World Mental Health Day: ‘I would advice everyone please don’t hide whatever you’re going through’, Says Kanchan Rai
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Kanchan Rai is a mental wellness coach who teaches ways to combat depression and helps overcome mental trauma.
Her initiative ‘Let us Talk’ has recently spoken to icons like Sonu Nigam and Yuvraj Singh in an attempt to bring out their battles with mental health and how they overcame it. Their journey and anecdotes will hopefully inspire more people to come out and accept their condition and seek help.
On the occasion of World Mental Health Day, Kanchan Rai opens up with UrbanAsian about her journey being a mental health coach, her battle with depression, Lets us Talk, treatments to mental illness and more.
– What does “mental health” mean to you?
Mental health in general defines your social wellbeing, your emotional wellbeing and your psychological wellbeing. So if I talk about my personal mental health what does it means to me, it means everything to me. If a person is good in terms of his emotional wellbeing he can achieve whatever he/she wants so I personally believe it’s absolutely true thing and it effects me, how do I think, how do I feel, how do I act. So if I am emotional or mentally good or fit so the process or out come of whatever I’m thinking is totally different. So of course it’s very important at each and every stage of life. Like since I have like been through the process i mean the whole thing of depression and all so now I realise and understand that how these things have effected me in terms of taking decisions, in terms of spending times with my family in terms of actually being me or real being me.
– Now with people losing jobs, homes, family during covid – what advice can you offer to them as they go through this tough journey?
So the best advice for them would be like you know first of all stay strong during this time we much remember that this is not our fault and we can’t blame ourselves for this financial crisis or anything happening nearby us. We can’t blame ourselves for being laid off we must safe guard our mental health in every possible way therapy or social connections are very important for our mental health but during this time of course we can we have to socially isolate ourselves but we have to make sure that we don’t isolate ourselves emotionally. We can develop a routine like unemployment can lead to a boredom or feeling of hopelessness or depression so we need to develop some new habits so that we can stay active and motivated this thing can be this activities can be anything which can make you happy like exercise or a regular walks or cycle, taking time to develop a new skill or working on a new project, taking care of our body requirements like having a good food and plenty of water, spending quality time with your loved ones that can be a very therapeutic thing, So like you know.. we are.. this is the only time when we can spend with our family without being bothered about going out with any other thing, spend time doing meditation or practicing yoga that is a.. like a very very important thing and spend time of activities.. on doing activities that bring joy to you. Don’t obsess over the job search because that is like you know pushing yourself into something which is.. which may not be good for your mental health so give time to yourself to adjust into situation of course get your finances into order in order to have a proper balance life in spite of loosing a job we have to make sure that we are not doing unnecessary spending and we are not just you know doing things which are good for our social status rather than our financial status so that is very important and you can actually try to reduce some monthly bills which includes your online shopping and anything which is not required at the moment, eliminate any negativity in your social interaction as well like if you feel, like whatever or whomsoever you talking to is not giving you any kind of positivity but it is creating a negative impact on your mind try to restraint yourself from that and be compassionate about what you are doing, like, you have to ignore the effects of loosing job but rather you have to focus on how to do or what to do in a longer run so that your family is not into any kind of burden or financial burden for a longer run so this is a phase which is going to pass we have to be very sure about it but yes we have to be mentally strong about it as well.
– During these hard times how can one recognize when they are suffering any sort of mental illness or stress or depression?
So first of all, mental illness are brain based condition that effects your thinking emotion and behavior, since we all have brain some kind of mental problem during our life is really very common so what are the signs and symptoms for it, it is like people are always confused thinking what they are going to do, how they are going to do the prolong depression like sadness or it’s like a irritation which is going on extreme high and low of mood or extreme high and low of feeling good or feeling bad, excessive fear, worries and anxieties is a symptoms of any kind of mental disease. A social withdrawal and a dramatic change in eating and sleeping habits feeling very strongly.. strongly feeling about anger, strange thoughts like delusions coming in your mind, seeing or hearing things which are actually not there and growing inability to cope up with your daily problems and activities, suicidal thoughts or any kind of unexplained psychical elements are considered to be sign of mental illness or mental problems or any kind of depression or anxiety so we have to take care of it. So.. like unusual behavior is a very common thing so if we have a person who is often not good with mental health he will be behaving extremely quite or he will be extremely, he will withdraw himself / herself extremely from any kind of conversation or any kind of activities they may burst into tears without any reason, they may actually you know start crying for no reason and they have a great anxiety or like they have outburst of anger which is again a sign of a mental illness or mental problem so we have to take care of it.
