Tag Archives: hopelessness

The Duality of Mind and Body

28 Nov

Image Source: uk.pinterest.com

The 58 year old woman has a severe backache, years of toiling around the house had sucked the calcium out of her bones. She manages to drudge along during the day, but as the night falls, her bed suddenly seems to transform itself into an iron slab studded with sharp nails. She tosses and turns all night, only to wake up the next morning, tired and lacking energy, day after day.

The 15 year old boy was the pride of his high school basketball team. Towering at a height of 6″1′, the only sound accustomed to his ears while playing, was the resounding roar from the crowd, chanting his name. Fate seemed to have cruelty in store for him, and he lost his left leg in an unfortunate car accident. Gone was his leg, and along with it, gone was his glory. Unable to grapple with the loss of adulation so abundantly bestowed upon him earlier, his self-confidence received a massive blow, and he started avoiding social gatherings.

The cancer victim, a 42 year old man, had undergone numerous sessions of chemotherapy to demolish the parasitic cancer cells in his body. Having always been a zesty person, he marched on bravely through the first few months, determined to bring cancer down to its knees. The degenerative disease took its toll on him over the next couple of months, and the zest was soon replaced with hopelessness. Along with the cancer cells, chemotherapy seemed to also have demolished his interest and ability to find pleasure in life.

The frail, malnourished child who had been abandoned by his birth parents, met his guardian angels at the age of 3 years, when the benevolent couple adopted him and brought him to their home. The child, they noticed, was not as energetic as his peers, and often plopped down in the middle of a game of running around the garden, fatigued.

Suffering from typhoid, the 28 year old man had lost his appetite. Much to his wife’s vexation, no variety of savoury food could awaken his hunger, and he would only peck at the dishes laid out in front of him, forcing tiny morsels of food down his throat.

What would we expect the family members of all these people suffering from the physical illnesses to do?

Do we expect them to be empathetic, and frantically seek medical help for their loved ones?

Or do we expect them to shower their loved ones with suggestions like “Just get over it”, “It has been so long, you need to move on now”, and “It is all in your mind, if you try hard enough, you would get cured.”?

A person diagnosed with depression also had the sleeplessness of the old lady, the hopelessness of the cancer victim, the fatigue of the malnourished child, the low self-esteem of the erstwhile basketball hero, and the loss of appetite of the man suffering from typhoid. However, instead of being offered medical help, they are often expected to magically recover, by just trying to snap out of it.

It’s time that we accept the tribulations of the people suffering from mental illnesses like depression, and treat them as we would someone with a physical illness.

The pain is the same. The approach to treatment also needs to be the same.