ICYDK, today is World Mental Health Day. It's a day devoted to recognising unseen struggles, whether of our own or someone else's. While it's becoming a major movement these last couple of years, the stigma against mental health is still far from erased. So in light of the occasion, we're laying down some wise words from inspiring icons who have dealt or are dealing with mental health issues to serve as your dose of motivation to get through your own struggles.
Selena Gomez on the nature of mental health
"I know that I have been given experiences and people and opportunities that have made my life exceptionally beautiful and sweet — and yet I struggle with my own thoughts and feelings at times. But this doesn’t make me faulty. This does not make me weak. This does not make me less than. This makes me human. We need help, and we need each other."
As a part of her acceptance speech in this year's McLean Award for Mental Health Advocacy 2019, Selena expressed what we all know but fear about when disclosing about our mental health: the idea of privilege. Many people feel scared and lost with admitting that they are struggling due to fear of judgement, especially when they should seem like they have everything set for them in life. But Selena reminds us that these issues choose no one and it can happen to anybody. Even so, admittance isn't a sign of weakness, but rather a pathway to relief. Asking for help is not easy, but it is a start.
Chrissy Teigen on how real postpartum depression is
"Postpartum does not discriminate. I couldn’t control it. And that’s part of the reason it took me so long to speak up: I felt selfish, icky, and weird saying aloud that I’m struggling. Sometimes I still do. I look around every day and I don’t know how people do it. I’ve never had more respect for mothers, especially mothers with postpartum depression."
Our Community has mums now, so this note from multi-hyphenate personality Chrissy Teigen is worth putting out there. Postpartum depression is still something often rejected by people, often just viewed as a woman's unacceptance of how one's lifestyle can change after motherhood. But in reality, it's so much more than that. Scientifically speaking, with hormonal imbalance becoming a natural occurrence even post-pregnancy, 'happy hormones' can fly out the window as quickly. Which means it can affect one's emotional and mental welfare. This statement from Chrissy empowers mothers to not be afraid to speak up about their struggles post-pregnancy. Just because the nine-month battle has been won doesn't mean it ends from there.
Lady Gaga on destigmatising mental health
"We need to bring mental health into the light. We need to share our stories so that global mental health no longer resides and festers in the darkness."
Mother Monster is one of today's most celebrated artists. And with the recent launch of her beauty line, Haus Labs, you would think that success and happiness go in tandem with one another. Despite her powerful personality both on and off-stage, Gaga has always been open about her own struggles with mental health. Being a sexual assault survivor that led to the creation of her Born This Way Foundation in support of mental health programs and trauma victims, her statement serves as motivation for the world to be more accepting of the realities of mental health and its implications.
SNSD's Taeyeon on empathy
"Whether it's bipolar disorder or depression, you should not 'tsk tsk' at people. As someone said previously, it is disrespectful. They are all patients who are suffering."
In a rare Q&A with SNSD's leader in June, Taeyeon expressed short but inspiring statements about mental health when some fans showed disregard about the issue. It all started with one fan asking if Taeyeon was okay, in which she answered no, leading some fans to show dismay at the K-pop icon's response. It is a well-known fact that Asia's celebrity scene, especially in South Korea, is very particular about public perception. Some idols are being reprimanded to talk about such sensitive matters. So kudos to Taeyeon for this short yet assuring message to all her fans, especially given SNSD's global legacy.
J.K. Rowling on dealing with her own 'dementors'
"I have never been remotely ashamed of having been depressed. Never. What’s there to be ashamed of? I went through a really tough time and I am quite proud that I got out of that."
For Potterheads out there, the idea of Patronuses being the counterattack for Dementors has been nothing but inspiring and symbolic. As inspired by Rowling's own battle with depression, the metaphor of conjuring a happy memory in the darkest of times was not only great but also a reminder that a sliver of hope and joy can save someone's life.
If you are or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, call these suicide hotlines: 1800-221 4444 (Singapore), +2 804-HOPE (4673) (Philippines) or 603-79571306 (Malaysia).