From the past few days I must have tried multiple times to pen down few thoughts....but somehow either I feel lost half way... Or I again wonder what's the purpose. Nevertheless, let me give it a try again today and see how far I get. So, the turn of events in the last few days have been shocking one after other. First with the news of the sad demise of the actor Sushant Singh Rajput and second with the news of loss of lives of our army personnel in the India China face off.
Usually, I refrain from posting anything on the current ongoing events as I consider this space to be my safe haven to escape to when mind needs solace. But this one time I thought let me just get out the things disturbing in my head. And go by the philosophy that ....writing it down helps.
So, coming back to the events.....both the events are devastating... And devastation I guess can't be measured as greater than smaller than and all that.. It's immeasurable. So, I am also not going to attempt to do that. But, I just want to understand a few things by putting down the words on paper to reduce it's effect on my mind I guess.
Depression... Just a word or real?
Now, while this is just a word for few it's a battle for few others and for some others it's an abuse. I myself will own up that for a very long time I had believed just like others that this is a 'luxury illness of the rich' or for those who are 'mentally weak'. Till I came quite close to experiencing it myself once.
It was just after my Son was born and we had returned home bringing our bundle of joy with us....and the sleepless nights and the exertion were all an ongoing daily routine...and for some unknown bizzare reason I used to have this humongous urge from inside to wail (not just cry). No, it's not that I couldn't identify myself with my Son or anything like that. I only had that urge to wail for no good reason. I was myself perplexed as to why I want to wail when I am so happy... What the hell is happening... And none of us, neither me or my family had any clue on postpartum depression.
I remember asking people around in my family... That I feel clueless... As to why I am having this constant urge to wail my heart out. I only heard them call me crazy till my husband found out about postpartum depression. But luckily, I didn't go into depression.... The urge to wail passed in 2/3 days... And I was back to normal. But that's when I realised that the brain can be so vulnerable ....and it's fully possible to lose control on it under such circumstances.... Depression can be very real and without any reason. This sinked in me only when I came close to experiencing it... Even if the experience was for a short time fortunately!
When it's not to do with chemicals going wrong in the brain or body
Now, that leaves us with the other type of depression.... When it's not to do with the chemicals. What's exactly going wrong in these cases.
Again a personal example, I lost a promotion once in my job and I was devastated. I remember I couldn't sleep for 3 months... Yes, for that long... I just used to stare into the night and repeat things in my head wondering if I was a loser....I felt betrayed! I just didn't feel like walking back to work.... and lost a lot of mental peace in doing so. All the feelings stayed with me till I changed my job which took 3 months. Again, luckily I didn't go into depression...
But this taught me a lot of things. One that the definition of 'success' has got distorted in our heads. Two that we just are unable to value life for what it is.
Life during earlier times were simpler. People used to go for jobs mostly 9 to 5....earn less....therefore, focus on spending less as well and were busy saving just enough for future.... Saving was for the needs not the wants.They also had a more balanced life. They used to return home on time and give that time to family or themselves. I don't know if people then used to refer to the words 'career' and 'success' so much... Let alone 'money' and 'fame'. The motto then was job is a means to earn livelihood and nothing more or nothing less. Steady government job was the dream....and people used to make close friends not only in the neighborhood but also at work place.... Long lasting true friends. The world was still not so tech savy and everything was done with personal touch. Hence, the question of virtual and fake etc didn't rise much.
Now, in this era everyone is running a race.....a race with no finish line! Career, success, money, fame have all become synonymous with each other and the greed (sorry to use the word) for it seems to be endless. I wonder at what point self worth got associated with all this too. And the saddest part is while running the race no one turns their head to look behind. No one sees how far they have already come. No one sees if anyone has fallen while running.... Do they need some help.... Rather there are many who feel happy with others fall!
So, now the question is if everyone is running and you suddenly are not able to keep up the pace.... And want to pause... And look around for a shoulder to put your head on for a while.... How is that going to happen. Everyone is running remember!
Where are we going wrong
This also makes me wonder when depression is so common these days how come the soldiers in the army or the doctors in the covid ward are not facing it (even if we don't count in the workers and the class dealing with hunger as a daily struggle). Especially when it's a life and death situation for them and they lead such tough lives. What are they made of if not flesh and blood.... How does their brain function? Why is depression keeping away from them more than us?
So, then is it wrong to assume that depression hits only when we lose the sense of purpose in our life. I am not going to talk about the grief of losing someone dear or ailments and disabilities .... That unimaginable pain is something that is way above this kind of depression.
Sense of purpose in life
What exactly is this sense of purpose in life? Where did we go wrong in defining it because of which we are facing depression as the result. Is it our education system? Do good marks define a sense of purpose? Does a good seat in a college define? Or does job define? Or money, fame, success.... What defines?
When we are teaching our kids to pursue things in life with grit and determination.... Are we also telling them that incase you reach there and don't find that sense of purpose... It's OK... Drop it and try something else. Do we tell our kids that job is not something which defines your sense of purpose in life.... It's just a means not an end in itself! Do we tell them that once you secure that basic first hierarchy of Maslow's needs roti, Kapda,makaan in the bare minimum sense rest is luxury... It's not success or it doesn't define any purpose of life.... It's just your endeavour and your liking as to how far you want to go.
Success has no definition neither does failure. How do we ingrain that sense of nothing is be all and end all in life ?! Shouldn't we ourselves practice it for them to learn!
We can't define success or failure but can we define gratification and peace for them so that they don't lose that sense of purpose pursuing meaningless things in life. Are we showing them the right examples as the inspirations so that they dont end up in the race too.... Running and running.... Not knowing that it's OK to pause....its OK to not belong..... It's OK to quit and step out and go sit under a tree and relax.... Only if you do that maybe you will find there that shoulder you were looking for in that race!! And even if you don't find that shoulder.... Look within yourself... Only if you pause you can see that peace was always there inside.... You just never reached for it! And sense of purpose is always there.....in pursuing many many things.... everywhere ....all around.... You just have to lift your head and look around....!
Life, may not be a picnic.... But we don't have to make it a race!