It’s an illness; not a weakness

It’s an illness; not a weakness

Every day you will hear the noise of ruthless judgment and never-ending stigma; somewhere a 10-year-old boy cannot concentrate on his studies even after losing his parents more than three years ago. That 45-year-old woman living in the old-age home has abandonment issues, which forbid her from making new relations. A 23-year-old girl is still having painful nightmares after being sexually abused almost six years ago and that 18-year-old boy has severe anxiety whenever he has to go on stage. All of us know that we experience these because of the rough phases we go through in our lives. Psychotherapy establishes anxiety, depression, anger or abandonment issues as illness and not as a weakness and it can be cured. Unfortunately, these people are still labeled as ‘the weak and the broken’, rather than people who need our help.


Psychotherapy is a general term for treating mental health problems by talking with a psychotherapist or any other mental health provider. Also known as talk therapy, psychotherapy helps people come to terms with what is troubling them. Takuya Minami, assistant professor of Counseling and Applied Psychology at Northeastern University, is trying to quantify how well psychotherapy works. His ultimate goal is to figure out how it works on people.


Some people call psychotherapy as useless, thinking why we need another stranger to solve our problems. However, the truth is that our hectic lives, our complicated relations with other people, and the traumas in life which we go through make our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors too complex for us to understand by ourselves. Experiences such as being kicked out by own children, losing one’s parents, being sexually abused or having performance anxiety affects both our cognitive, behavioral as well as emotional well-being which in turn may make normal living difficult for us.


Psychologists say that when they talk to their patients they can provide their perspective to their patients’ problems making their patients see how much more serious or futile their issues may be. Psychotherapy proves to be an effective way of helping patients cope with their issues which may be invisible to other people.


These days there are millions of people who share their mental illness survival stories on social media and even have their websites to guide people in the right direction. Unfortunately, the only people who may like it or believe it are the ones who are suffering from it or would have suffered from it in the past. However, people who aren’t in the same realm of life as those people may not comprehend it due to a lack of awareness about mental illness. The main reason why psychotherapy helps is that every one of us needs someone to talk to in order to share our every thought and feeling, whether good or bad. That is why seeking help from a mental health professional is always the brave and the better move.


Therefore, it is crucial that we treat people with mental illness with care and respect. These people aren’t weak, they are ill and that doesn’t make them bad or unfit to be or live with. Their mental health just makes them different from us in terms of our thinking, experiences, and emotional quotient which are greatly influenced by their upbringing, individual differences, and emotional upheavals. They are as human as us; they just have different stories.


Shivangi Sinha

Shivangi Sinha

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