You deserve to be happy because you are alive. You were built to use happiness as a tool to assess the world that surrounds you. It’s in your genes, in your nature, in the way that you have functioned. Happiness is at the core of our experiences – it is as incomprehensible to deny ourselves the feeling as it is to deny ourselves the experience of eating or sleeping or breathing. We are human beings and happiness is a vital part of our survival/living.
This time last year, I wasn’t sure who I was or what I was capable of being. I was unsure of how things were going to turn out, was lost and thoughtless. I kept looking for ways to outlive negativity, to hold myself tight, to keep fighting, to never give up and to rise. I was desperate; but patient.
Last year, I let go of a lot of things. I let go of the person who I thought was the one for me. I let go of the things that never really belonged with me, held me down and pushed me into the dark. I let go of the pessimism that was brewing in me day in and out and the anxiety and paranoia that devoured me wholly.
I realized how busy I was fixing my invisible crown which was always at the hands of those I needed approval from.
But, here I am now, stable and no longer hanging off the edge. I can’t assure that this is permanent, but I am going to work on making it one because I believe everything can change and it’s only a matter of time. I believe in the universe and Law of Attraction; what you give is what you receive. I am now fixated on staying positive throughout, negating pessimism, staying low-key, working on myself, not letting my thoughts overcrowd my mind at difficult situations and above all, staying sane with sanctitude.
Now I try to explore different arenas, learn from my past experiences and grow into a new individual. It is also quite exhilarating to wonder what challenges you can run into each day.
I remind myself of this everyday:
Strive to be the best version of yourself, even if you have to lose certain qualities. Strive to make the people you love happy, even if you disappoint them from time to time. Strive to achieve what challenges you for the purpose of growing.
The American Psychiatric Association describes Bipolar Disorder as “… brain disorders that cause changes in a person’s mood, energy and ability to function. People with bipolar disorders have extreme and intense emotional states that occur at distinct times, called mood episodes. These mood episodes are categorized as manic, hypomanic or depressive.”
A friend of mine suffering from Bipolar Disorder describes it like this, “If Depression is a dark tunnel, Bipolar Disorder is a rollercoaster which takes you deep inside this tunnel and out of it, over and over again.” As a bystander, it was always an enigma as to what she might be going through. Each Day was a different experience in itself.
Her diagnosis came as a surprise. It was during a low phase in her life when her father, who was a Psychiatrist by profession, broke the news to her. It was almost like it broke her. Her father was as helpless looking at his daughter’s condition as she was in her depression.
• Formerly known as manic depression, it is a condition that affects moods, which can swing from depression to mania
• Symptoms range from overwhelming feelings of worthlessness to feeling very happy and having lots of ambitious plans and ideas
• Each extreme episode can last several weeks
• Treatment includes mood stabilisers which are to be taken every day on a long-term basis, combined with talking therapy and lifestyle changes
The medicines prescribed for a condition like this are called mood stabilizers. When you’re ecstatic, they lower your mood and when you’re deep in depression, they lift you up. The latter sounds like a good idea, making you feel better when you’re in a state of depression, but when you’re ecstatic why would you want to suppress ?
Well, it’s because if you don’t take your medicines when you’re happy, they don’t work when you’re sad. Sounds complicated right? Imagine dealing with this every single day and convincing yourself that that medication is important for you. And that’s not even the main problem. You wake up every morning not knowing how you’re going to feel. You only wish for the mania to last but all good things come to an end and so do your happy days. One day you’re on cloud nine – all smiles, extremely productive and enthusiastic and the very next day, the light seems to fade away, you lose your will to get out of bed and who once seemed like an extremely positive person turns into negative and introverted shunning everything.
I saw my friend during her highs and I saw her during her lows. It was almost like she was a different person in a matter of weeks. As well-wishers, we always encouraged her to take her medicines but a certain question of hers always intrigued me – “If I need medicines to be normal then is it truly my normal?”
Bipolar Disorder is not when your mood changes each day, it occurs in phases i.e. a gradual process where each stage seems to be stable for a while before shifting. The two extreme phases i.e. mania and depression could last several weeks or a few months before the shift happens and when it does, you get absorbed in it. Doctors do say that between the two extremes, comes a time which can be stated to be emotionally balanced but one cannot seem to decide when that happens. By the end of the day, you are left in an emotional turmoil, indeterminate and confused.
