Social Acceptance and Mental Illness

Sometimes we underestimate the values that the society around us tries to embed within us as individuals. Everything we have grown into is influenced by our surroundings. The ‘rules and regulations’ we need to follow to be classified as a ‘good’ person might have an everlasting impression on how we modify our behaviors to in fact live judiciously – all this I feel strives towards a form of social acceptance.

Our need to be accepted in the society we live in is immeasurable and leaves an indelible mark. Why is this? why do we need to be accepted by our fellow human beings? The answer might seem simple but the process is very complex. Being socially accepted does not mean pleasing others but rather pleasing ourselves and liked for who we are.

Throughout history mental illness has been closely correlated to social acceptance. Many mental illnesses are consequences of our individual social skills. This is why developing a social network is very important but it can be difficult especially if one does not learn the skills required to overcome their lack of social skills.

Having met a few people with mental illness I have come to understand that being socially accepted for who they are is not an easy task. There is a lot of stigma still attached to say bipolar disorder or depression which are not very accurate, and which the society has failed to cure completely. Medications and official consultation does not go very far in curing the cause although symptoms might improve. Some stigmas attached with mental illness are:

  • The individual is “abnormal” and cannot function normally
  • Mental Illness is a disability which cannot be cured
  • Medication is a long term requirement and if stopped the person might become violent
  • Unable to cope with daily routine activities
  • The person cannot be trusted, is lonely and cannot make friends

These are some of the stigmas attached to mental illness which are not accurate. They are also closely related to social acceptance. Society has taught us that if we accept victims of mental illness then we might put ourselves in danger. That people of mental illness will not prove to be long lasting friends and so forth. Such stigma needs to stop.

I have met many people with illnesses where they can function perfectly well even under stress. I had realized that I myself used to have such stigma but have slowly realized and come to accept people for who and what they are, regardless of whether they have a mental disorder.

Acceptance for the way people naturally are is the key here – stigma is surrounded around discrimination, when one fails to see the reality of things and remains ignorant. It is a fact that more than 450 million across the globe suffer from mental illnesses. It is also a fact that many of these people do not receive proper medical or social attention that they need. Many prefer to be ‘under cover’ without disclosing their illness to the public.

If we can just do our bit and support the people who have been unfortunate enough to be affected by mental illness – for instance if we could even make one friend with a mental illness,I feel we would make the world a better place.

Note: This post was originally published on Medium

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meeting a friend

There is something special in socializing and exchanging ideas. Most of us have our own individual thoughts and beliefs but what we say and how we portray ourselves to the world is different. I just met up with a friend today, we spoke for a long time and even though he said a lot of things, I felt there were some “in-between the lines” “secret” meanings I had to take away from it without him ever telling me anything about what he really wanted to say or what his actual intention was. Somethings go without saying. Body language and hidden meanings through senses speaks louder than words.

We spoke for quite a while about books, what we have been up to, movies etc. Just like friends do. But the fact that he needed me more than I thought he did, and the hidden meanings he was trying to convey were a bit strange since he had never acted so different before. But nevertheless, I still enjoyed it. There is a sense of joy when you know that you understand people in-depth, more than what they are trying to say. There are signs everywhere. If the feeling is mutual, even more ecstatic.

Relationships are a funny thing, emotions, feelings and thoughts have everything to do with them. Some people say we attract our relationships towards us. Although I don’t understand it completely, there are a lot I do understand, and I’m willing to learn more about how to develop successful relationships.

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Contentment

Part 1

There was a deep sense of contentment in him. He wasn’t married, hardly ever had a girlfriend, he was a 27 year old virgin. Yes, he’d had relationships of course but they never were successful enough to last. That was one of the sorrows he’d endured. He knew he would find someone. Maybe he would have to wait a long time, longer than most of his friends who were already married or had someone and were definitely not virgins. He had attracted all the things that had happened in his life. So, really, he had no one else to blame. He created his own life.

But nonetheless, he was satisfied. Very frighteningly satisfied with who he was. He could drink a cup of coffee, sit with himself for hours, go to a museum and still feel completely happy and joy for the way he lived his life. He was content but felt a pang of loneliness. Loneliness not because he felt lonely, but because of what other people might perceive him to be. He cared a lot about other people.

