Friday, 30 May 2014

DON’T QUIT: Think Happy, Live Better.

I wonder how come one can estimate his/ her life so wasted that losing one’s life
sometimes seems the easiest bargain.
 DON’T QUIT: Think Happy, Live Better.

Recently Board exam results got announced and as always news of students’ suicide attempts was the talk of the town. I wonder how come one can estimate his/ her life so wasteful that losing one’s life sometimes seems the easiest bargain. And this set me thinking ‘In Detail’ (with some number crunching statistics) about loss, stress and depression that lead some of us to the most stupid act (read suicide) and how we can get out of this silly-self-made-trap with a little self-help.

“You may have vices, problems and weaknesses... you may be a flawed person, but accepting your flaws and working towards a better ‘you’ is a must. There are times when you may not be in the happiest state of mind, but that doesn’t mean you make everyone around you unhappy. A happy mind is the secret to a happier self.”
 ~ John Abraham

DON’T QUIT: Think Happy, Live Better. Yes dear, it sounds too much ‘GYAN’ in one go. I do admit that I have borrowed my title’s tagline from ‘Eat Healthy, Think Better’ (Britannia punchline: "Swasth Khao Tan Man Jagao"). But the reason for reproducing the title is quite simple. First, it sounds catchy. And second, it conveys the intended message exactly. This time this blog post is not only about thinking positively but also about making a better choice. Well, the issue is more serious this time. Do you know that almost one million lives are lost yearly due to suicide, which works out to 3,000 suicide deaths daily? For every person, who completes a suicide, 20 or more may attempt to end his/ her life.* One out of 10 people globally suffer from major depression and almost one out of five persons has suffered from this disorder during his lifetime. At present, depression is estimated to affect 350 million people. By 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of world disability, and by 2030 it is expected to be the largest contributor to disease burden.**
At present, depression is estimated to affect 350 million people.
In a shocking new book titled ‘This Is Me: The Autobiography’, Australian swimming legend Ian Thorpe with five Olympic medals, discloses his darkest secrets. He writes, “My illness was so severe that, at times, I considered suicide. My blackest periods would often last a month, and it was during those times that I thought about ‘it’ happening. I even considered specific places or a specific way to kill myself, but then always baulked, realising how ridiculous it was. Could I have killed myself? Looking back, I don’t think so, but there were days in my life that, even now, make me shudder. I used alcohol as a means to rid my head of terrible thoughts – but I did it behind closed doors, where many depressed people choose to fight their demons before they realise they can’t do it without help. Now I am managing my depression properly.”

A R Rahman’s biography ‘The Spirit of Music’ also gives out a big secret about the Oscar winning singer-composer. He too battled suicidal tendencies. He states, “It felt so hopeless and I often wondered how I was going to get out of all that. All those years of struggle, humiliation, being ordered around by other people, seeing worry on the faces of my family, the feeling of an inferiority complex, the lack of self esteem, and even at times, fighting suicidal thoughts – all that seemed to fade away when I bought my first mixer/ recorder in 1989 with the money that my mother had kept aside for the marriage of my younger sisters.”
They obviously thought of chucking it all but they
refused point blank to the option of complete surrendering.
On the basis of my own personal experiences, I can say that disappointment, dejection and depression are sometimes too hard to avoid especially when life is full of rejections. Many people crack under pressure. You cannot wear an artificial smile on your face when you are sad within (while some people do that and are expert in it). And it’s not just about people like you and me. Even super achievers in life like Thorpe and Rahman and many others have also been the victims of the same ‘sad stuff’. They obviously thought of chucking it all but they refused point blank to the option of complete surrendering. And there are also people like Jiah Khan who quit from the stage of life over a heart break. I think this is the greatest cowardice to give up when life gets a little rough. They say there is no greater sin than that of suicide because you’re kicking God’s gift of life in the face and proving you are not worth it. Well, the theory of afterlife and rebirth (whether you subscribe to it or not) suggests that people who do not receive their due life lessons and quit life freely are bound to born with the same circumstances over and over again till the lesson is learnt (Do you get it?!!) 

Now one may wonder if our life is going to depend solely on antidepressants and stress relievers. The answer is a big ‘No’. And here is a great clue. A new study has revealed that one third of antidepressants drug studies are never published in medical literature. In virtually all those study that are hidden from the public, the drug did not work. Yes, the drug did not work! Yes, this is the catch. What is the secret formula? Very Simple! It’s an interesting ‘mind-game’ where you are supposed to ‘believe’ that everything will be alright (like the pill or the potion will make you feel better). And this faith in the drug sometimes does get you better (not the drug itself). Our thoughts play a huge role in shaping up our life as a whole? In other words, your thoughts rule your entire well being. For example, a break-up or some sad news activates the release of stress hormones 'Cortisol', while cheerful people with positive attitude have more happy hormones 'Endorphin' in their bloodstream. Likewise, couples who regularly have heated arguments are more likely to have severe health problems. Well, one thing is absolutely clear that negative thought of any kind leads to ill effects. And in some extreme cases, it often leads to suicidal tendencies. In other words, Happiness is in your hands and most of the time, it’s more in your head. If you can control your thoughts; your thoughts, in effect, can control your inner emotions.
I am never going to quit.
Accept yourself for all the wonderful things you are and all the things you aren't. Don’t let life wipe you totally out. Problems are nothing but challenges. And taking challenges out of life would be like taking a net away from a tennis game. It is a combination of your considerable courage and rock-solid determination that turns the tide in your favour. Yes, you too can switch gears. You too can grow up to a new level and become an admirably remarkable inspiration for others. Do get going when the going gets tough. Value the life you have. Realise that you've been blessed with so much. Be grateful for the many things you've taken for granted. Celebrate your little improvements; don't beat yourself up for what you could not achieve. No matter if you stumble and fall, pick yourself up, dust off and keep going. If you look hard enough, I'm sure you will find the silver lining in every cloud. Setbacks are just opportunities for comebacks. Remember that the greatest of heroes are not those who didn't face hardships, but those who overcame them.

Last but not the least. And I love it whenever I read this ‘outstanding piece of inspiration’ (and next time whenever your heart says, “I Quit”, do read these lines over and over again. I did and I am never going to quit.)

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit-
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow -
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor's cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out -
The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It might be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit -
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

~ Author Unknown

* A report by the WHO, Depression and Global Crisis
** The World Psychiatric Association (WPA)

If you like this blog post and wish to share your experiences/ remarks/ views with me, you are most welcome. Write to me at Like on by Gaurav Misra. Follow on Twitter@pdpbygm.