– How are you seeing clients virtually or in person?
Yes i did for now I see my clients or whom I consult is very much virtual its very very rare that we have a chance to go one to one or in person but if it’s virtual than too we make sure that the consultancy or counselling is absolutely private there is no one else, it’s not a group kind of a thing it’s always one to one but on a virtual mode.
– As a mental Wealth Coach what is the process in speaking to a client? How do you identify the concerns they have?
So first of all, the task of a coach is to keep on asking questions based on a particular set of questions, when the questions are said on the circumstances which like a coach keep on asking so we ask a very powerful questions under which can help our client to you know. Which can actually make our client very uneasy and the moment we feel they are very uneasy we try tl figure out or we try to understand the root cause of it so it’s a very broad spectrum and it is very difficult to define one or two methods because its not like one size fits all methods. We have to be very particular about the words being used, about the body language, about the voice and everything is kept in mind to figure out what are the triggers and how these things are not very well and what is the cause of problem and all. But before that we have a very like you know a proper process which we follow, always say that we have a team of psychologist and we have psychotherapist and we have therapist with us so before passing any person or any client to a coach we have to thoroughly study what the problem is and that is not been done individually by a person or a coach its a very scientific process and its a very proper process in which we understand the problem and the level of problem and then after the person is being guided towards a coach
– Tell us something about ‘Lets us Talk’. How it all started?
So “Let us talk” is basically a group of people or I would say a team of people those who are working on awareness of mental health. Yes, we have a team of Psychologist, we have a team of Psychiatrist, we have counselors, we have coaches with us and we have a process in which if a person is coming to us we will diagnose the problem first initially how big the problem is and then after we suggest remedies or cure according to the problem. Not only that we also try to highlight and we try to create awareness in the forms of organizing seminars in various fields of achievers where people or achievers come and talk about their struggle, they share their journey how they have been in the past. we talk to people in different field they share their journey they actually motivate people how to address the issue and they should not hide away from there problem and face and a kind of support is being created in the community about how important the mental is.
– What people should know about the treatment resistance to depression?
So if we talk about initially like most of people know how what the depression is but we should be aware about what are the basic or the principal things we have to keep in mind so perhaps you may not feel good even after the treatment is going working and perhaps if the treatment is going on hasn’t working all so that is the process called TRD which can leave you feel hopeless and discouraged even after months and years you can go without any relief and after the effort it took to get help can be demoralizing and when you are not getting better it is very depressing itself as well but if your depression treatment isn’t working please don’t give up many people can get there treatment resistance depression under control you with your doctor just need to find a right approach which might include different drug therapy or any other treatment you’re still struggling with depression dispute being treatment there are few things which we Beed to understand and special there are certain things which are to be kept in mind to understand what TRD is like Treatment Resistance Depression is so surprisingly that can be hard to answer that is for sure but there are still some searches research have being done in that case you know like the case who don’t respond to different kind of antidepressant but like two different things like tablets or medication or theories or like you know basic counseling may work along together you know three or four things can work along together experts say that the person need to try at least four different treatment before depression can be truly cured or treated so of course you don’t have to loose hope may be you might not feel better with the treatment but you have to understand that this treatment might fail but another treatment is definitely going help you so ya although the primary care a doctor would give with tablets and other theories there are points like these points which we have to overall which are very important for you to keep in mind before curing this kind of diseases.
So what is the best treatment for TRD?
