An Instagram A-Z on Mental Health

We love this Instagram series for mental health awareness by Sonaksha Iyengar, a Bangalore writer, illustrator, and graphic designer.

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Broadly falling between depression and mania, mood disorders go beyond just “a bad day” or a “fabulous day.” Significant fluctuations in a person’s mood with greater intensity and for longer periods end up causing disruptions in daily activities. Please don’t ask anyone with a mood disorder to “get over it.” It doesn’t work that way.

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One of the biggest problems with the way we approach mental health is that we assume the person is lying or faking it. That their pain and struggle is not real because they might not be screaming, or bleeding. Stop. Stop filling our quietness with your erroneous assumptions. Stop thinking that just because we appear calm on the outside, we’re fine on the inside too. Just because we might not have a visible gash, it doesn’t mean that we’re not hurting on the inside. Our heads might be jumbled in a ball of knots, tugging against each other but we may still remain quiet. It doesn’t make our pain any less real.

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“I’m doing everything wrong.”

“Everyone’s laughing at me.”

“I think I left the door open.”

Anxiety comes in different shapes and sizes.

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If you know of someone who has or has had an eating disorder, please do not make fun of it or of them. It’s not “cool.” There are various ways eating disorders manifest and it’s important to address them and know not to take it lightly. Support them, in anyway they might require.

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Bipolar disorder is NOT another way to describe a mood swing or a temper tantrum. So please don’t.

Iyengar’s A-Z project was featured recently on BuzzFeed. Here’s what she had to say:

“I think it’s so important to be sensitive to how another person is feeling and sometimes when it comes to mental illnesses, people can be so harsh.

“‘Get over it’ is not how it works and I think being more aware and acknowledging mental health will help us make a start in the direction towards kindness and empathy.

“It is time to have honest conversations with each other about the importance of mental health. I think the first step is to be more aware, so with the series, I hope to address it.”