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Dealing With Depression

Dealing With Depression

DEPRESSION is currently taking its heavy toll. It is vaguely associated with isolated loneliness that surrounded most of us due to necessary restrictions imposed to check the spread of deadly Corona-virus.

In regard to a sharp rise in cases of depression the Corona-virus is a new culprit.

But the phenomenon of getting depressed is not new to our society. Sadly enough it has made inroads even into the minds of our youngsters, which include small school children.

Apart from compulsive or contrived situations of loneliness, fears of failures or actual failures, in academics or social or professional lives are considered the general causes of depression. In severe cases it prompts one, more than often, to take one’s life also.

But the million dollar question is when were we ever taught to face failures lightly in a sportsman’s spirit? Perhaps never.

Rather in this highly cut-throat competitive commercial world everyone, from parents to teachers, makes one believe failure as such a monster that is acceptable to none. Get only success, by hook or crook!

No wonder its deadly painful results, in the form of ever rising cases of depressed victims, now have become a sad and routine reality.

Those, perhaps, were the real good old days when, more than half a century ago, we as students were never made to fear failures, particularly in academics.

On a failure in an examination one would get this pet comment, from both parents and teachers alike: “Examination is not a ‘Kumbh da Mela’ that returns after a gap of twelve long years; work hard and get through it the next year.”

But things now have changed drastically opposite to our old times. Today even a single minor failure, in any field, is often taken as if it is the end of the world.

Not only this, the failures in academics in particular have developed new connotations. Like, a student obtaining  even 90% marks, which in our times was a rarity and would call for big celebrations, frustratingly feels failed when he/she cannot get admission to the next course of study of his/her choice.

However, in such an over charged and highly expectant, both by children and their parents, atmosphere, one often cannot see things in their true perspective. For, academic excellence is in no way a guarantee to a better and brighter future.

Appalling news reports that tell how many graduates/post graduates/professional degree holders, apply for low paid jobs like of safai karmacharis (sanitation workers) , keep appearing in newspapers more than often.

In fact failures keep coming, more than often, in one's life in unfamiliar disguises. In the absence of a proper learning to face failures with courage, one falls a quick prey to dangerous depressive bouts.

But our current commerce oriented education system has led many to tread on paths that go far away from their basic goal post; of becoming a good socially integrated human being. Consider the following example to have a closer look at the sullen situation.

Strangely enough, the first thing that once my then five-year-old grandson beamingly told his mother on returning from school was that one of his friends had failed in that day's math-test. The account of his getting full marks and an applause by the whole class was told after that only.

This demonstrates two disturbing facets about our youngsters' general thinking today. One, failure is an extremely awful thing; two, the failure of others is worth celebrating.

And this, perhaps, is the result of what we, both as parents and teachers, have, of late been teaching to our children, perhaps unknowingly.

Sports, basically being a recreational activity, earlier used to be one of the very potent methodologies that would prepare youngsters to accept defeats in true sportsman’s spirit. In fact such defeats in sports would encourage players to put in more efforts the next time.

The current social malice has gone so deep into our psyche that today even school games, leave aside cricket or hockey matches between India and Pakistan, are played like wars!

Since no one likes to fail today, both children and their patrons often resort even to mean means to ‘buy’ success in every field of their interest. It is another matter that that one does not succeed to buy success always.

An over powering fear of failures today has reached such a dangerous stage that some lower level school examinations had to be abolished in some States. It might be a well-intended move, but this method of avoiding examinations, to escape facing failures, is perhaps unjustified.

While abolishing examinations perhaps no one looked at its wider and negative ramifications. For, life is, as they say, not a bed of roses. It is full of failures of various kinds and magnitudes, and need to be learnt at the earliest.

Since this is an age full of nepotism and discriminations of different ‘colours’, one has to, generally speaking, face one or the other failure in one’s life for sure. At that moment, if one has not learnt to face failures bravely, it becomes extremely difficult to cope with them.

No wonder there is a disturbing rise in the number of unfortunate suicides and depression bouts in our society, including our youngsters.

It is very well said that 'the only real failure in life is one not learned from'.

Society today, however, tells us that to fail is the most terrible thing in the world. But it is not. Failure is an integral part of what makes us complete human beings.

Following are a couple of sane quotes of great writers, who talked about failures in correct perspective.

Sir Winston Churchill very rightly remarked: "Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm."

And great English poet John Keats says this about failure; "Don't be discouraged by a failure. It can be a positive experience. Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success, inasmuch as every discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true, and every fresh experience points out some form of error, which we shall afterwards carefully avoid."

Interestingly the above quotes are of those writers who are prescribed in our educational curriculums.

But they remain there in various syllabi mostly to be mugged up and vomited out while writing examinations. Perhaps no one teaches their significance and practicability in life.

Thus, everyone, youngsters in particular, must stop fearing failures in any field of human endeavour. Rather they should learn to face them with brave face.

(Published on 22nd June 2020, Volume XXXII, Issue 26)