I’m gazing out over the square, where people from all around the world hurry past. Actually, not all of them are in a hurry. One young man just limped by on bent legs that were perhaps demolished in a war somewhere. Another young man is sitting on the sidewalk listlessly holding out a paper cup. I imagine that he is silent, that his cry for help was silenced long ago.
My mother sometimes says I shouldn’t think so much, but how do you stop? And is it really preferable to turn your thoughts off? To not allow yourself to feel or be touched? There are moments when I’m going by tram and I want to get up and preach about everybody’s responsibility to intervene, to act and to thwart. But I don’t — at least I haven’t, yet. Maybe someday I will be big enough to stand up. Maybe someday I will be brave enough to do my part and do what I should have done a long time ago.
Amidst all the lights and tinsel, the presents and the aromas from bubbling pots my mind is needled by the unrelenting thought — does it really have to be like this?
In a world where we all should be able to help each other and join together, loneliness is mushrooming accompanied by cynicism. On Swedish television, professional media pundits talk about goodness as if it were ballast, as if there were an excess of it. At the same time these same pundits talk about drug addiction as if it was a sickness without taking into consideration any kind of relationship or context. So random, so reckless, so dispiriting.
Theatre Director Suzanne Osten used to say we can tell the darkest stories imaginable, to children and adults alike, as long as we always ensure there is a ray of hope at the end. A glimmer of light that makes it possible for us to go on, that helps us have the courage, the ability and the will to care about the essence of human beings and their conditions in the world.
From my window I can see people coming and going holding hands. There is a son full of trust with his hand in his father’s and three smiling young women meeting the day arm-in-arm. I also see all the people who bend down and drop a coin into the worn paper cup. All the people who haven’t given up on the idea that it’s better to give than not to. All those who know it could have been them instead.
In a little while, one of the many people I’ve had the joy of meeting in my work will arrive. Soon I’ll open my door to him.
On behalf of The Extended Therapy Room I wish you all MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.