Problems like these made me appreciate what it feels like to be mentally healthy and appreciate my mental health more. When we feel low, we might ignore it for a really long time but there comes a point where it is okay to accept that there may be something wrong and seek help. Trust me, running away from something like this is not the better option.
It is difficult to comprehend what people having Bipolar disorder go through. That is why it is important to listen to their experiences. Let us look at one such young woman diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and how she is spreading awareness about her condition through art.
Missy Douglas and Bipolar Disorder Missy Douglas was first diagnosed as bipolar aged 19 when she was studying art history at the University of Cambridge. She said it finally joined the dots as to why she often felt withdrawn and melancholic, or precocious and arrogant. Fed up with keeping her mental health a secret,she spent a year creating a painting each day to express her feelings. Controversially, she decided not to take her medication during this time, in the hope that paintings demonstrating her highs and lows would raise awareness of her condition. The following are some of the paintings from her collection.
Day 236. “I was burying feelings and my emotions were all over the place. Very turbulent.”
Day 242. “I was at the height of mania here, but there was a massive wave of white depression heading towards me.”
Day 314 – Mania. “I was buzzing and everything was technicolor and beautiful. I was flying and felt invincible.”
Day 359 – Christmas Day 2013. “I was feeling very depressed yet I completely compartmentalised and concealed it. The twinkly forced jollity hid the sadness.”
Day 5. “I was really anxious, angry and feeling trapped.”
In 2009 Doughlas left the UK and established her own fine art studio and art school in Brussels. Two years later she headed to New York and now spends her time immersed in the creative scenes of Long Island, Queens and further afield in Seattle.
When I tell people for the first time that I’m depressed, people ask me the one question that, to this day, stumps me, makes me feel like I just pulled my tongue out of the freezer: ‘why’.
Now, this question is not entirely strange; depression is a product of many things-from death of a family member, to divorce, to a messy breakup in romantic relationships, perpetual negative reinforcement from parents and society to a bajillion other things- can cause it. But there’s often an expectation that you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move the fuck on.
The real horror starts when, you don’t.
So I’m currently awaiting to determine how severe it is by a professional psychiatrist but I’ve come to understand that I’ve had depression for about eight months now. I can still function fairly normally and do most things expected of me. I can go to college and hold conversations, engage in a classroom and ask the teacher doubts, hold a decent CGPA and, if asked, have a ready answer about what I really want to do with my life.
Under most circumstances, there is no problem but, if you’d indulge me in a little bit of a cheesy sales pitch,
‘Would you want to wake up every day to want nothing more than to just go back to sleep for good? Would you like to feel tired for doing nothing and want nothing more to just have a sharp object so you can kill yourself?’
‘Then, boy oh boy I have the product for you its: depression!’
Depression is not just sadness. It is waking up every day with a heart full of pain for no discernible reason. It’s in the way happiness dies on our face because we are smiling to hide it from those who probably wouldn’t help anyway. It’s constantly, despite your best efforts, feeling completely and utterly useless and that, if you could die tomorrow, no one will give a shit. It’s being unable to feel anything if you can’t feel pain. No joy, no anger, no sadness just, the numb, emotional equivalent of TV static.
Touching back on the pain, it’s the kind that feels like you are being eaten from the inside. That makes you a husk that simply cannot be filled. If it goes on long enough, it feels like you could go mad from it. Yet, all of this is discredited when unable to answer the simple question ‘why?’
When I quip and say I didn’t do it, throwing out how it’s possible that the death of three of my grandparents when I was in 12th affected me deeper than I ever let it, most retorts I get include ‘But they were old no?’ or ‘But that was years ago right? Why are you letting that affect you now?’ To this day, I have no idea why I have depression. It’s not something one chooses to have. As I said before, several things could trigger depression and it could manifest itself in many different ways.
To this day, I thought about killing myself several times. I looked at methods from hanging myself, to running a razor across my wrists, to starving myself; the only reason I didn’t was because I didn’t want to make my family unhappy I never attempted suicide yet. But I know I could if things go on like this.
