Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A tragic end but can light come of it?

I read about Varsha Bhosle's tragic end in the papers yesterday.  About a decade ago, I used to follow her columns online and was transfixed by her passions and her writing style.  While I did not nod agreement with what she wrote, I thought she was brilliant.  I was very disappointed when I began to less and less of her columns, and wished that she took pen to paper again if only to be a counterpoint to some of the journalism of the day.

What a terrible and tragic end is the first thought that comes to mind... a life is wasted, but then I remember the crushing pain of depression that I have observed amongst close friends and family who suffer through it.  It is a pain that is a part of you, something that cannot be transcended by pills or cutting off a body part.  It is literally a suffering inside your very soul. Relief comes only in the idea of being able to escape this soul, escape to another dimension or living in an alternate reality.  I cannot fully understand the courage or the despair it takes to turn the switch off, but I hope to be able to accept my own ignorance about what goes on in another's life and head, at least enough not to be judgmental about the decision taken by her.

Someone that I usually respect for their informed opinions, wrote about the daughter not honoring all that her mother stood for...perhaps they meant the mother's fortitude or courage or joidevivre or whatever makes Asha Bhosle tick.  That statement made me very angry.  It is cruel and unusual punishment to make the suffering daughter responsible for the mother's honor and position in society.

It makes me sad that a means to end life was available to Varsha so easily considering that she had made an attempt to end her life before (per press reports anyway).  What makes me sadder still is that no one famous or no one with name recognition, especially amongst her family has made any attempt to humanize or de-stigmatize mental illness in all the years they have known of her suffering.  One word or a series of words from them or their famous friends will do so much to make the cultural and social sting of the words "mental illness" less deadly within Indian society.  Perhaps then more people will seek treatment.

In her grief, Asha Bhosle (and all the people who love her and her daughter) can seek comfort in bringing light to the lives of so many suffering fellow Indians by taking away the stinging stigma of mental illness.  By words, just by words, it costs nothing.  Something can be done even if pockets are sewn up tight.


Lyn said...

Now, I don´t know Varsha Bhosle but I sure know depression (well, depressive phases at least).

The writer (?) you are referring to obviously doesn´t know how it feels when darkness is closing up on you and there is no hope that you will get better. Many patients who are depressed actually DO think about their significant others and often they see suicide as a way to unburden their family and partners.

And treatment can be a long procedure: sometimes having to change medications and good therapists not readily available.

In Germany we needed a prominent soccer player (Robert Enke), who killed himself in 2009 and left a wife and a daugther, to start talking about depression more openly. But it stays to be a diagnosis which carries a certain stigma which pressures the affected individuals even more.

Things are changing slowly...

Mom with a Dot said...

Was wondering how you've been coping with the disaster. Take care.

Renu said...

I have seen that more celebrities or upper class people are falling to depression, or may be they are reported more.

I wish that their families were more caring and noticing the changeds and got them treatment, otherwise its abig irony that those who can afford good treatment waste precious lives like that..