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Friday, April 21, 2006

Mental Depression

A friend of mine has been involved in PRANIC healing for some years.
If you want to know what PRANIC healing is all about, you can visit the following website.

At first, she joined one workshop held by it for her own medication coz she has been suffering from poor eyesight since she was in elementary school (she is in her mid thirties now). Wearing glasses only is not enough for her. And she has tried some other alternative medication (e.g. drinking herbs, consuming lots of carrots, nerve massages around her eyes, acupuncture, etc), but they didn’t work on her.

In fact, after joining the workshop, and sometimes attending the clinic for medication and practicing, she involved herself to that clinic, not for her own medication though. She became one volunteer to try healing patients suffering from any kind of illness. One interesting thing she told me is that many women coming to that clinic told her that they were suffering from splitting headache. Those women have consulted their doctors but they couldn’t find out the causes of the headache. The medicine given to them didn’t work well. They also have consulted a sinshe (a sort of traditional physician popularly known in China) and consumed traditional medicine given by the sinshe, and still it didn’t work either.

My friend, trying to find out what caused the headache, asked those women about their daily life. Her suspicion was that they were suffering from mental depression, therefore a general practitioner couldn’t find anything wrong with their body coz they needed to consult a psychiatrist. However, they didn’t want to admit that in fact they were depressed coz in Indonesia when someone consults a psychiatrist, people will easily judge him or her as insane or lunatic. Insanity is believed as a curse illness and someone cannot be healed back like before. Well, this is in Indonesia.

Why women?

I relate it to this male-dominated world with its patriarchal culture. The belief that women are only the Second Sex as Beauvoir stated is still strong so that men feel deserved to oppress women, by saying e.g. “I know this case better than you do. Leave it up to me. You don’t need to do anything in it.” or, “This is man’s stuff. You don’t need to involve yourself in this case.” “I do this because I love you, so you’ve got to understand me. This is for your own sake.”

People are different from one another. Some women perhaps will agree that their husbands love them very dearly when those men say so to them. However, it is also possible that many other women feel forced to understand it. Nevertheless, they cannot do anything because patriarchal culture, and oftentimes legitimated by religion’s teaching, says that women must obey their husbands, must submit themselves to their husbands, must agree when their husbands opine something.

One example happened to my old friend. Some years ago, she visited me and told me about one case that happened between her husband and her, relating to where (in what school) their first child would continue the study. My friend had different idea from her husband. She kept trying to convince him that her choice was better for their son’s future while her husband didn’t agree with her. After some days arguing, my friend at last gave in, when her husband said to her, “You don’t consider me as a man? Why don’t you listen to me?”

What a foolish statement it was. To me it was. YOU ARE A MAN ONLY IF YOUR WIFE LISTENS TO YOU, OBEYS YOU, SUBMIT TO YOU. But, abracadabra … it worked well to silence this old friend of mine!!! “I cannot argue anymore after he said such a thing to me.” she went on telling me.

If this phenomenon happens now and again, it is not impossible if then it will engender the feeling of being oppressed to women. For some women who think that they are indeed the second sex, must give priority to their husband, it will be just okay. For some other women, they will feel differently. However, coz they think that MEN ARE CREATED TO BE SUPERIOR, they cannot do much. They just keep what they think inside their heart/mind and think, “My happiness is not important. What I think is not important.” But in fact, without their awareness it bothers their mind, this case can trigger mental depression, although they don’t want to admit it.

The education given by their parents that the happiness of their husband and children is more important than their own also takes part in increasing the tendency of women to suffer from mental depression. Feeling that they are not important before their husbands and children will make many women underestimate themselves. The feeling being underestimated is similar to the feeling not important. When doing anything for the family, they must put the husband in the first priority, then the children. They are the last. Sometimes those women even don’t have time to comfort or satisfy themselves coz they have to take care of their husband and children. And this is taken for granted.

I want to refer to what Virginia Woolf said in her book A Room of One’s Own that everybody needs some time and some place to be alone, to be themselves, apart from their role as a mother and wife and do anything they want. People indeed need it.
Going back to my friend’s experience in the PRANIC clinic, she told me that she couldn’t convince those female patients that they probably suffered from mental depression. In Indonesia with still very strong gender-biased culture, it is still difficult to tell those (I call it conventional) women that it is okay for them to do anything to comfort themselves, that they need some time to be apart from their daily responsibilities. They also deserve to take some days off to be homemakers.

21.26 13042006


Anonymous said...

nice posting Na! women do have their own expectations but sometimes society norms, cultures etc ( you name it) make them impossible to reach them.When something goes wrong in the society's system, people tend to blame the women without any intention to know WHY the women do so. There must be a reason, rite?

thanks for reading my book. nice to knw you.


A Feminist Blog said...

You are very right, Labibah. Society cruelly never wanna know why people, generally, and women, especially do something, so that society easily blame women for something. and this society is male-dominant. :(
One example is the last short story in your KUMCER, when an Arabian girl doesnt have any right to choose their husband-to-be from other ethnic group, without any clear reason, while for boys, they can marry anybody they want. Why must be discriminative like that?
Btw, that's my favorite story in that book. :)