To say that depression isn’t real is like saying one’s emotions aren’t real. Sure, many can’t see them or feel them but they are there. I’m sorry if this post makes you uncomfortable. Or reminds you of feelings that you’d rather forget about but I am telling you how I feel because I think no one deserves to suffer in silence.
With 2017 coming to an end, this year saw a lot of debates and discussions about Mental Health issues than ever before. The Mental Health Act was passed this year on April 7th, which decriminalized suicide attempts. However, the world endured a lot of negativity as well. On the other end of the spectrum, this year also saw the rise of the Blue Whale challenge that shook the children of the world and we had to join hands to fight against it. The newspapers also carried headlines of an unprecedentedly large number of suicides, with most of the victims being teenagers and college-goers. And a mammoth of a question remains unanswered – What really pushed them to do this?
You see, the students that made it to the headlines this year all seemed to fit a certain profile. All of them were academically well off and had a normal relationship with their friends and family. No visible symptoms of depression or anxiety could be found out, they weren’t looking any different, their daily activities weren’t affected in any way, and all of them seemed normal and as they would every other day. Their suicides came as a big, unpredictable blow to their friends and family since literally nothing pointed to them suffering from any kind of mental health issues or, so they thought.
This observation or the lack of it reveals a darker truth. Most of us aren’t aware of a class of disorders that has now become to be known as “high-functioning” disorders. It is a recent development in the field of psychology and one that has come in a much-needed time.
For those who don’t know what they are, High-functioning disorders are the same as any other mental health disorder that one may suffer from but possess a darker trait, they do not affect your daily life. Psychologists are more worried of the people who suffer from these class of disorders since they are extremely difficult to diagnose. People with high-functioning versions of disorders such as anxiety and depression will not seem any different from a person without the disorders, superficially. They will continue with their normal lives as if nothing affects them at all, their body and brain cope very well with their conditions and as a result, their work and academic lives remain undisturbed. They’re social and active, all smiles and whatnot but on the inside, they’re still suffering and unable reach out to anyone.
For someone who is suffering and looks to the internet first to arrive at some kind of a self-diagnosis, it really doesn’t help when none of the mental health disorders’ so called “symptoms” fit them. Not many articles relating to these high functioning forms of disorders are present even on the internet, which is one of, if not the largest communicative space globally. And hence understandably, not much awareness is present with regard to these issues.
If you are suffering from not being the best version of yourself and doubt that it could be anxiety or depression or any other issues but experience none of the visible giveaways, do consult a psychologist.
It is never easy to battle these on your own and you shouldn’t either. The world is here to listen and to help. And if you doubt that one of your loved ones is suffering but do not know what to do since they do seem normal to everyone else, sit them down and talk to them. Ask them if they’re doing okay and if not, tell them that you’re there to help them get through this.
Everyone needs a hand sometimes. You could end up saving a life from further suffering because of the lack of awareness. Do your bit and spread the word.
“As I sit in my room on a particularly dark afternoon, life seems all but a melancholic drone of has been’s and would be’s, mechanically wheezing into a nightmarish scenario where shadows are friends and humans seem unfriendly. The clock ticks like it is the harbinger of my doomsday, my mind screams, wanting everything to stop! Gears slip into motion, my monsters crawl out of my own mind and sing me the most painful soliloquy. My life squishes like a squandered set of useless paraphernalia while my mind keeps telling me to just not do it anymore.”
This is not an excerpt from a Stephen King novel, albeit it may be very scary. It is the rant of a mind suffering from anxiety, one of the many mental health illnesses plaguing the human population. Sadly, most people do not care.
A report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.
Yet, major sovereign states have failed to provide justifiable legislation for the same, or have refused to put enough stress on it. To provide a particular example, let’s take India, the country of my birth and the subject of my patriotism. India is a nation of 1.34 billion people, constituting the world’s largest youth population and second largest population overall.
Statistical reports from the WHO show us that almost 7.5% of the population of India suffers from mental health disorders, with the number growing by the passing day.
These disorders constitute depression, anxiety, hypertension, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to name a few.
People suffering from such disorders require expert intervention and regular treatment for improvement, so as to ensure that a large part of the global population is not only physically fit, but mentally as well. However, a particular case study will show that might not be the case.
