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Is Depression A Choice That Only Privileged Can ‘Afford’ To Make?

Posted: December 23, 2020

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It has been my experience that depression seems like a choice that only the privileged can make. This is why I say so.

Depression. While I understand that it is debilitating to those who are prone to it, a question often arises in my mind. Is it a choice that only the privileged get to make?

Everyone has been on that road before. Depression is a real thing and it often leads to many unfortunate scenarios. But I have often found the privileged seeming to be depressed or admitting to it, in my experience.

Our household help is one of the most cheerful people I’ve ever met. She stays permanently in her quarters adjacent to our house in Assam. A hard-working woman, she is raising her three children all on her own. She often does mundane jobs around the neighbourhood to meet the various expenses that come with a growing family. I would like to mention here that all three of her children are well educated.

She seems happy in the little things

She married for love. But love was something that was not meant to be for her. Her alcoholic husband often raised a hell out of her carefully created loving home until one day they separated for good. Heartbreaking isn’t it? But she does not have the time to mend a heartache. When they separated, she had three little children to look after.

I often noticed her children catching fish in the nearby pond. Shrieks of joy confirmed that they have caught a good catch and that the night’s dinner would be a celebration.

People often plan out meals and buy grocery for a week. For my help and her family, this is not even a possibility. They eat what they have, what they grow and they eat well. Cooking it well on wood fire stove while catching up on each other every night.

The smell of wood smoke, carefree laughter and the aroma of freshly cooked meals feel like the warmest thing the wind carries to me from their quarters on cold nights. Most importantly, whenever she makes anything extra, one of her daughters always come over to my mother to share the food.

Is depression just a choice that privileged make?

Chutney made from freshly plucked greens, steamed fish caught fresh from the pond. Sometimes if they catch hold of a large cauliflower or a pumpkin, they surely share the extra portion with us. Nothing mattered to them except the blessings of the present. They seemed to move from acknowledging one blessing to another and thread their life with it while completely ignoring everything else.

A privileged woman living a destiny like my help within the confines of a privileged home would have undoubtedly had many a depression. She would also have splurged a lot of money on psychiatrists and anti-depressants.

My house help on the other hand just lives out her destiny. Because she has no other choice except tending to the immediate present to keep things going.

I have never seen her without a smile or a belly tickling joke every time I met her. She makes me wonder, is depression a choice that privileged people make because they can ‘afford’ to make? Is the human spirit actually stronger than what the world makes it out to be? I would like to believe it is.

Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie Nil Battey Sannata

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A Social Media Content Writer by profession. A writer by heart. A genuine foodie. Simple

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