Thinky Post: Mental Health, Shahrukh Khan, and Family Influence

A thinky post! What fun for us all! This is mostly Shahrukh, but also a little bit general. So you can talk about Shahrukh, or general mental health thinkies. Whatever is fun for you!

When you are very very young and trying to figure out the world, you define yourself by the people around you. Meaning what your family does is “normal”. So, for instance, I think of myself as “normal” height, bordering on slightly small. I’m 5 feet 9 inches, but two of my cousins and one of my aunts are 5 feet 10 inches (my sister is a miniscule 5 feet 8 inches and 3 quarters, HA!). And every man on my Dad’s side of the family is 6 feet plus. It wasn’t until I started spending a lot of time with friends and referring to them as “short” that I was informed my “normal” isn’t the “normal” for most people. Doesn’t matter of course, they are still short and I am normal height, as I remind them constantly. That’s how I defined my world as long as I can remember and it would take an enormous amount of effort to change it.

When Abhishek Bachchan appreciated Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in public for her  culinary skills | Hindi Movie News - Times of India
The only normal height couple in India

It’s not that big a deal related to height (although my short friends sometimes get irritated with me when I mention their shortness and pat them on their little heads), but it is a very big deal related to mental health. Height is obvious, it’s visible to everyone, it’s clearly measurable. I can read studies that say the the average height for women in America is 5 feet 4 inches. In my head, I read that and think “it’s too bad most women in America aren’t normal height”. But on the other hand, when I see my short 5 feet 6 inches mother, I don’t say “you need to go to the doctor! You are FREAKISHLY TINY!!!” Because I can overcome my instinctive reaction with cold hard facts and know that it’s okay to be little.

But there are no cold hard objective visible facts related to mental health. You see the people closest to you and how they behave, but you never really see anyone else, not that close. And so what your parents are like, what you observe as a small child, imprints on your mind as “normal”. Or at least, not abnormal.

Of course, you can also observe your own mind and decide what is “normal” within yourself. I’m gonna use myself as an example. I grew up observing my parents as being people who never got angry, like the two times in my childhood they actually got angry have imprinted themselves on my brain it was so unusual (only time I saw my mother angry, when Nixon died and the radio started talking about what a great president he was. She even said a swear word!). They also never got really sad. Okay, I remember one time, when the wrong person was elected governor. But that was them being sad, and then kind of laughing at themselves and saying they should forget about it and keep living their lives (also “normal” for me, that your entire emotional life revolves around elections). And I grew up observing my own mind and knowing what was “normal” and what wasn’t. For me, “normal” means a generalized state of happiness. “Happiness” as defined by “laughing and smiling 90% of the day”.

This is my normal level of happiness. Hopefully less irritating than Alia.

So now I am on Prozac. And it’s because my definition of “normal” mental health, as set by my childhood brain and observations, was going away. It went away very slowly, I probably should have started taking medication ages ago, but now that I am on meds and my brain is “normal” again, I am surprised by how little a difference they make, and how big an effect they have. For instance, pre-pills I would have something like a friend not responding right away to a text and I would start spinning out thinking “oh no, she hates me, we’re not friends any more, I should do something to try to repair the gap”. And then I would think “no, that is not a ‘normal’ thought, you should ignore it and resist your instinct and do nothing”. And I would do nothing and there would be no visible to the outside world reaction, and in a couple hours I would stop worrying about it. But the energy it took! To constantly be policing my brain to drag it back to “normal”! Now I don’t have to have those thoughts, and then work hard to correct them, I can just live my life effortlessly “normal”. But what I define as “normal”, if you see what I mean. Maybe other people in the world always worry about if their friends hate them, or second guess their decisions, or sometimes get angry or sad or whatever. But that’s not “normal” for me, for my brain, and for what I have observed from a young age in my parents as “normal”.