Mental health treatment institutions in India are mostly three-fold: private high-end facilities, government facilities and religious facilities. While the first case scenario is only for an elite segment of the population, it is mostly the other two which most people can avail.
However, India is facing a mental health crisis. With only 43 government-run mental hospitals serving a population of 1.3 billion, resources are spread thin. Moreover, mental illness is highly stigmatised in India, especially among women, who are typically committed to mental health facilities with no legal rights, and receive involuntary treatment sometimes without a proper diagnosis.
The worst-case scenario are religious institutions and independent cult leaders who proceed to treat mental health illness on their own with confounding, unscientific practices including the likes of black magic and sacrificial rituals.
Yet, however unsatisfactory the medical practices surrounding mental health or the interest shown in it from a professional aid perspective may be, the worst problem for mental health illness is social stigma.
Stigma is officially defined as a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person. Mental health issues have often been deemed weak and disgraceful, a mark of wasteful elitism and a rotten excuse by people in human civilisation since time immemorial.
Because of this, a huge number of people still go on to ask a depressed person to just “forget it and move on”, call someone with ADHD or similar issues to be making excuses or being ‘elitist’ and ‘wasteful’, and not to forget, pin any behaviour deviating from the norm upon one strategic word, ‘madness’. Like a disease, not one which needs to be treated, but one which is disgraceful and needs to be exterminated.
When such levels of stigma exist as norms in the human society for centuries, people suffering from mental health illnesses hesitate to acknowledge their issues and seek public help for fear of having no personal comfort, and for being ostracised with mean, dispirited comments, along the lines of ‘weak’, ‘disgraceful’ and ‘loser’, to name just a few.
Corporate policies surrounding mental health illnesses are far too few, recognition of the same as a legitimate health concern is astoundingly low, even for educated individuals, and social acceptance for mental health illnesses are catastrophic. All of this does not cut a pretty picture for something we should definitely not be ignoring or castigating.
Of course, not everything is bleak. Many developed nations have constitutional laws and legislative precedence for acceptance of mental health issues and protection of those suffering from related causes. Developing countries are following suit, with India having recently passed a law to decriminalize suicide attempts and provide better healthcare for patients of mental health disorders.
Yet, until a higher number of facilities are provided at a sovereign level, and the social stigma surrounding the same is not shattered, progress, however promising, will seem unconvincing.
Sovereign improvements require better political philosophy, a discussion beyond the mandate of this article. However, no amount of legal or political support will matter till social acceptance for these issues do not improve, a conundrum which requires more education about the same, grassroots movements and an altogether improved level of awareness, thus leading to amicable acceptances.
Although this does seem a long way off, many local non-profits and popular public personalities have taken up this cause and have launched a crusade to improve circumstances surrounding it.
One particular initiative I absolutely love and am involved with is ‘Lonepack’. As a small, up and coming non-profit organisation based in India, we have been fighting the stigma surrounding mental health for over a year now through multiple campaigns.
Our latest campaign, ‘Save The Whale‘ challenge, is an attempt to increase positivity over the internet and provide a challenge to the despicable ‘Blue Whale‘ game. Many other organisations exist who engage in similar work.
However, it cannot just be institutions fighting the good fight, it has to be everyone. Only then will this crusade actually mean something and be successful in making a difference.
Maybe there is a future better than the situation we are in today, but that will never be possible without enough awareness. Next time you meet someone suffering from a mental health disorder, do not attempt to jeer or advice. Reach out a hand and be there for them with nothing but silent support.
Let us make this world a better and more acceptable place, one person at a time. Till then, all we have is hope. Surely, we can do better than that?
One of the most talked about topics that is being discussed everywhere right now is the Blue Whale Challenge. As many of you may have come to known, this supposed “challenge” of sorts is one of the most manipulating and dangerous things that this world governed by social media has discovered. But the problem lies in the fact that many people do not understand the seriousness of this repulsive game and take it upon themselves to voluntarily sign up for it out of mere curiosity. The whole “Nothing will happen to me, I just want to know what it is about” mentality of people today is something that has to change immediately.
“I felt my mind floating after the 15th step. I was obeying the commands of the game master voluntarily. It was a kind of hypnotism. My mind was being overpowered. I was scared of quitting since the game master collected all sorts of information about me and my family. But I took a chance. Fortunately, nothing has happened to me,” said Nithin Jose (name changed on request), a third semester degree student at a prominent college in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala who took up the challenge out of curiosity, reports Firstpost.