He had a dark past. The future he knew would get a lot better. He had amended his mistakes for the sins he had committed. Even though he always had problems with maintaining relationships he knew he would get there. Get to the place where most people feel happy in sharing secrets, sharing their life with others. He had a sense of hidden satisfaction, where he didn’t feel the need to share things with other people. He only had to share things with himself, and that made him happy. However, he still wanted to get married, he still wanted to have a wife, a soul-mate, SOMEBODY to call his own! Often he would sing the song “Can anybody find somebody for me” but only in the 4 walls of his room.

There she was. His soul-mate. He knew it, the minute he laid eyes on her that she was the one. They met by accident. But he had to wait, and waiting was something he detested. He hated waiting. I mean, who likes waiting? He had to make the right moves this time. He had to see that it works out.

Lets see what happens in the part 2…….

Unrequited Love

ul2He’s in the room! She feels a kind of shiver go through her spine. All around her body this jitter of nervousness. Her stomach gets a bit sick looking at him, she’s been waiting to see his face the entire day. All she can think, feel and do surrounds his aura.

He notices her too, but nonchalantly pretends to be busy with other things. Her sick obsession makes him wonder, why me? Why cant she just be normal around me like she is with other people, for instance the way she is with her friends? I like her as a friend, nothing more. I dont like her the way she likes me, not in the same way because I already have Alisha my childhood sweetheart.

She goes up to him! Her feelings blinders her. “Do you happen to have notes for Doolittle’s class” she asks him! James gives her a classmate smile, tells her he doesn’t have the notes, hoping she’ll take the hint.

She makes a sad face but takes the hint. She’s tried so hard, yet he’s been so distant. Maybe its time to move on, she thinks. Time to avoid ‘Too good for her’ James.

A few months later, another fish in the sea happens to like her and they get together. Plenty of fishes in the sea, they talk about James and laugh at the foolishness.

Obsession over unrequited love is one that can affect anyone. Probably everyone of us has experienced some kind of rejection. Some kind of break up.

It takes time to move on, but its possible. Keep hope alive!

Plenty of fishes in the sea! There really are.

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Bystander Effect

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Relationships can be complicated for sure. The way different couples deal with their problems is very interesting.

Just today, I was sitting at a coffee shop drinking my usual cappuccino when a couple walked in front of me and started to fight.  It was a very peculiar fight and the way they dealt with it was definitely immature. I started to wonder, if getting into relationships was so easy and nasty, why haven’t I ever experienced anything like that?

So this is what happened:

Boy: “Give me MY phone back!!!”

Girl: “No, (She starts running around) don’t worry I wont check anything”

Boy: “Yes you will. Give me MY phone BACK!! NOW!”

Girl: NO NO
..There was a long 2 min fight after which the boy scratches the girl and takes his phone back!

I was a witness to this act. A lot of things went through my mind when this happened.

Firstly, I think it was extremely immature of the girl to take the boy’s phone to check his messages (probably suspecting he was cheating on her)

Secondly, the boy was a complete idiot who obviously doesn’t like her for who she is as he seemed to care more about the phone than his girlfriend. He was clearly hiding something. Something was definitely fishy.

Moreover, he SCRATCHED her! It’s something an animal would do! And it still happens in this day and age with couples! How ridiculous!

See what guilt can do?

It’s probably none of my business but it definitely spurred many thoughts in my brain regarding relationships, cheating, guilt and consequences. Moreover, I was a witness. It’s kind of the psychological bystander effect taking place here.

As a bystander, I followed the bystander effect, just finished my coffee quickly and left the coffee place silently, without interfering. To my surprise no one stopped the couple from fighting.

 

 

New Romance – A poem

You look at me, I notice

We share a moment, you know this.

There is a romantic tension between us, you like it.

Finally it’s your chance to make a move and at someone like me!

Someone you’ve waited all your life, someone who fits your rules and regulations

Someone who’s good enough for you

Someone who’s beautiful, of course I’d say I’m beautiful

It’s not just me who says that I’m beautiful, you know I’m beautiful.

You want me

You try hard

I smile a lot at you, I lead you on, but I’m just playing.

It’s a game I like to play, so what?

You don’t know this. You think I’m genuinely interested.

Yes, but I like your  company, you like mine.

You make me smile.

Lets go have a drink

Lets go dance in a pub

Drink and Dance and get lost into the night!

That’s what I want. Some good fun.

That’s what we will do.

What are you waiting for? It’s night, isn’t it, let’s make it one to remember!

I say thank you.

I like being polite.

You like that too. I like your smile, and I kiss you lightly.

We say goodnight and go our own ways.

End of a goodnight!

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