Have a nice day!
You see, all these nice goody-goody clichés that we present to others as gifts wrapped in saccharine-sweet words, do more harm than good. We seldom say to someone: “It’s okay to be sad, I am there to help you.” Life is not some ha-ha-hee-hee thing always. It is mostly a sea of dullness. The dull sea of life has a few tiny islands of happiness and many submerged volcanoes of sadness adding variety and oomph. We embrace happiness and success but we neglect sadness or hide it beneath a smile. The dark minutes, sad hours, depressing days, and melancholic weeks are hidden under an artificial smile. A child is not allowed to break his toys, throw a tantrum and we implant this thought in him that being sad or moody is a bad thing. Most humans have those dark moods, the days of depression, the hours of self-doubt, and those goddamn infuriating times one feels like a lost soul in this cruel world. Embrace sadness, it’s also a human feeling. Try to understand that person who has those dark difficult times. Let him express his sadness, so that a solution could be found before he tries to end himself.
Life is not a sexy thing. Agreed that it has some sexy moments but there are a lot more stupid, shitty moments of despair and fury. We all are living, breathing Sisyphus, pushing this heavy rock of existence towards the top of the hill, and which rolls down just before we could reach the top, and we are fucking tired pushing it ceaselessly. You lost your cushy job and you are depressed. Fuck it; move on to another job after enjoying a period of hopelessness. You are in a bad job that sucks your soul. No problem mate, change your job or stay put to make it work. Man is a lazy animal, made to work more than he needs to work. You are sad because your boss is horrible. Welcome to the club, mate. Most bosses like boot-lickers; become one or stay aloof, in both the cases you’ll suffer. No problem though. Your relationship status changed from committed to complicated, and the one whom you were seeing for ages is now in somebody else’s life. Be sad for a while. Live your life, you’ll find another, may be better or equal or worse. It’s okay to be sad. And it’s fine to move on. You have moved to another city, and have no friends there. No problem, you’ll make new ones. You feel trapped in a marriage, and everybody else appears to be in happily-ever-after kind of marriage. It’s a part of human condition. Enjoy your stupid marriage, with the sadness or happiness that comes inbuilt with it. Everyone is enjoying theirs, or exiting at the right time. Marriage requires constant work to make it work; it needs sacrifices and adjustments. Being unmarried isn’t a bad choice too, if you are someone who is unwilling to adjust or make sacrifices. Marry someone after careful deliberation, find a compatible partner, don’t act on impulses. The act of marriage requires more planning than making a career choice. Life is a series of temptations. After marriage there will be temptations too. One half of life is spent searching for temptations and another half is spent fighting them or falling for them. And all this searching, fighting, falling for is another cause of sadness. Temptation is saddening and so is politics or war. You are sad at the state of the world and all the fools masquerading as leaders. And you are unhappy at the supporters of the foolish leaders, crying hallelujah or singing paeans for them. It’s okay to be depressed at the state of the world with its violence and idiocy. But the world was always like this, and fools were/are in majority every single fucking moment of human existence. Be sad at the state of the world and this mindless violence, drink wine, watch a couple of horror movies, write a long rant on facebook and go to sleep, next morning and the next, the world will be same and you’ll still be sad. Else get up and sow the change you want to see in the world, to make it a better place. Life is a tragedy for those who feel, and comedy for those who think. Don’t stop feeling ever, cultivate empathy which is the greatest human emotion. Be human and remain human even at the cost of this rage and fury and that feeling of helplessness.
Man was a social animal, but societies are breaking, communities are dispersing. Human society is marching towards loneliness. Families are breaking into smaller units. It takes a village to care for someone grieving, but today we find that our circle of near and dear ones is shrinking. Joint families are like exotica, something rare and declining. Divorces are rising and more and more kids are being cared for by a single parent. We are becoming orphans of the information age. Parents, siblings and friends are spending more time glued to their favourite screens than with the humans they are supposed to love. Whatever we possess is considered insufficient, and we’re running to earn more, own more. We are born at one place, get educated at another, work at a different place, retire at a distant place, and die in a land far away. We don’t grow roots, we don’t settle. Man is becoming a nomad once more. There is no sense of community. Loneliness and boredom is on the rise. The society expects us to wear a fucking mask of that bullshit happiness to hide our inner torment, that utter lonely feeling which chews our innards. We are living in the age of narcissism where too much stress is put on SELF. This is an age where we say to ourselves day in and day out: “I am the absolute fucking centre of the universe. Everything revolves around me. I am in a reality show and the whole world is watching me every minute. I am super aware of my importance. I’ll pretend to be happy as everyone wants to watch me enact the role of a jolly good fellow.” No man you are a mere mortal made of dust and water, take care of yourself, stay fighting, that’s all.
We are not allowed to show our sadness or how tired we are. Depression is rising in the society, with women and teenagers among the most vulnerable lot. As society frowns upon people who are sad or throw tantrums, it becomes difficult to express true feelings. Too much of introspection leads to fantasizing of the negative kind, stress builds up causing depression. Biology plays a big role in cases of clinical depression; there is overproduction of stress hormones or reduction in the levels of neuro-transmitters that cause depression. Both chemical and hormonal imbalances feed on the stress and fuel it too. In many countries like India, visiting a shrink is seen as an anathema. Mental health issues are generally swept under the carpet. The rising cases of suicides in the cities and villages across India and the world are a warning of the things to come. Many of the modern marriages are a sham. The people go into or remain in a relationship because the society wants them to act normal. “What we’ve is a failure to communicate”. Everyone talks nobody listens and understands. What we find on social media are images of happy couples everywhere. And we start feeling subnormal; some abnormal beasts living sadly in a brutal world that has no time for people with awful mood. Society has to find time, and recognize the sadness that is on the rise and treat it with kindness and understanding.
Teenagers are exposed to the ennui and self-centeredness of today’s world. Adolescence was always a difficult phase of life, with all those hormones going berserk and the peer pressure thing. Today’s teens are exposed to the brutal world of facebook and instagram, where they are judged for superficialities and fall prey to cyber bullies. Being a teen was never so difficult. They have to look good and happening; they have to perform in academics to get ahead of the cutthroat competition; their parents lack time for them as they are fighting their own demons; they have to hide their pain and fear behind a veneer of happiness, else they’d be labeled ‘drama’ by their peers. Teenagers aren’t allowed to throw tantrums or embrace sadness. A teenager who mutilates himself, cuts his wrists, or writes the name of the person, whom he loves, is shamed. Many of the teenagers are coming to term with their sexualities, in societies where sex is a hush-hush matter and having alternate sexualities is a crime. The schools and the families are not aware of the ways to deal with such cases. Fear and guilt are the twin methods adopted by the teachers and the parents to frighten and shame the victim. He is made to feel guilty for his sadness and gloom caused due to a variety of issues. He is scolded and punished to make him conform to the norms fixed by the adults, who once had faced similar troubles but have forgotten about how they coped up with the ordeals.
Sadness is ubiquitous, depression is real. Let’s allow people to be sad. It is not immoral or inhuman to be sad or depressed. If we allow someone to be sad, then only it’d be possible to help one come out of the dark well of sadness, one is feeling trapped inside. We must reach out to the people who feel helpless, sad and suicidal. Else they’ll harm themselves and others and they’ll shoot themselves in the head or jump off cliffs. Fyodor Dostoyevsky said in his novel, The Brothers Karamazov: “You will burn and you will burn out; you will be healed and come back again.” There is no bigger tragedy than an untimely end of a human life full of immense possibility. It is fucking sad to know that someone died before living.
(The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the organisation he is a part of.)
© 2017 Bhupendra Singh