Depression and human attitude

This is in response to the letter of Farhan Saeed titled “Depression: A silent killer”(June 09). There exists a school of thought, which do not view depression in a serious light. It seems that they are of the opinion that depression is nothing but a “luxury” for the affected individuals, as if they ‘enjoy’ on remaining depressed! Actually this “positive” and “optimist” brigade pathetically lack any antidote of depression. So they try to pooh-pooh the severity of such serious mental setback by suggesting that that sighting of natural forces like floating of clouds or flowing of streams will eradicate the disease named depression!
But this fact is furthest from hard reality. No sane person desires to get or remain depressed. There exist innumerable causes of depression. One might be affected by an incurable disease. He might be failing to afford educational and medical needs of children. She might not be getting adequate moral support, love and compassion from her husband, children and near and dear ones. The different units of society like office management, colleagues or neighbours might be torturing him/her and he/she is not receiving justice from any quarter. In such an eventuality, the sufferer is bound to get depressed.
Just as blood oozes out from body if the concerned part gets hurt or assaulted, similarly invisible rivers of blood gets licked from heart and mind if he/she gets insulted, deprived or not rendered justice.
In such a hopeless perspective, neither beams of natural light nor fragrance of flowers will come in aid of him/her to solve problems and heal the injuries! Yes, practical reality and life are infinite times harder and harsher than mere poetry, spirituality or philosophy of sky, moon and stars. Had natural forces indeed possessed such magical healing power, then innumerable people across the globe would not have to terminate their dear lives prematurely burdened with such grief in the hearts. A casual glance at the horizon or space would have done the trick and all problems and tortures would have got consigned to oblivion!
The ills of depression can get wiped out from the society only when people would behave compassionately with each other, society would turn egalitarian one where there would be no norm of inequality and strict rule of law gets implemented so as to prevent innocents and vulnerable from getting tortured by the vested interests.
In the immortal novel of Fyodar Dostoyevsky titled ‘Idiot’, the superintendent of the Swiss clinic tells the protagonist Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin that almost all problems would get vanished from the face of the society and earth if all people act a bit sympathetically with each other. Yes, compassionate behaviour and act of treating all in equal terms are very easy to perform, but we desist from doing it just to meet our selfish desires and pampering our philistine mindset of dominating over others.
Until human beings turn truly civilised in moral terms, inequality and injustice would continue to haunt the earth leading to the dreadful disease named depression. Why don’t we try to humanise ourselves for the sake of our own benefit?
KAJAL CHATTERJEE
Kolkata, India

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