necessary conversations.

There’s a lot I love about Buzzfeed. It’s my favorite method of mindless procrastination. After all, who else is going to tell you what crayon name you would be, complete with a personality description?

But today I am thanking it for more than that. Today I am thanking it for it’s dedication to Mental Health Week. Thank you for normalizing but not glorifying mental health issues. Thank you for telling me that I am not an anomaly but that my suffering is not beautiful.  Thank you for telling me its okay that sometimes I am too gripped with fear to function; thank you for telling me that I am more than this.

Normally, being both Indian and Christian isn’t a noticeable factor in my life but when it comes to talking about mental health, it is. When I finally told my mom that I used to get panic attacks, she just looked at me and went, “Are you sure? I don’t think you did.” She still doesn’t understand why it’s such a struggle for me to make a phone call or how the pressure on me about school is suffocating.

Neither Indian culture nor the Church really knows how to handle this. I fully believe in the power of prayer and God’s healing, even in mental health. But to say “I’ll pray for you” without providing resources is not what someone needs. Trust me, I’m praying enough for myself. I know exactly which ten minute, slow worship song is going to lull me back to some state of half-relaxation.

What I need is for you to give me valid advice and tell me that it’s okay for me to get professional help. It’s condescending and isolating to assume that people of faith won’t ever have to deal with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, etc. So open up your church doors and pulpits and youth groups to these moments of honest vulnerability. Reach the people who are too scared to raise their voice about what they have gone through.

After all, no one thinks God is behind their panic attacks.