It has been one of those days: reflecting and giving a thought to those suffering in silence, invisible to the world around us. It is a heart breaking experience. Especially for those who have taken the journey of anxiety and depression.
Nothing can teach a person about mental disability than lived experiences. Yet, they are hard to talk about. For good reasons.
Celebrating the mental health day is a difficult event to me, for personal reasons. Yet, it was made worse today, because I came to know of a close person who has suicidal thoughts. They have no way to find help. I know you will give me a list of service providers.
Imagine a hungry person who is almost starving, who does not have the strength or the will power to walk into one of those shining five star restaurants that dot the high street, cos you are worth nothing, don’t have a dime, don’t know how you will be treated or rather shunned out. Would you blame the person for starving?
My friend has a family who cannot comprehend what they are going through. The available help are bureaucracies with rules and regulations and high offices. They don’t reach out to you, they expect you to reach out to them, but you have no strength, because you are worthless.
I was lucky three years ago on this day, when I finally realized that I was not functioning, and sought professional help. I was lucky to have a loving family, friends and colleagues, who became an invisible cushion that I could fall down to. As I took the journey to recovery, I had an employer who was patient for over two years to bear with me.
I also had a family who loved me and cared for me unconditionally for what I am – Villijoali, a family and a home that I went back to every Friday. That was a great part of my healing process. That is why I believe that it is community that helps you to regain your well being.
My friend has none of the above, and they don’t know no better than to just shut themselves out. They are suffering quietly without help to reach out to. They need a helpline to anonymously find their way to peace and well being.
People with mental disability need help to let them find a way out of the pain. A witness cannot comprehend an ounce of the pain.
I am so upset that my friend is feeling so helpless on this mental health day. Because they are not in a house on fire. If they were we will all rush to help. And have resources and trained people to attend.
I pray that we find a way to build a community in which my friend can seek treatment without shutting themselves out.
Mental health day should be about visiting a family member, relative, friend or colleague who is going through a tough time,
to sit down with them and to give them dedicated quality time to listen and let them know you have heard, and respect their feelings without prejudice and judgement.
It should not be a day to talk to or about people with mental disability. It should be a day to listen to them. Give those suffering a safe space to walk into, where they will be welcome and heard by caregivers who know how.
And if you can’t visit, make a call and have a conversation and just listen. You can do wonders. Yes, you can.
The country is celebrating Mental Health Day today. Walking, talking, running, posting, boasting, and what not. The person who is suicidal is there in the crowd and watching.
Given up on life, without any hope or meaningful purpose. The only hope for them is the deafeningly loud noise telling them that you are no good, useless, worthless, and constantly reminding of their failures and the ill fate awaiting the next moment, the next day, the next week, the next year, and so on.
The challenge is to act, better than the most renowned artist, to show the rest of humanity what a happy person you are, have been and will be. That life is beautiful inside and out. Knowing well what a lie it is.
It is funny that people around are so eager to help, but they want you to expose yourself first. Then they want to play the pity card.
Life goes on – it is just another day of wearing tshirts, walking, talking, posting, boasting and what not. All that needs to be done is a drop in center and a helpline in population centers.
But they will not do it. It will not be a photo op as grand as the above. Happy Mental Health Day to all suffering.
Today I came across this amazing piece of writing, which – according to a friend, was circulating in Viber groups. The author is Mr. Ismail Shafeeu, who is said to have worked at all levels of the education sector over the past years and is currently pursuing his education further. (Kindly note below is a crude translation.)
“There are 2160 expatriate teachers who are teaching in the schools of Maldives this year – 2019. In the past years, we have had even more. Moreover, over 85% of doctors and nurses working in the Maldives are foreigners. And 90% of them are not Muslims.
The said expatriates live a peaceful life, with dignity and respect. If the schools in the country had a curriculum promoting religious extremism, would they have been able to live in peace?
As a person who have worked at all levels of the school system, I can confidently say that there is no part in the education provided in the schools that promotes hatred or violence against non-Muslims. The result is that (including myself) the most beloved of teachers of any Maldivian is either a Sri Lankan or and Indian. If schools promoted religious hatred this would not have been the case.
Therefore those who say that the schools in Maldives teach religious extremism are saying so without any basis. Such research is based on heresy, fabricated information, and lies produced by them. These will not be considered in distinguished academic discourse.
The great majority of those who have lost civility and good character are mostly those who have not completed the school system. They had not completed formal schooling up to grade 10 or 12 in a school. It is highly unlikely that a person who have completed and gone through a good education in their school days will have such extremist leniencies. This is sufficient to realize that the school curriculum in Maldives does not promote religious extremism.