Now, let’s talk about Shahrukh Khan! Because he is so very very famous, and because he is so very very willing to talk about personal things, we know a remarkable amount about the mental health of his family. We know his sister has depression to the point of not being able to function in the world, needing care. But what I find interesting is that Shahrukh clearly has a milder form of depression, and I suspect his father did as well. Only, if his father defined “normal” for him as a small child, and his sister defined “abnormal” for him as a young man, than Shahrukh himself would not see his behavior as “abnormal”.

Shahrukh talks about his memories of his father being very very sad every time a business failed. He specifically remembers after the trip to Pakistan when he was a teenager, his father sitting down and crying as they waited to cross the border, saying he has no home. And he believes his father died shortly there after of a broken heart, in his mind somehow the heartsickness of sadness caused his cancer.

theFridayFeature — Meer Taj Mohammed Khan | by Amey Pandit | Meraki | Medium

Shahrukh’s father’s life experience was such that it could easily have caused mental issues, a shift in a developing brain, beyond genetics. He was in college in Delhi when Partition happened, his friends took to sleeping on the floor around his bed at night, so that if the death squads came for him, they would wake up and protect him. That’s a lot. Knowing that there are death squads looking for you, knowing that there are other people who don’t have friends like yours who are dying, and knowing that your friends are risking their lives for you. And then after Partition, he was told he could not go back to his home, Pakistan would not give him a Visa because he had followed the wrong fighter for independence. So here is a very young man, brain still developing, who has survivor’s guilt, PTSD, and the generalized sadness of the immigrant banished from home and family. So of course he would cry sometimes, of course he would have black black moods, of course he would have a series of business failures that wore him down more and more.

Then there’s Shahrukh. He has talked about when a movie fails, he locks himself in a room alone for days because he doesn’t want his family to see him. Okay, he is learning from his childhood, he clearly remembers how hard it was to see his father in a black mood and doesn’t want his own children to see that. But he hasn’t learned that this is not “normal”. That being a man and the head of a family does not automatically come with periods of depression so deep you are afraid to let your children see them. It’s like my thing with height, only without the objective statistics you can use to help you see past your own prejudices.

I just find this really interesting. You get treatment for something when it isn’t “normal”, but “normal” is a moving target for each person. There’s your own experience, there’s your family that imprinted on you, and then there are the general societal messages. With mental health, it is so hard to figure out when you are “normal” or not, because it is different for each person. I would think that a family with severe mental illness in it would lead to people being extra willing to seek treatment. But looking at Shahrukh, it seems like maybe sometimes it is the opposite? His sister is sick enough to need constant care and treatment, but anything short of that is “normal” and requires no treatment.

Pin on Celebrity Couples + Family Pictures

I also wonder what is considered “normal” in Indian society in general? Is a general pessimism and bleakness thought of as okay, as a healthy attitude? Is someone going through periods of depression so great they don’t leave the house thought of as a massive red flag or as not that unusual? All I know is pop culture, but then pop culture has a huge effect on what is seen as “normal”. And in the movies, you have heroes drinking and depressed over a failed romance to the point of destroying their lives, and that’s considered unusual but not “go see a doctor” unusual. Certainly I never see anyone going to therapy (except for Dear Zindagi), and even going to a psychiatrist in a film is something I’ve seen maybe twice (both times of course it was a mistake and the pills did nothing). And mental illness is more along the lines of “crazed delusions” rather than “depression” or “anxiety”.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got! The way that mental health in particular is imprinted as “normal” or “not normal” based on our earliest experiences, the way society influences it, Shahrukh as an example of someone who probably should get treatment but sees himself as “normal”, and a general curiosity about what is seen as “normal” in Indian culture versus American culture, which is what I know. Lots to think about and discuss!

22 thoughts on “Thinky Post: Mental Health, Shahrukh Khan, and Family Influence

  1. I have a dear friend, a South Indian man in his thirties who’s lived here for 4 years. The events we have just lived through are appalling to me. But political, corruption, rioting, crime, color and cultural divisiveness, poverty, etc., don’t bother him at all. They are NORMAL! He doesn’t condone them, but he grew up with them so, what’s the big deal?

