Thursday


Over the cuckoo’s nest


Saleh Al Shaibany

When depression stares you right on the face, the world around you can be a very bleak place. So bleak one would want the roof of the universe to cave in and bury you alive. You see hostility everywhere, every glance directed at you can become a stare. Every whisper is loud enough to cause a thunder in your disturbed mind. The funny thing is that you can be surrounded with people but yet feel isolated. The problem is that it is people who triggered off the anxiety in the first place. But the irony is that being alone fosters depression and it makes you plunge deeper into gloom.

It is easy to say that you need to snap out of it. But people, who rejected you in the first place, need to take you back. The truth is that not many of them care much. They have their own problems to take care of. It is left to people who are close to you to help. There would not be many anyway and precious few are willing to take the trouble. Only those who suffered before can recognise the symptoms. Sufferers can be mistaken as anti-social or trying to gain attention and easily ignored instead of given help.

They do cry of help but silently and one can only hope it won't be too late before they get it. Teenagers these days are most vulnerable with the amount of stress they go through. They have to match up with the expectations from their peers, satisfy the demands from their parents and the worries about their future.  Problems pile up and they accumulate over time threatening to put holes in their sanity. Holes that can never be plugged in if the situation deteriorates.  I used to know of an old man who sat outside his door to look at people every evening. He looked everyone on the face as they passed by. It was his way, he explained to his friends, of "passing the stress to the people of the street."

 He slept easy every night with a light head. He would wake up in the morning not really minding to take a "new challenge of tension."  There would always be someone in the street to pass the strain to in the evening. It was also his way of dealing with everyday problems. He never let them mature or pile up into a heap of mental trouble. My late cousin, God blesses his soul, had a practical way of reducing his stress level. He would go find someone to annoy then he would go back home happy. Of course it is not the ideally way to do it. There are many ways of doing the same without getting on somebody's nerves. But locking oneself in a dark room is not one of them.

 My sister-in-law, for example, talks endlessly. She even talks when she is alone. She would rather have people thinking she is flying from the cuckoo's nest rather than land into gloominess. She talks her way out of depression the moment the signs are up. Others find the gym useful. But the most effective way of dealing with it is to shrug your shoulders and say something like, "it would work out next time" and concentrate on what is more important. The thing to remember is that depression paralyses your life and causes a lot of anxiety to your family. But you can't make a depressed person feel guilty about the turmoil they are causing around them. It would be a long road to recovery if you do. Remember, it could be you next. Depression these days has the habit of being caught like flu. So give a helping hand when you see the signs in the person next to you.

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