Empathy, a life skill, can save many lives from depression

Death of a young person, due to suicide, always seems to disturb us. And if the person was a public figure, then our collective conscience gets violated and we start questioning the lifestyles, stresses, parenting techniques, BUT of others and not our OWN.

And that is the lowest point of our personalities.

We judge; we accuse; we mock; we point fingers at...everyone but our OWNSELVES.

And the COVID crisis, brought to the surface this ugliness like never before.

“The old uncles in our colony are so shameless that they still go out for walks in groups and then there is this aunty who is calling her part-timer back for work; how useless can she be,” said a friend recently to me on the phone. And before I could react to it, her next statement was, “Did you hear about the actor who committed suicide? I am sure he was depressed. This is so sad. We should really treat depression as a serious health issue and watch out for our friends…” and then she launched into a long monologue of how people who are depressed need only a friend to listen to them, they are mostly lonely, and we should have empathy.

This concern coming from the same person, who a minute, ago was calling some senior gentlemen, “shameless” just for taking a walk and looking after their health requirements or an aunty “useless” for calling her part time domestic helper back, albeit during the times of COVID, sounded hollow to me. Meaningless.

What we need is not theoretical beliefs in depression and bookish resolutions, what we need is changing ourselves and watching out our own psychology.

We are quick to judge someone who is different from us or does not lead life as per our thinking, and equally quick to empathize with a young life lost due to depression.

It effectively means that there is a dissonance in our minds somewhere; while we know judging is not right and can sometimes push people to the extreme, we are not able to take cognizance of our judgemental behaviour. Perhaps it is time to just do that.

Stop judging people for what they are doing or what they want to do; if we can try and understand them and when we can’t understand it, accept their decisions and lifestyles as their own.

Empathy is not that hard a skill to cultivate.