Mental Paralysis: A Debate in the Context of Society

For Mental Health: Written by Jolaade Olatunbosun

Every day, I try to find how to stay alive.

Every day, I try to find how to stay awake.

Silence to me is home, the graveyard yearning for my welcome, to all the Ben’s out there, this is me!!

In a society where acceptance determines your importance, you wouldn’t blame me for finding this topic relevant at this time. Being accepted and understood by society differs based on one’s background, upbringing, and societal exposure. This camouflage from society has led to fear of being left out by friends, colleagues, and even family members.

Looking for a way out, I decided to act like everyone else. I wanted to taste human emotions and not be repeatedly called an alien because I was so introverted to myself. Oh! by the way, I heard my symptoms got a name tag called “Social Anxiety”. But I guess society masked herself so well, leaving her members confused about what is truly acceptable.

I ask then, what should be the norm? What should be acceptable? How do I shake my realization and feelings from the grip of societal pressure? My inability to answer these questions made me a victim of societal debate.

I try to speak, but my words are self-sufficient, each fighting to come out first. Then I open my mouth to release them, and I fumble with those same words.

The inability to accept me and the reason for my plan to escape has been on repeat. And I unconsciously do them because of my name tag. Without a confidant, acceptance, with misconception and stigmatization, my state of mind deteriorated resulting in mental paralysis.

I read that the WHO and United Nations defined mental health as the condition of a person with regards to their cognitive, behavioural, psychological, and emotional well-being. 

Dear reader, you see, I am an item of the auction, as the intellectuals have given a theory to explain my actions or ‘deficiencies’. And now I am a victim of societal debate from a society that won’t accept me! I guess I am more than this definition.

The Oxford dictionary defined society as people, in general, living together in communities sharing the same customs and laws.

I stay awake in my thoughts.

Drown in my mood.

Release my rage on loved ones.

Inside, I am numb.

My name tag “Social Anxiety” became my shield any time I had a reason to do something or take an action out of my comfort zone, I hide under the umbrella of my name tag. This is the effect of society on me, my state of mind; this is who I am. 

Therefore, I think I am sufficient enough in my inadequacy to define mental paralysis in the context of society. I say it is a state where the mind is oblivious of societal norms and tends to create its norm outside of the acceptable societal system. This oblivious state of mind is a subtle graduating process from denial to depression, anxiety, failure, and insecurity.

Mental paralysis is not something spontaneous but gradual, it starts from a feeling, an emptiness, an inward numbness, then the individual unconsciously grows all these feelings or emotions and eventually breakdown because she/he could not contain the feelings and this leads to an inward explosion resulting in mental paralysis.

Through these stages, I dropped along the way crumbs only visible to the very sensitive, whether, friends or family members, yet, the inability of people around to get the attention or identify these crumbs/signs pushes me into a deeper state of mental paralysis. These crumbs could be, not having feelings for anything, vivid negative imagination resulting in self-harm, going to places and doing things that make me feel alive or in control of things.

Should I then blame society for people struggling like me? But I feel we all have a role to play in the issue of mental health, casting blame might not solve this issue but trying to understand the direct and indirect causes, how issues like this can be treated to prevent future occurrence and decrease suicidal rate is of utmost importance in the society. Starting with this should be a massive mental awareness campaign to enlighten people and discourage stigmatization and name-calling because, if this persists, those going through this process like me will tend to keep to themselves thereby struggling alone with no help.

My name is Ben Andrews I was awake!!!

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