I see a lot of people talking about depression lately. They are quite open about it, cause they want to share the ways and means to get over it. I used to browse through and smirk, one of those brought up to think, that this is an emotion strictly restricted for the privileged.
But as I sit here thinking, asking myself the question, have I been through that journey.
A story book I couldn’t buy, cause dad didn’t have the money,
A movie I couldn’t watch cause, it wasn’t to be,
A piece of textile I wanted to look good in, but couldn’t afford,
A shoe that spoke to me, saying I need your feet, but the price tags denied me that joy,
A friend that I lost cause he found other interests,
The first crush, who acted I didn’t even exist,
Of a rebuke by the teacher that made the entire class laugh,
Of working hard on a pet project and winning it, but no commensurate appreciation,
A school trip that I couldn’t go through cause it was chartered around the moneyed,
A holiday I dreamt off, but remained only in story books,
An evening out in a restaurant, where you never had to look at affordable menus,
An argument between dad and mom, with one not eating, kids feeling guilty,
Of having to share your room with your sibling, privacy being a western concept.
Rejection, not being appreciated, not getting your due, being illtreated, physical abuse, sharing space with egoistic and aggressive partners, I can think of many a reason.
So many things as we grew up today seem questionable. But then at that time, it was the normal. I couldn’t wake up and tell mom, I didn’t want to go to school today. No way, mom would just look at you helplessly and say, try convincing your dad. Dad was menacing, no one dared approach him. Did I cry under cold sheets? Did I suffer in silence? Did I cut myself off from friends and family? Did I want to at a certain point to end it all?
Where was my emotion? Or has the concept of accepting depression openly, actually accentuated the process in a lot of us, through realisation? I wouldn’t know.
Result days made me anxious. Expectations of your folks would keep you on tenter hooks. Sports days made me anxious, cause I wanted to be the star performer. Family gatherings made me anxious, cause I would have to mix around with people I didn’t like and answer weird questions at 10 years of age, on what I wanted to be. God made me anxious, cause he made me realise sin.
Yes I feel down sometimes, but then Micheal Jackson and his BEAT IT … gets me swinging. Yes I feel the heat sometimes … but then a good cup of coffee gets back the zing. Yes I feel the stress that shouldn’t be, but then family time overcomes all.
In the military, there are cases that are predominantly aggressive. Fratricidal tendencies are mostly hidden under the carpet, with the misnomer that someone else will deal with it, or it will go away in time, or the problem is just a philosophical one that will erode through keeping oneself busy. Constantly military men, have to undergo huge turbulence’s in both physical and mental growth. The job is taxing, new places, new leadership, new methods and ways, all take a massive toll. An individual is expected to perform at the same charge 24x7, for all 365 days. Anything which is below expectations is noticed, marked and calibrated towards further acceptance. He is almost a loner, cannot attend family functions, marriages, births, funerals and deaths. He is missing out on being part of the society he has to adapt to when he retires and grows old with. Constant postings lead to greatest turmoil. We hear so many instances of suicides and rampant social media posts against the organisation and the leadership, this reeks of frustrations, not being able to communicate, loss of a belief system. Depression is real. That’s why the buddy pairs, the hierarchical system of reporting and the Darbaar/ sainik sammelan.
We need to have systems in place. To ensure that cases are identified and preventing the same therefore becomes easy. Won’t it therefore be prudent that we have a psychologist posted to every batallion or regiment.
Individuals adapt and learn. I learnt early not to hold on to anything that is immaterial in the next 05 minutes of your existence. Cause I have also the belief system, that everything doesn’t have to be about me. I am the most dispensable item on this planet. If you believe that, there is nothing that will affect you. Even when it does, you can wave it off.
YES THERE IS DEPRESSION, BUT THERE ARE A HUNDRED WAYS TO OVERCOME IT. YOU JUST NEED TO TRY.
About the Author
The author is a military analyst and commentator on national security issues. Views expressed are the author's own and do not reflect the editorial policy of Mission Victory India