(Vinod Anand)

Depression and frustration come in many forms, sometimes couched in philosophical conundrums that confuse young minds, leading to serious issue. We will have a brief look at these problems. At a point in time in one’s life when one feels all doors are closed and all you can see is darkness, one feels that by not existing physically, we can end the mental anguish. For example, Princess Diana used to inflict cuts on her body to deal with the unbearable pain inside

A 27-year-old Navy officer killed himself at Fort Kochi two weeks ago and left a suicide note, ‘1 want to feel death. No one is responsible”. The next day, a 2 5-year-old MBBS-cum-MBA from JIM jumped eight floors to his death. His note said, “I have completed the search of truth and now know my destination”. The two suicide notes seemed to have walked out of Manu Joseph’s The Illicit Happiness of Other People, which explores existential queries that worry young minds, dangerous philosophical games adolescents play, scary thoughts they toy with, and the labyrinths of dysfunctional minds. And in the midst of all this is the very intelligent and abnormally happy young Unni Chacko, who suddenly ends his life at 17. His father wonders, “What did Unni know, what could make a boy so contemptuous of happiness, of his own extraordinary happiness, and of human life, which he considered so trivial....?”

Indeed, what are the depths of depression and hopelessness that young minds plummet to, where they see no ray of home? What causes them to hurt themselves, to self-injure, which is more rampant than you would imagine! Recently, a prominent Delhi school banned sale of blades in their stationery shop as children were buying these to cut themselves! Researching for this article, I found 513,000,000 results on Google for “I cut myself”, and within an hour of posting the question on my Face-book wall, I had at least six people message me privately with confessions.
It seems many more kids out there than you would believe have self-injured at some time in life. They cite teenage tensions, family problems, disillusionment with loved ones and the pressure of studies as causes. One shockingly says, “I just wanted to feel pain!” Aarti writes through a friend. ’I was only l4-15 then. There was too much tension...friends... family issues, so I took out all the frustration on myself. I did it because of frustration and helplessness,” she says.

Explains another self-injurer Megha in a Face book message. “It’s a passing phase, but it’s that prolonged pain that triggers self-hurt, in an effort to end that hurt. At any point in life, when one feels all doors are closed, one s feels that by not existing physically, one can end them end the mental anguish. You don’t want to deal with it anymore, and there is no motivation to even see some distant light”. A 1 5-year-old writes in a ‘I cut myself’ forum, “I know it’s wrong and I have scars all over my arms, but I can’t help it... I need to get rid of the pain, anger, also fear... It just helps.” A number of celebrities such as Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Megan Fox, Courtney Love have admitted to self-injuring as a way of dealing with insecurity, fear and frustrations. Angelina Jollie admitted in an interview to Rolling Stone, that in her early teens she used to hurt herself a lot. Princess Diana too admitted in a BBC interview that she would inflict cuts on her arms and legs and explained that you have so much pain inside that you try and hurt the outside, because you need help. If self-injury is a cry for help, all we need to do is understand i1 when and where that help is required, and provide it. Don’t we all at some time feel so frustrated that we feel like tearing out our hair? Explains Megha, who has been there and emerged stronger, ‘All it needs is that ONE person to hang on to, that one person tells you it’s fine to feel that way and you should do it if you really want to, BUT hold on to them for just a little bit longer. And that changes everything. Because gradually time changes, life changes and one feels differently later.”
Says another netizen, “What you need to do is to use that stress and anger, etc, towards something good, and music is one of the best things you can put your soul into. When someone angers you, write an angry song.” Music, books, art, conversations, relationships — use any hook to life you need to help yourself. Why must philosophical conundrums lead us to explore pain and death to understand life; let us resolve to explore the intricacies of life instead!

Author's Bio: 


Born in 1939, and holding Master’s Degree both in Mathematics (1959) and Economics (1961), and Doctorate Degree in Economics (1970), Dr. Vinod K.Anand has about forty five years of teaching, research, and project work experience in Economic Theory (both micro and macro), Quantitative Economics, Public Economics, New Political Economy, and Development Economics with a special focus on economic and social provisions revolving around poverty, inequality, and unemployment issues, and also on informal sector studies. His last assignment was at the National University of Lesotho (Southern Africa) from 2006 to 2008. Prior to that he was placed as Professor and Head of the Department of Economics at the University of North-West in the Republic of South Africa, and University of Allahabad in India, Professor at the National University of Lesotho, Associate Professor at the University of Botswana, Gaborone in Botswana, and at Gezira University in Wad Medani, Sudan, Head, Department of Arts and Social Sciences, Yola in Nigeria, Principal Lecturer in Economics at Maiduguri University in Nigeria, and as Lecturer at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in Nigeria. Professor Anand has by now published more than 80 research papers in standard academic journals, authored 11 books, supervised a number of doctoral theses, was examiner for more than twenty Ph.D. theses, and has wide consultancy experience both in India and abroad, essentially in the African continent. This includes holding the position of Primary Researcher, Principal Consultant etc. in a number of Research Projects sponsored and funded by Universities, Governments, and International Bodies like, USAID, IDRC, and AERC. His publications include a variety of themes revolving around Economic Theory, New Political Economy, Quantitative Economics, Development Economics, and Informal Sector Studies. His consultancy assignments in India, Nigeria, Sudan, Botswana, and the Republic of South Africa include Non-Directory Enterprises in Allahabad, India, Small Scale Enterprises in the Northern States of Nigeria, The Absolute Poverty Line in Sudan, The Small Scale Enterprises in Wad Medani, Sudan, Micro and Small Scale Enterprises in Botswana, The Place of Non-Formal Micro-Enterprises in Botswana, Resettlement of a Squatter Community in the Vryburg District of North West Province in the Republic of South Africa, Trade and Investment Development Programme for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises: Support for NTSIKA in the Republic of South Africa, and Development of the Manufacturing Sector in the Republic of South Africa’s North West Province: An Approach Based on Firm Level Surveys. Professor Anand has also extensively participated in a number of conferences, offered many seminars, participated in a number of workshops, and delivered a variety of Refresher Lectures at different venues both in India and abroad. Dr. Anand was placed at the prestigious Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla in the State Himachal Pradesh, India as a Fellow from 2001 to 2003, and had completed a theoretical and qualitative research project/monograph on the Employment Profile of Micro Enterprises in the State of Himachal Pradseh, India.