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    • Do you think that has an effect on the perception of mental health? Like, for me, the past 4 years lead me to anxiety to a degree that was not “normal” to me for the previous 30 years of my life, and therefore I went to a doctor. But if you grew up in a place of such uncertainty, would a level of depression and anxiety be your mental health normal? Or would your mind adjust so they don’t bother you?

      On Mon, Nov 9, 2020 at 12:50 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. `
    Besides mental illness being a moving target, you also have mental illness treatment being a moving target. Homosexuality in western cultural was a treatable mental illness — until it wasn’t. (not to mention “the vapors,” “hysteria,” “over-sexed,” etc.) I always wonder how many of the mental health treatment “norms” of today will be considered ridiculously unenlightened in the future. (Does anybody get lobotomies anymore?)

    And it’s so weird that where you happen to be geographically located can determine whether you’re mentally healthy or seriously mentally ill. If you have a broken leg, it’s a broken leg whether you are in Japan, Australia, or Mumbai. But if you’re “depressed” or “manic” or even homosexual, it can be considered from widely varying perspectives.

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    • Yes! And the treatments vary as well, what medications require seeing a doctor versus what is over the counter. Maybe the kind of issues that in one country mean you need to go to a doctor to get treatment, in another country you can just diagnosis yourself and quietly take care of it.

      On Mon, Nov 9, 2020 at 12:55 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. I think Shah Rukh’s sister has been far sicker than he has let on. Which of course is his prerogative but I think it does speak to a sense of privacy on that kind of illness just as Dr.Jug describes it in Dear Zindagi. You can give graphic details about gall bladders but not about bipolar disorders . He has spoken publically about how that movie changed his view on mental issue. Not enough I’m afraid for him to treat his depression with something other than caffeine, cigarettes and work.

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    • Something I find fascinating is that Aamir Khan’s brother also has mental illness to the point of needing a guardian. So far as I remember, this is known because he and his father went to court over guardianship. Anyway, like Shahrukh, Aamir lives a very public life but his sibling’s issues are never discussed. It’s not just that they don’t discuss it, the media doesn’t touch it either. You can spread rumors of them having illegitimate children and affairs and all kinds of things, but you don’t touch their family mental illness.

      Agree about his depression treatment! It’s so clear, always working and drinking coffee and smoking. I’ll add also working out and never sleeping, and probably using alcohol occasionally to come down. Think how different his daily life would be if he didn’t have to spend so many hours avoiding his own head!

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  4. I am not sure that locking yourself in your room for a couple of days when a movie fails is not normal. People work so hard on films, the film is their child, I’m not sure it is something that is easy or even possible to separate yourself from. Now I think SRK is or has taken medication for mental health, based solely on his David Letterman response where he said he wasn’t and he was so clearly lying. Also, based on his response, I suspected there was a huge stigma against men needing mental health assistance in his community.

    Now, I have a bone to pick with how I was raised and in a greater sense how I feel Americans or at least Californians view mental health. One of the things I LOVED about living in Berlin was being able to be depressed. I didn’t have to be happy all the time. It was seen as normal to not be happy every single day. I was not depressed when I lived in Berlin, but I was BEFORE I moved there. And I could tell that not having to pretend that I was happy, when I wasn’t, made me happier overall. That goes against everything my father and culture taught me. If you aren’t happy in California then something is wrong with you. If you force yourself to smile then the feelings will come, so I was told.

    Right now I am mostly depressed, but I think I would need mental health assistance if I wasn’t, because life is challenging. My small community is split down the middle with both sides HATING the other, and the polite freindliness that got us through this in the past is now hanging on by a thread. My husband cannot see his ill and maybe, but hopefully not, dying father because my husband works in the schools and is too COVID dangerous, but his father misses him, and doesn’t accept that he can’t see him. It is not a happy time. There are happy moments, beautiful walks with children, fun playing board games, great meals etc, but overall all, not happy. But my culture says I am supposed to pretend, that I am supposed to say everything is fine, that I am supposed to say, well this is sad, but we are so grateful for everything we have. And I am grateful, but I resent that I’m supposed to say it, ALL THE TIME. Americans cannot handle unhappiness. We view it as a deficiency of character. We have the worst and most perfunctory rituals for handling grief. So I reject my culture’s assumptions. And in that sense I think locking yourself in your room for a couple days because your blood sweat and tears was rejected by humanity is a normal reaction. Suicide, no, but some time alone, okay.