This challenge is structured to mentally manipulate you, even the supposedly strongest of us are at a risk of succumbing to the game. DO NOT take this lightly. Do caution everyone you know about the game and monitor the activities of your friends and family. The main targets of the game are the children, even ones that are as young as four are somehow gaining access to the game and it is about time we take action. Many schools have issued warnings to parents to keep a check on the activity of their children’s social media activities and to sit them down and talk to them.
Many young teenagers have lost their lives to this sickening, psychological menace and so many more are at a high risk of caving in to the same fate. It is your utmost duty to spread awareness about this and caution your friends and family members not to indulge in the challenge, even if it tempts them to. Do know that the game is also being spread through other names such as A Silent House, A Sea Of Whales and Wake Me Up.
Please be on alert for any odd behaviour of anyone you know and if they do show signs of being manipulated by this game, sit them down and talk to them. We are stronger than some moronic game and more importantly, we are stronger Together. No one is alone in the world, we are all here for everyone. Talk to people if you are feeling down and express your feelings, do not bottle them up. We all have to fight against this challenge and spread nothing but positivity and happiness. That is the ultimate goal.
“Oh my god, are you really crying over this? Don’t be such a girl! Come on, be a man!”
Since their childhood, men have been taught to hide their feelings, masking their sensitive side with a strong and impassive exterior.
To cry is termed as “girly” and emotions are usually dismissed, asking them to “man up” as opposed to seeking help.
These kinds of social norms around masculinity can be extremely detrimental, especially when it comes to your mental health. It can make it really hard for many of us to acknowledge when we’re not doing too well and even harder to reach out to potential sources of support that can help us during that time. The greatest evidence of male vulnerability is in suicide statistics. Among Canadians of all ages, four of every five suicides are male. It was also found that men are 50% less likely to seek help, even from close friends or family.
As of February 4th, 2016, according to the Office of National Statistics UK, there is a significant gender gap in British suicide, with men more than three times as likely to kill themselves as women. The same scenario is seen in the case of people undergoing treatment for alcohol and substance abuse.
This paints a very clear picture. Women are more likely to seek outside help, while men prefer to bottle up their feelings. They aren’t inclined to talk about issues they might be facing, and as a result turn to alcohol or drugs for solace. With time, this leads to their abuse and manifests as a violent social behaviour. This is why men’s mental health is often termed as a “silent crisis”.
The first step towards helping yourself is to identify some telltale symptoms of depression and anxiety. These can include:
Increased anger or irritability
Feeling tired all the time
Loss of interest in activities you usually enjoy
Constant anxiety and fear.
Increased need for alcohol or drugs
Suicidal thoughts or inflicting self-harm
Frequent violent outbursts
Obsessive thinking or compulsive behaviour
A feeling of hopelessness
These symptoms if gone unnoticed or not acknowledged on time can extend for months or even years. It can adversely affect your work life as well as your private life. If you feel like you might be facing the beginning of any mental illness, do not consider it as a sign of weakness or failure. Instead, seek help from someone you are comfortable with and trust me, they will be only too happy to help. It is perfectly okay to confront your inner demons by seeking outside help, and in no way does it make you any less of a man.
So to all men out there, remember, it does not always have to be a “one-man battle”.
I woke up today,
with an heart almost broken,
Bleeding tears through every crack left open,
My soul feels ice cold, and there’s voices in my head,
Silently screaming all at once,I don’t know if I’m alive or if I’m dead,
Everyday feels worse, I can’t keep my eyes open,
Everytime I shut them down, nightmares awaken,
I feel pain and I feel numb, paralyzed but shaken,
Hateful eyes spitting venom, my safe places all forsaken,
Will anybody miss me? Will anybody care?
Will they even notice when I’m no longer there?
I feel invisible, I’m choking on myself,
My mind feels claustrophobic like it’s crushing on itself,
It’s hard to go to bed, and It’s hard to wake up,
Like a dog without his bone, I feel lost and all alone,
I want somebody to know, I want somebody to care,
But I’m too afraid being judged, when I leave my feelings bare,
All my tears feel like acid, My voice is always broken,
I just want to see, a Human Being being human.
