Stigma Regarding Mental Illness


Sana was feeling very lethargic since many days. She isn’t enjoying family gatherings and didn’t even enjoy her time with kids, which she used to enjoy a lot. In short, everything changed in her life.

She discussed about her lack of energy and its effect on her personal life with her only best friend, who after listening to her recommend her to visit a psychiatrist.

Acceptance of this fact is really difficult that she need to visit “paglon ka doctor”.

But after two weeks she realized that her condition is getting more and more worst. She visited a general physician in her area and he gave her some multivitamin for weakness. But after a month she had a fight with her husband as she isn’t taking care of her kids and their needs and ignoring her husband continuously affecting her personal life. So she decided to visit a psychiatrist by believing that

I don’t need it,but lets see what he is going to tell me. I m going to visit him only once”.

Now waiting outside consultant clinic she covered her face with veil in order to hide her identity.

“what if someone identifies her????”

“people will gossip about her”

“my husband and in-laws are not going to accept me anymore”

‘what if my husband ask me for second marriage by saying that I am pagal”

Oh man, my life will become more miserable I better leave this place now, but luckily at the same time receptionist call her name. She all of a sudden become more fearful now.

But she gathered all her strength and walk in the clinic.

A man welcome her with a smile and ask her to please have a seat.

She started crying and saying ‘’I am not mad. I am weak. I am having calcium deficiency. My doctor told me. ‘”

Than doc. Said “Ok calm down, don’t worry. Relax and tell me why you feel that u need to visit a psychiatrist”.

Sana said. “Its just that my friend asked me to do so,but I know I don’t need it”.

Doc; “and why your friend feel that you need to do that????”

Sana; “I told you na I am weak that’s why she thinks that I am going to need one but I don’t need it”.


So the doctor started saying that; “ok first of all,let me tell you there isn’t only one thing “MAD” in mental illness.

According to WHO,

Depression in which a person isn’t so called “MAD”, it effects more than 300 million people of all ages. A news report published in express tribune claims that depression affects 44% of entire population in Pakistan. And besides depression, anxiety and other conditions are also there making one’s life miserable.

Sana: “but what if I am depress??? What people will say about me???”

Doc; “ok tell mw what if you are diabetic, what people will say about you really stops you from taking treatment???

Its just an illness like any other medical condition and its treatable with support and treatment if needed.

You need to do lifestyle modification too. Eat healthy diet, do daily exercise, make healthy sleeping pattern and you are going to see a drastic change in your life”

“but as depression results from decrease in serotonin level (a neurotransmitter in brain), so medications needed to establish adequate level of serotonin again. And yes one more important thing these medications are NOT ADDICTIVE. They can be left easily with advise from your doctor once your condition is stable but initially you are going to required it for minimum 9 months to one year duration”.

“you cannot recover from anxiety by just staying calm, you cannot recover from depression by just being positive. You cannot recover from anorexia nervosa by just eating more. If mental illnesses were that simple, we would not be struggling in the first place”

And Sana step out from the clinic having prescription in her hand and not regretting this decision of visiting a psychiatrist anymore.

Written By : Dr. Zaib Maqsood
Dr. Zaib Maqsood is a consultant psychiatrist who is working towards eradication of taboo attached with mental health issues.

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