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    • Yes to being happy all the time! As far back as you go, when you read stuff written about Americans by non-Americans, they talk about how happy and upbeat we all are all the time. And of course, California is the absolute tops with that. Where it bothers me is that I tend to be the one person people trust with allllllllllllll their darkness. So, like, we are at an event, and everyone is relentlessly upbeat and “this is great, I am having the best time, you are all wonderful folks”. And then I am in the car alone with someone after and they just dump all their “I hate everyone there, I’m fighting with my husband, life sucks” on top of me. There’s no middle ground, it’s like 90% of the time you have to be completely totally “life is perfect”, and then that remaining 10% is saved up and all comes shooting out in an unhealthy burst. There were a couple of groups I was part of where it got really toxic, no matter how I tried to steer the conversation away from war, cancer, death, and other fun things, it just kept going back. Like, somehow this group had become the defined time when all the darkness came out unrelentingly. And these were people who in other situations were always upbeat and happy!

      I know you understand what I mean, because it’s the foundation of my “Happy Place” rules here, and you are so good at following them! I absolutely want people to come to this community and express that they are having a tough time, I want to give them sympathy. That’s good, you shouldn’t feel like you have to put on a smiley face just to be here. But on the other hand, I don’t want this to be the place we come to secretly express our deepest fears and sorrows in this toxic never ending loop of misery, before squeezing them up tight and being happy the rest of the time.

      By the way, I grew up in a community that is probably kind of like yours is right now. Not a small town, but a state capital, so politics was everything. Most people were conservative, my family and our friends were liberals, but you got through the PTA meetings and the neighborhood block parties and all kinds of other stuff by just smiling and not talking about things. That’s where I started to notice this balance I’m talking about. If we had to go to our little liberals only groups and be relentlessly happy all the time, it was exhausting and made you more depressed. But at the same time if we just got together to share stories of the misery of the world, also depressing. You need a healthy balance.

      For Shahrukh, and this is just an impression, but I think what worried me when I heard him describe locking himself up for 4 days was that it wasn’t “I didn’t want to be around people” but more “I didn’t think it was safe for people to be around me”. Which feels very different. Saying “I need to spend a few days getting over this” is totally healthy, but locking yourself away from your wife and children because you don’t feel safe around them is not. Even if only because he needs to accept it is okay to be sad and okay for his kids to see him that way.

      On Tue, Nov 10, 2020 at 4:03 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Fair enough about the SRK opinions. I didn’t see the clip where he said that he locked himself up for 4 days, AND that makes a difference. I can’t tell you why I believe he was lying on the Dave Letterman interview, but I believe he was. Seeing someone’s face makes a difference in how you perceive their words. This is one of the reasons I only read news, rather than watch it. And, as an avid reader of news (A somewhat useless activity, it earns me nothing and takes up so much time), I am just fascinated by your growing up in the capital story. I’ve never thought of your state as particularly conservative. Now I’m inclined to research it’s political history. (Again this will take me a fair amount of time and earn me nothing).

        People tend to tell me their truths in person too. But I’m also somewhat aloof, so they don’t have many options to do so. I suppose my aloofness helps. One of my husband’s best friends has mental health realities (called issues by others but I don’t like the phrase). He and I would sometimes talk about them in snatches during bar parties in our 20s. He is now married to a Sajol of JHMS wonderful woman. That movie speaks truth to me in so many ways… A woman told me about her stillbirth in front of the bathroom at a soccer game. I had interacted with her about five times four years before when I was manager of the bookstore and she ordered stuff for the tribe. I researched grief groups for her, but didn’t have the dedication to follow up and take her to one. I kinda failed. But that failure also kept me sane.

