Regaining The Lost Sensitivity

In the midst of dealing with a global pandemic, there is an urgent call for mental health rising across social media. The demise of Sushant Singh Rajput – an actor in the prime of his career – sent shock waves across the nation. Here’s a man living with every form of conceived happiness – success, fame, respect, money and love. All that is earned through an illustrious career that inspires every actor struggling to make it big. And yet, he had to give in to his mental illness.

This started the right conversations on depression, mental health and the importance to reach out. Which is great, as topics like these have for very long stayed away from the limelight. But will these topics stay long after it drops from the trending charts? We both know the answer to that.

Because the main concern here is not the lack of awareness on mental health, or the importance to reach out. It is the main cause of what is enabling it – our declining sensitivity towards everything surrounding us.

It is difficult to point out one reason for this, although the internet is easy blame. With platforms giving constant validation, hours spent in trolling and indulging in the race to catch up on the trends- internet has seldom given us the opportunity to pause and reflect on the effects our actions might have on someone. But the internet is more of a reflection on things we want to do, rather than being the cause of it. If you step outside the virtual world, things aren’t different. Our long-standing prejudice has for years taught us to be dismissive about people from certain community, caste, race and gender. At this very moment, we have a rage boiling in some part of the world over the forced death of a Black Man by a white police officer.

The day we realize our insensitivity is when there is a major tragedy that’s struck as a result of it. The dialogues remain broad, we settle with generic solutions and move on in life. There are very few who care to introspect within themselves, and vow to deal with it at a micro level. Because we are sensitive enough to empathize with the tragedy, but not so much as to realize our own personal contribution that has made the society such.

While we talk about mental health and assure full support to anyone who is dealing with it, it is also important to contemplate the way you interact with any person – virtually or otherwise. It is with this intent that I had started with my series of “Being Human on Social Media” – to call out every insensitive content lapped up online which might be affecting someone out there.

It is not a tough job to be sensitive to others. You need to show basic care, respect and sympathy that every human deserves. When you are speaking to someone virtually, always remember that the person at the other end has the same emotional capabilities that you do. Always remember – it is not a crime for the other person to have a different ideology than you. Arguments featuring them neither have to be personal, nor does it have to turn sour.

There is always a fine line between humor and mockery. You don’t have to step into the latter to sound funnier.

Sensationalism has engulfed our lives and how – we find it perfectly okay to share pictures of a dead body whose death is being mourned by all. We are also feeding on news reporters shoving their mics on his aggrieved parents – and find no issues in it. News channels make the stuff because we are consuming it.

And finally, reserve your utmost empathy for the most marginalized sections of the society. Look at the world we’ve created through their gaze, and be mindful of the privileges you have.

If the world keeps degrading in its conduct towards each other, we might not survive this battle, even if we win against this ongoing pandemic.

We continue losing these bright, young individuals, succumbing to the most invisible illness one can have. One that cannot show up on a test report. One that does not have visible symptoms. And one that cannot be treated without external help.

Keep the conversations going, and let’s, for once, try making this world a better, more sensitive place.