So if you have been treated for depression but your symptoms are not improving are and your still resisting to actually cure your depression or even after going after a psychological counselling or psycho therapist or even after having a medicine you’re not able to cure yourself this is what the whole definition of TRD is so what do you do when it is not working combine medicines and antidepressants along with theories and don’t loose hope and try to create a different different combinations of theories and ask about the situation try to consider your response to the treatment review the medications you’re taking discuss whether the medicines you’re taking are prescribed or how they are going to help you and consider psychical health condition that is very important a consider the diagnoses of any other medical condition which might be hindering you to cure exact problem which you’re facing right now increase the dose and give current medication more time this is what you can actually do while understanding or taking care of your TRD problem.
– Mental Health concerns are increasing exponentially. Why is it that India thinks it’s wrong to talk about mental health? And how can we change it?
It’s this a very taboo to talk about mental health pre-covid it was like a big myth that a person who is talking about mental health is suffering from a deep illness like a madness or he has to isolate he shouldn’t be socially disclosing his problem and all the real reason is about, the real reasons lies in the culture itself so it is very difficult to define how and when these things will prevail but now post covid or during this time of lockdown i feel people have started understanding importance of mental health and they have started being vocal about it but of course they are so much more which is to be done in terms of actually creating awareness and actually understanding the subject in itself. Right now everyone are aware about the word but the significance of the word or the value which is actually involved with this one particular word called mental health is still very far from people to understand so yes word is very common right now but the significances to achieve the significance and to create an awareness about the particular or to create an awareness about the word mental health is still very far.
– You yourself have battled depression. What note would you like to share from the journey that would be advice able for the people dealing with it currently?
So my battle or my journey of depression that was really not easy because when I got depressed I don’t think. It was a very common subject and no one would talk about it and of course you have to aline society norms you’re not suppose to show it in front of anyone this is what I did actually and that was a very big mistake of mine I consider that. If i have to improve that thing I would definitely advice everyone please don’t hide whatever you’re going through it’s a very natural phenomena. It is nothing artificial or nothing in you’re control which you can do to actually hide it the more you will hide the more difficult it is going to be on yourself and the more it’s harsh you’re going to be on yourself so please don’t hide it talk about it, share about it and comfort yourself about it, there is nothing to feel guilty about being depressed there is nothing to feel guilty about getting into a zone which is not so good in terms of mental health it’s not easy to tolerant anxiety attacks so don’t face it alone and don’t suppress it and don’t just keep it to yourself be vocal about it, be expressive about it and don’t try to aline yourself with any norms which are actually hindering your mental growth or mental wellbeing so just omit those norms and focus on yourself and your wellbeing. If you’re okay everything is going to fall aline and every problem is going to fall aline just keep this thing in your mind because there are so many lives related to you, there are so many other people who are indirectly or directly dependent upon you so to take care of them you have to take care of yourself so don’t ever shy or don’t ever feel you know apologetic for taking care of yourself first over anyone else so yes you’re important and if you’re important the people with you are always important so have always understand that importance of your wellbeing is extremely important than anything else
– People generally hesitate to accept the fact that they have any sort of mental illness or we can say now slowly slowly people are opening to it. In your career span have you ever come across any unique case that you can share with us?
Yes people are hesitated to accept about there mental illness and now as you rightly said yes people are slowly slowly opening it up in my career if I have to talk about one particular case I would like to talk about a lady she was very well aware about the mental health illness or mental health problems and counselling, importance of counselling and all. She wanted me to counsel her husband for them to maintain a health relationship or health married life and it was going very well and all of a sudden I got to know that the lady herself committed suicide which was a very big shock for me as well its because the person who understands the importance of mental health because a person who is very much aware about the process of counseling and benefits of counseling being aware about everything and anything still she was not able to figure out is going inside her and she took this drastic step so your know sometimes it becomes very easy for us to guide to others but when it comes to ourselves we take ourselves very lightly so ya this was the case which actually you know provoked me to create awareness about your own self like we have to worry about society, we worry about people living around us but at the most important thing is to worry more about our own self which is extremely extremely important so ya this was the case I would like to share and if by any means we can share an awareness that you’re important than anything else would solve the purpose.
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