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        • I just have to include that I ALSO didn’t have the still birth woman’s phone number. But it is a small town, I could have gotten it with two or three phone calls.

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          • One of my friends just failed to get COVID tested because every center around me is booked up for days, and the urge to solve the problem is well-nigh unbearable!!!! I need to just let her go and let her take care of it, but I want to do something!

            On Tue, Nov 10, 2020 at 8:47 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • I don’t mind when people tell me their truths, but I do mind when they try to make me part of a kind of orgy of misery. Like, instead of telling the really sad story of their life, they tell me the really sad story they just read in the paper, and then extrapolate out from that a bunch of even sadder hypotheticals, and end with a completely pessimistic prediction for the future. Just stop! Either you are really unhappy and dancing around the reason for it, or you aren’t unhappy and are actually enjoying depressing other people. There was one woman I knew for literally 8 years before learning that she had a severely disabled daughter. But by golly every time I met her there was some new depressing story she’d read in the paper and just had to share. Does that make sense?

          Agree about the way someone says something! And I completely believe your interpretation of Shahrukh’s answer being a lie. I certainly want it to be a lie, if only because of the experiences of his life (losing his parents young, mentally ill sister), a touch of medication would not go amiss it all.

          On Tue, Nov 10, 2020 at 8:39 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • That story of the woman bombarding you with depressing stories, and only after 8 years you learn she has a disabled daughter, hits like a hammer. Yes, it makes sense.

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        • Oh, I never mentioned the growing up in the capital thing. IL is a lot like New York and probably other states. The massive city is filled with extreme liberals. The rich suburbs are filled with extreme conservatives. And then the general more kind of rural zones are moderate conservatives. The capital in particular was under control of moderate Republicans for decades, so the tone of the town was generally moderate Republican. I grew up in an area where gun control, birth control, and prayer in school were issues that my family did not necessarily agree with our neighbors and you learned to just not talk about it. It was a really useful experience, opened my mind about stuff like hunting (not that bad, and hunters are not the stereotype at all), and taught me how to make friends with people by just not talking about a whole bunch of stuff.

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  5. A few things from reading this entry and thread:

    But before anything else, thank you Margaret for the wonderfully accurate phrase and concept of “Orgy of Misery ™”. 😁🤣 I will do my best to avoid those and not further contribute to any myself!

    1) This is a fascinating take on mental illness and one’s own family experience / perspective, one’s culture and society, the time/era, geographic location, etc. Those factors all contribute to the potential (and reality) for considerable subjectivity on the topic of mental health. My take is that each person needs to assess (via personal insight, experience and observations, online and/or other resources, research, professional help, support groups, etc.) what they feel they need / is right for them. Or, as a friend in AA says (and according to AA) one has a problem – that one needs to find solutions for – when their life becomes “unmanageable”. I would go further and say that one has a problem when one feels that their life is going to GET unmanageable if they don’t seek solutions/make changes before things get any worse and/or before things could become unmanageable.

    Which also reminds me of something helpful (to me anyway) that’s been said by a well known clinical psychologist (that I won’t name here because this person is famous and can also be famously unnecessarily controversial): That when one knows or suspects one is struggling with mental health challenges, and they are aware of possible solutions, and those solutions are available to them, it’s one’s moral obligation (to themself and others) to pursue those solutions and do the work and/or take the treatment required to solve/manage one’s issues/challenges. (I find this helpful to remind myself of when there are things I’m aware of that I need to be doing myself but am tempted to neglect, dismiss, take for granted, underestimate, etc. ).