Just another cut, Just another scratch,
“What’s that little mark?” “No, that was just my cat”
Just another excuse, Just another lie,
“You wear bracelets now?” “Just fashion, why?”
Just another tear, Just another scream,
“Vishal, were you crying?” “No, Just had a bad dream”
It’s not just a cut, or a tear or a lie,
It’s always just one more, till the day that I die.
There has come a time in most of our lives when we have looked back and wondered “Did I really say those words?” or “Did I really behave in that manner?” Filled with remorse and regret of our actions, we vow never to repeat it again.
We follow this consciously for a few days but end up inadvertently reverting back to the usual by doing the said unusual things again. This results in a rinse-repeat cycle that has only become all too familiar to me.
Over the years, as I began to search for an end to this, it has become obvious to me that this is a rather widely suffered problem. People who you seem to ‘know’ are not really who you thought they were as they were probably in a phase where they acted and behaved different from their normal selves. And so, it leads to the question, how can this rather vague thing be defined first and then how can this be overcome? I was fortunate enough to stumble across the following sloka in Bhagavad Gita, which went “Chanchalam hi manah krishna pramathi balavad dradham I Tasyaham nigraham manye vayor iva suduskaram II “. This may be translated as “The restless nature of the mind means that it being collected in equanimity is not possible. The wavy ocean of the mind cannot be made free of waves”. In this sloka, Arjun concisely defines the problem that we have all faced – the restless, wavy and fickle nature of the human mind which refuses to stop alternating all the time between the good, the bad and the ugly.
So now that we have defined the problem itself – the unpredictability of our actions and reactions to events, if we could exhibit some sort of control over this state of mind, we could truly better our lives. The world’s second best tennis player Andy Murray is often considered slightly more naturally talented than the world’s best – Novak Djokovic. It is however, the mental strength of the Serb to execute his plans and react well when his mood sours, that sets him apart. Murray often goes into fits of rage where he ‘loses it’ and does basic things, like missing an open court winner, wrong. Remember that this is one of the greatest champions of our times and it takes immense talent and dedication to get to where he is in life. Even he is not immune to his mind wavering around. The problem may seem simple initially but even the world’s top sports psychologists offer contrasting views with respect to the solution. One school of thought is that Murray should freeze the big moments. Play with precision and calmness and take a deep breath and give it 110% in those moments. The other school of thought varies highly and state that he should treat the big moments just like any other moment. Trying to freeze it will only increase anxiety and his immensely well-tuned muscle memory of hitting the tennis ball would be disrupted. Thus, there is no one fixed way to control the wavering mind. It is a highly personal choice. It happens to every one of us be it Andy Murray or the addict down the street trying not to kill himself from regret.
From a personal stand point, while I have figured out no fixed method to end the madness, I have figured out one thing – identifying when I’m not ‘normal’. Just how does one do this? For starters, think of some of the things that you love doing most of the time – playing your guitar, talking to a particular person, watching your favourite TV series – could be anything really. If, even that thing, feels rather tedious to think about, there is one of your indicators that you aren’t in a right state of mind. Another indicator is, as cited in the Murray example, when your body can’t do things which have been trained by years and years of muscle memory, properly. That is, when your fingers don’t flow particularly well on the fret board, when you are awkwardly silent when talking o that person or when the series feels a bit too long. The first step in settling an unrest is, as obvious as it may seem, identifying that the unrest exists.
The biggest action you need to take, is ironically, inaction.
One of the most important things to do when you are not in a good state of mind is to never take definitive and drastic actions. Don’t break up a relationship, don’t sell your guitar, don’t delete the TV Series. To quote the popular band The Fray –
Having a good support system may help as well. Don’t be too bothered about letting all the steam out. If you don’t feel like talking about it to anyone, just drift away, ‘zone out’ and wait for it to pass. This not about optimism or pessimism. This is almost a fight for (mental) survival of your persona. So, naturally just endure it and wait for it to pass.
Unrest can be settled in two ways – the easy way is to lash out .but the tougher and in my opinion, the correct way, is to not react and accept whatever comes and endure it.
Normal order of things is never too far no matter how bleak things may seem.