinder to each other as we never know what others are going through whether it be in their public or private lives.

Remember it doesn’t cost anything to be kind.

  •  Ajay Bhai Amrit is a founding member of The Peoples Alliance party and is also a freelance writer. The views expressed in this article are his and does not necessarily reflect the views of this newspaper.

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