Curiosity, awareness, and empathy are the vital factors for survival, not just for the individuals but for others too.
Curiosity helps to have a mind that is open for learning, the space for why. Knowing our thoughts can be liberating; Awareness comes about after curiosity; wisdom starts here. Empathy is where wisdom pays. But do we need to say this here?
Trust that by now, you would have seen many posts on mental health day. It’s heartwarming to see people come out and share their stories, that needs courage. But I also see that many do not think it is required or that mental illness is taboo or talking about it is disgusting and/or shameful.
So to them and to all others, let’s see how the curiosity, awareness, and empathy can be effective. If you think it as a taboo start with a why; If you acknowledge mental illness, start with what sorts are there and how can they be dealt with.
Depression, anxiety and panic attacks, bi-polar, schizophrenia are a few that are known, but here and today, I want to talk about something called “gaslighting” or in common term being manipulated but someone to an extent that one doubts their own sanity. This is much more common than what we realize. We do it to others and let others do it to us. It can be subconscious too, but it gets worse when someone consciously tries and manages to manipulate the us.
This would have gotten you curious!
Moving on to awareness – Who can gaslight you? Any abuser, cult leaders, persons whom you depend upon, parents, teachers, spouses, over clingy spouses/friends, mentors, and the list is virtually endless.
How is it done?
They brainwash your mind, it is a slow process. Like a parasite, they drink in your happiness and trust but give nothing in return. They will not be there for you, and even in those low moods, they will turn everything about them, perhaps the most common of them all “You are not there for me when I need you.” They find fault in things that matter to you most, but not in an apparent way which will help you grow, but by way of those snide comments, the under tones that hit the gut. Everything will slowly become about them. Of course the white lies – what is spoken can be understood in many ways, and it most of then than not lead to confusions. You can never win an argument with them, the white lies will ensure perceptions can be manipulated. They soften up sometimes that will make you think they are nice. Your efforts to make them happy will always come up one-sided. You will always be sad around them, you will never be good enough. They will hate and cut off all of your well-wishers. You will slowly start to believe you are worthless, craving for their approval and confusions become real.
This is a tricky part: if you realize you are being gas-lit then talk to your long lost friend who wishes you good. Re-connect. It is not exactly empathy to be shown, but to receive that love that you showered but never got back. If someone talks to you and you realize they are being taken for a ride , remember to listen. On all cases if you speak up against that abuser, the victim will defend and take their side and will eventually not tell you anything. Caution and deal with care! It will take time to break that shell and make the other person understand.
So if you think you have been gas-lit, read about it, talk to people. It is ok to open up. It is ok to talk what’s going on. It is ok to knock that door of the well-wisher which you slammed shut sometime ago, they will welcome you back. As always do let me know if you want a shoulder to lean on.
My two cent on mental illness awareness.