    As to mental health and Indian culture: as another American, I’ve also noticed the mental health cultural subjectivity phenomenon in Indian films and pop culture (made clearer and better illuminated in this blog). Like the types of subject matter that are just casually included in the Indian equivalent of American PG rated films but that American PG films would NEVER include and would more than likely earn an American film an R rating. Which seems to suggest a big difference in what the two cultures even consider “too adult” and/or depressing, emotionally disturbing, etc. for different age groups and audiences. (Okay, I’m getting in the weeds here – Margaret probably has MANY blog posts, etc. on ratings content differences between the U.S. and Indian films).

    2) Berlin: I’ve heard many good things about that place. That you’re not expected to be happy 24/7 is just one more good thing. 🙂. That also brings to mind a woman I met who lived in Germany and while on the topic of healthcare in different countries, told me how a high stress job she worked in there contributed to essentially what, for her, was some kind of a mental breakdown (I don’t know more specifics) where she could no longer work. But, working with the government-provided mental healthcare resources available to her, she was able to get the professional care she needed, was eligible for govt. financial help during the recovery process, a stay in some type of institution was involved, and two years after she was basically incapacitated, she was rehabilitated, wholly productive and self sufficient again and she couldn’t sing enough praises for the services that had been available to her and that had helped her. She said without them she didn’t know where she’d be now. My point I guess is that, if mental health services in Germany are that advanced (and I hope they are), then that’s good that there are at least some places in the world doing something (so far?) that’s working.

    3) Re: SRK. I also agree with the interpretation of the Letterman interview – I laughed (small laugh) when I read that comment because that had been my immediate, initial impression as well. I also thought it was funny how Dave (reputation-wise, career-wise, cultural stigma-wise, etc.) could take for granted how he could afford to talk so openly and casually/freely about his own mental health and use of medication (which he has gone into detail on in interviews of himself) whereas SRK was just not gonna go there no matter what. 😁 Of course there’s no way to know if he was lying and I always feel that anyone has a right to lie anyway when publicly asked personal questions (especially when high stakes are involved and simply because it’s also nobody’s business / one has a right to their privacy, etc.), but that WAS my exact immediate impression – that SRK was either not telling the truth or that the answer wasn’t that simple, or that that topic alone could take up its own hour, etc. But yeah, (it seemed) there was more to that answer that he wasn’t going to say.

    It’s funny – it’s just a hypotheses of course, but I swear I’ve seen that same expression of his multiple times in different interviews – it’s like he has a tell with his eyes when it comes to questions or topics that he has a lot (or at least more or something else) to say but that he’s not going to. The Johnathan Ross interview comes to mind where SRK VERBALLY ever so lightly and good humoredly laughed off the horrific invasion of privacy that is the newer X-ray style full body scan at UK airport security. But HIS EYES were saying that Britain had better get rid of that NOW! – not just for him but for every celebrity on the planet and you know, maybe just the average human being too!

    Two mental health related things I’ve seen SRK say in interviews that I’m reminded of here are:

    a) that in the interview with Brad Pitt, when the subject of movie releases was being discussed, SRK suggested to Brad that one way to come down from the emotions and stress of a movie release is to take a hot bath which is what he (SRK) does. That was one of those small, quick, unimportant, blink and you’ll miss it, but “potentially loaded with meaning” type comments – as taking a hot bath is actually a scientifically proven method to calm down your parasympathetic nervous system when dealing with stress (including panic attacks) and indicates srk might’ve known that as a result of having researched or sought professional and / or science based solutions for that. And also Brad Pitt has gone public with his drinking problem which might’ve been known then or not, but two high profile, high stakes, long career “stars” are both going to have had similar issues with and similar kinds of stress, so comparing notes on “what works” would seem a natural topic, but something I imagine shared in more detail in private conversations, after the public forums.

    b) In an interview (might’ve been with Lady Gaga – sorry I can’t recall exactly) I remember the other person just offhandedly and briefly mentioning that they go to therapy and talk about their feelings in therapy and asking srk if he does that too and srk mentioning that talking about his feelings to a professional wasn’t something that he personally found helpful. Which might be neither here nor there but might mean he’s tried that and or stopped because it wasn’t helpful or found another method or approach that was. OR a third possibility might be that he hasn’t tried talking to a professional (though that’s hard for me to believe – he seems worldly and responsible enough that I would think he would’ve at least looked into it) – because he can’t imagine how talking about his feelings would be helpful (as in he already knows what his feelings are, so what good would it do stating what he already knows to someone else, etc? – what would the point be? etc).