Indeed. Allah has set limits in Islam to protect the fundamentals of the humanity, civilization, wealth and religious matters. Those who criticize religion do not want to be bound by those limits. It is evident from what they write. There agenda can only be achieved through the elimination of the Islamic curriculum in schools. Therefore they voice out against the basis of the curriculum which is the Quran the Ways of Prophet Muhammadh Rasool S.A.W. There can be no other reason.”
What can schools, colleges, universities, councils, NGOs and scholars do to instill a culture of tolerance and respect in the next generation of our youth?
I asked on Twitter. And there were some very thoughtful responses, including: (i) teachers need to show tolerance and respect through action and role modeling instead of giving advice on it (ii) empathy and respect needs to be taught – above all (iii) teach the akhlaaq of Prophet Muhammadh Rasool S.A.W. (iv) teach to read, learn and understand (v) build national unity on a common vision (vi) introducing nature play weeks (vii) community gardens and libraries (viii) reading to children, and engaging with them and having a dialogue (ix) teach chidlren the value of walking instead of riding on motorbikes.
These are all fantastic thoughts. I am sure there will be many more creative ideas and thoughts. The implementation needs to be decentralized I believe.
Building communities that are tolerant and peace loving and promote respect, should be decentralized and owned by the communities themselves. It should happen and be led at the island level in atolls and ward level in cities.
The central agency for building tolerance and respect should be the respective council or ward boards. Local players should fall within the jurisdiction of the community leadership, and the national mechanisms should provide resources and technical expertise. Not impose, but facilitate on request.
Tolerance and respect can only be sustained when it is the responsibility of communities rather than to serve the interest of officials elsewhere and detached from the communities.
If we don’t act now, we may be faced with a bleak future sooner than later.
The Ruby Arena, TRIVANDRUM: This afternoon I was having lunch with my father and step mother Hawatha. As we were in a conversation while waiting for the food to arrive, I was suddenly reminded of my first step mother Mandhatha.
The thought brought tears to my eyes. She was a wonderful person. She treated me like she treated any other of her children. She was always giving. She had so much to give. But. She never asked nor wanted anything from me.
The last time I saw her was when she was in hospital. Very ill. I put something under her pillow which I wanted her to have. I specifically remember that because she would not have allowed my if she knew. I came to Male’ after the visit hoping to return to see her. But she was gone before I could visit.
The most cherished of the memories I have of her is the goodies that she would send to us all the way from Addu. Sometimes she would send it through people. Sometimes she would bring it by herself.
Not only that. Whenever I would visit Addu she would make a feast “like a jinni” (in a flash). She would find the chicken and make a feast as for a prince. She would amass goodies to be taken. I would have to convince her I like to travel light, and finally negotiate to send it through someone going to Male’.
I missed her so badly, because I realized I never gave anything to the woman who gave so much to me.
I thought she was looking for a reason to have a fight. It was definitely what I was looking for – a reason to fight. That was what it turned out to be. Full of stress. Trying not to be negative. In the end, it was a lie. It was a horrible day. Yet, we agreed and pretended that it was a beautiful one.
We had fought. We did fight. But now it is too much. We would rather not. So it is now a waste of time to even give it a try. The beauty of putting a fight is not there anymore. Because the love has withered and the kindness has waned.
There is now no reason to believe. That the moments of high tension will be cherished. As they were. So the moment of truth is now. As we try to pretend that nothing has changed. When everything has.
Life goes on. Without the passion and joy that used to make it so beautiful.
When the time comes to leave
there comes a hesitation
Unfulfilled dreams and hopes
That have kept you going
For we have not
for this eventuality
in body mind and soul
That is the reason why
we must always be ready
to pack up with a Smile
when it comes to that eventuality
It is your ability to move on
that has given the momentum
to advancement and prosperity
that puts you in a better place
Some do not realize
when their time is up
that there is a better place
waiting to happen when you pack
Go go go my friend
just go and never turn back
for there is nothing like moving
to a dream bigger better and unknown
he and she
drive fear and hatred
into you in abundance
making life unbearable
you are not worth
nor good for anything
hatred is all she knows
you are no use
nor good for anything
driving fear is all he knows
they define your life
your happiness and joy
they are masters of fate
who only know fear and hatred
is a child of fate
born of a purpose
designed by destiny
he and she
are the masters
of your fate and destiny
full of fear and hatred