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     Volume 4 Issue 20 | November 5, 2004 |

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Paralysis of the Mind

Hana Shams Ahmed

Christopher Reeve spoke about his paralysis in an interview with the BBC just before he died recently. He said that paralysis was a conscious choice and that it was more tragic to have a paralysed mind than a paralysed body. "My body might be paralysed but my mind is always working, thinking and doing. I have seen people walking around with their mind paralysed by lack of self-esteem, depression from feelings of inferiority and unable to go after their dreams."

How true does that ring when you read the Mita column every Friday in the SWM? There are hundreds of thousands of people all over the country who want to be able to reach their goals without complication or adversity.

Someone person wants to get into a good university, but because his parents are unable to afford a good coaching centre for him, he loses interest in studying. If only he had realised that not only would it boost his self-confidence but his peers would also respect him more if he studied by himself and thereby succeeded in getting into a good university.

Another has lost all interest in life because her boyfriend of two years has left her for someone else. She should realise that no person is important enough to make her life worthless. If her boyfriend didn't care about her feelings then surely she must be better off without him.

It's true that adolescence does bring an onslaught of all kinds of negative and over-active emotions concerning image and self-confidence. Although parents are now more aware about this phase of life, there is very little anyone can do to it any easier.

Sometimes we get depressed simply because there is nothing to do. If you have seen the film 'Bihongo' (the true story of physically challenged individuals at CRP) you should see that there is something very important to learn from the paralysed girl who paints with her mouth. Shouldn't we feel ashamed of ourselves in front of her? That we, with our perfectly workable hands and feet should say such a thing as 'nothing to do'!

Clinical depression is indeed a very real problem but there are many people who get depressed all too easily. I know a girl who took rat poison just because she did not get a star mark in her SSCs, although she did very well in all the subjects, she fell short of a star by 5 points. Was that enough to mark the end of the world for her? How far can a person go to wallow in self-pity?

Parents sometimes stand directly in the way of an individual's success when they put too much pressure on their child to become what they expect him/her to be. It begins very early in life. The child is always expected to excel at school. This can affect a person throughout his/her life. As on adult a person would feel inadequate at whatever he or she does. Sometimes this can compel the person to feel so negatively that he/she decides to forfeit his/her dream altogether. Even in many educated families these days, girls are brought up to think that the sole purpose of getting a good education is to marry into a good family. This can immensely hamper a girl's future. Her career thoughts and thoughts of marrying 'well' interferes with her ability to achieve her best.

Even when parents are completely supportive of their daughter's career choice, sometimes it becomes apparent that once the girl gets married, the in-laws stand in the way of her success. The in-laws directly or indirectly convey to her the message that they want their daughter-in-law to take care of the house and be a good mother. Although most people now understand that a woman is completely capable of looking after her house and have a fulfilling career, there are still many who remain obstinate with their dogmas. This is also a very real problem, but if one can be inspired by what Christopher Reeve said about the 'paralysed mind', isn't it much more rewarding to achieve something when there are hurdles to overcome? It's much easier to succeed if you're from a family who completely supports your liberty and to be yourself, in fact a supportive family sometimes puts more pressure on the individual to achieve higher. On the other hand in hostile situations it is ones' strength of mind and unwavering grit that makes ones' success even more rewarding



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