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    • 1) I really like the “unmanageable” idea! That’s definitely what it was for me. I could “manage” my mental health, by never going out to social events, keeping all the lights on in my apartment all the time, and just knowing I would have a panic attack once a month or so. But that’s not really managing it, that’s giving my whole life over to it. Medication is managing it.

      I also like the idea of a moral obligation to manage mental health. That goes back to my orgy of misery concept. When I am spending time with people who have anxiety or depression, it bleeds out into our interaction and it increases my anxiety or depression in a way that, for instance, them having bad back pain would not. Emotions are contagious, if you have the ability to treat your emotional disease, you have an obligation to do so, if only to save others around you.

      Really interesting comment about the hot bath and SRK. I had also heard of hot baths as an anxiety treatment, and have used them occasional, and I found them by specific google searches for “treatments for anxiety”. It’s not something you would necessarily stumble across by accident.

      I’m gonna guess Shahrukh might have tried therapy and just landed with a therapist who wasn’t the right fit for him. It happens, sometimes you have to shop around.

      On Sun, Jan 31, 2021 at 3:09 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Hi Margaret – sorry for the length of my earlier comment! (And now that I’ve finished it, sorry for the length of this comment too!I 😫😭 I felt maybe I was just contributing to more of the spam and noise of the world! (and maybe was/am) 🤔🙁

        1). EDIT to my original comment: I stated this incorrectly: hot baths are a known technique to deactivate and calm down the SYMPATHETIC nervous system (which is responsible for the flight or flight response, stress and anxiety, panic attacks, etc) – hot baths activate the PARASYMPATHETIC nervous system which is responsible for rest and calming the body down.

        2) Huh. I hope what you’re doing has and is doing the trick and that you are able to feel like you can live a full, happy, and productive life. I of course, say this only for selfish reasons as the world needs to support and preserve the Roger Elbert of Hindi Film. Just kidding OF COURSE! 😳😜🥰 (joking about the my reasons for caring – not joking about the fact you’re the REOHI!) 😁 – or ROHI.

        I can’t remember her name or the service but the founder and/or ceo of one of the online talk therapy services says something like “if you have a brain, you have mental health needs. Period.” – just like our bodies need to be healthy, our brains (also a body part, just not as visible and understood) do too. Anyway, her point being, it’s just some people. It’s everyone who needs good mental health and therefore good mental health awareness, education / tools / services, etc., Which reminds me of a comment earlier in this thread about how it seems like far in the future (knock on wood that humanity progresses and in that direction), mental health will be so much better understood and where we’re at now with it will seem like the dark ages. But still, what we have now is still very useful and so much better than what we’ve even had before now.

        ANYWAY, I hope you’re much better with what you were and are struggling with and that you’re able to manage it successfully and continue to improve and thrive. The details you’ve shared are no joke and not good for of course anyone in your life but especially you.

        3) I also want to clarify that the “moral obligation” quote might be better phrased as people/we have a “responsibility” to do all that we can – all that we’re capable of with whatever resources are available, if available. It’s always tricky for the patient to have to heal themselves, and/or take that role, but it must be done to the greatest extent possible. Cuz no one else CAN do it. With a broken leg, the ambulance can come, someone else operates, then couch and desk time, crutches, and physical rehabilitation with professional staff (assuming those things are available). AND: everyone can see and knows YOU HAVE A CAST. HECK THEY’LL EVEN SIGN IT! And THEN, usually, once it’s healed’ the work is DONE. It’s not a lifetime thing. None of that is so with mental health – there’s (maybe) the therapist, maybe meds, and the rest of the work is the patient’s job – including finding the help to begin with. The “moral obligation” vs. “responsibility” phrasing might matter only for people who might take issue, like I can sometimes, with the use of word “moral” – it can raise my hackles and activate my anti-authoritarian, “oh no you didn’t!” or “just what do YOU define as moral? etc.” attitude. 😜 But the meaning is sound – it’s incumbent upon us / people to do whatever it takes to the extent that we can to take any and all mental health challenges seriously and get and work real solutions. And again, because there’s literally no other way – (except in conjunction with professional help) – no one else can do it for the person dealing / struggling with it except them.

        4) yes, that did occur to me – that maybe SRK dipped his toe into therapy but quit too soon in the dreaded “finding someone who works for them” process, which can seem like and/or be a genuine barrier to getting some effective help. I remember feeling VERY similar about therapy – like what would the point be saying to someone things that I already know? But talking and journaling helped me “hear” and “see” my thoughts and fears and be aware of them in a way I hadn’t realized was different – when I could do that, my damaging, nonsensical and counter productive thoughts and fears really lost their negative power for me. It WAS / IS really helpful and I did not expect that.

        I’m reminded of the program I heard on NPR’s Bullseye with Jesse Thorn interviewing Rosie Perez, Nov. 19, 2019. Rosie talked in depth about her truly heart breaking childhood and then what therapy has done for her. She was championing mental health treatment and therapy like nobody’s business and was practically excoriating everyone to get the help they need if they need it when she said if anyone’s struggling with ANYTHING, “GIVE YOURSELF THE GIFT OF THERAPY”. And she couldn’t emphasize “gift” enough. Obviously, it left an impression on me and I remember those word too, again, whenever I’m tempted to forget or not take seriously enough my own struggles and what it takes for me to stay on top of them (not impossible or even too hard, but my stuff requires , journaling, a written reminder system, routines and habits and diligence – which I feel I’m in danger of forgetting if I’ve been feeling really good especially for a long time, etc. and I think maybe I can slack off a little on the self care stuff and disciplines. Answer: uh, no). 😁

        Anyway, thanks :Margaret and stay well! I’ll go back to anonymity now, trying not to comment (er “raise my hand”) so much in the future, and just go back to enjoying Hindi film and reading this awesome blog – and all in moderation of course! 😁

        Like

        • I like long comments!!! They are fun!!!

          1. Now I just want a hot bath

          2. Oh yes, I am doing much much better! There are many blog posts about it 🙂 Here is the best one, I think: https://dontcallitbollywood.com/2020/10/10/happy-mental-health-day-wanna-hear-my-mental-health-journey/

          3. Mental health is such an interesting thing, because I would also say that the treatment for it varies greatly. It feels in some ways more like eating healthy. You can have the massive broken leg kind of medical issue (which would be a mental health problem that requires hospitalization, say). But you can also have the just low energy unhealthy habits (which would be the mental health problem that requires journaling, perhaps). And there’s also the sort of “alternative medicine” options which sometimes work and sometimes don’t. Like, maybe you don’t go to therapy, but you go to church every week and talk to your minister regularly, and that is what helps you. I guess the biggest thing is for folks to understand and take seriously whatever it is that is working, if someone says “I am having a really hard time and I really need to spend time walking in nature this weekend”, then let them do that and respect it just as much as if someone said “I am having a really bad cold and I need to spend the weekend in bed eating soup”

          4. If therapy already feels scarey and taboo, having to force yourself to try meeting with people again and again just seems even more impossible!

          5. And please keep commenting! As much and as at much length as you want!!!! Also, I am now requesting topic ideas, so let me know if there’s something you would like me to cover.

          On Mon, Feb 1, 2021 at 7:59 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

          >

          Like

  6. FINAL EDIT: The founder / ceo’s point was that it’s NOT just some people, it’s EVERYONE who has mental health needs.

    I don’t know how these bloggers do it. I can’t seem to write too words without making a typo! 😁😫

    Like

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