Recently I learnt that a middle-aged man and a young 18-year-old chose to end their lives.

This is an utterly disturbing reality of our times. 

I don’t know them from anywhere but I know that they were the love of some people I know. They came from families like yours and mine. 

We all love our people don’t we, across different age groups, across all boundaries. 

I cannot imagine the plight of the one who chose to walk this path and of his loved ones who must have believed they are all doing well together. 

I pray that the departed soul finds its peace on the path they chose and I pray for their families…

I hope and pray with all my heart that the affected loved ones who watch this permanent silence of their family member or friend know and are able to remember that it’s not a failure not of the one who chose to go and not of the ones who are left behind  

Every time something like this happens, we start talking of what we need to do for mental health. We talk about the need to talk and listen and understand.

My hunch is that we all do our best to talk and convey and listen and understand. Don’t we. We are doing it all the time through actions and sometimes words. 

Like many who choose the road to the end life appeared to be smooth and flowing normally. But isn’t this the most disturbing part. It has me worried sick

This path is no bed of roses so to opt for it over walking with the crowd there is something wrong that we as a society are portraying to each other and that’s not helping anyone.

Not helping the ones who go and not helping those left behind…

We need to start over emphasizing the normalcy of human vulnerability. The delicate balance that all emotions within us maintain and its volatility.

We keep telling each other that we need to be strong. No matter what you feel you have to do the next best thing and move on. 

We are not saying anything wrong but we are saying what is absolutely inevitable.  When a crisis hits, we have to go through it, we don’t have a choice, we can’t wish it away. So being strong and moving is something no one has a choice with. 

After we endure our pain every day and we reach some distance from the point where we began and, in that journey, we accomplish some other goals in life it gets termed as “strong”. 

So why do we harp on trying to be strong.  Being strong is an everyday ongoing process and the stark reality is that people offer different milage on this parameter. 

What we need to tell ourselves and each other is that we are all soft. We are the same in our emotional needs and expressions as we were as an infant. We can feel very upset over and laugh over the smallest things. 

Sometimes the biggest change in our life may not affect us sometimes we are just cranky. 

We are all soft or softies as it is very often said in a demeaning way. 

But all we emphasize and glorify is being strong. Even when you lose a loved one the family member who didn’t cry was “very strong ” and the one who cried a lot and couldn’t stop is “all over the place “. 

Sometimes I hate the words “be strong “.

With this narrative do we think people will come and cry with us when they want to. Will we have the confidence of sharing that something is bothering us but it’s so common a thing that if I say I’m unable to sleep that would even be taken seriously. 

I hope we open our eyes to the fact that humans are vulnerable. But all the talk we do is of being strong. I think that puts a lot of pressure.   

 Strong is an everyday journey not a trait we often sell. You go through the motions and try to achieve your goals within that chaos. Everyone feels softly vulnerable as they go through things and being strong is about a vantage point. What yo arrive at through all your soft moments.

Why can’t we normalize being vulnerable and being soft? I am sure more people will come up and share.

We are all so soft. You see a baby who has needs for love, care and attention who can be himself minus the conditioning of what is the correct way to be. The baby grows up with the same needs but is taught to camouflage it, redirect it, work on it.

A softy, clingy, too emotional, too nice, rude, anti-social so many tags that have their own market value.

Yes, market value is what we attach to human emotions…this is good this is now. Strong is good soft is not, emotions must be measured and directed in the “right “direction.

This is the world narrative and also the self-talk we engage in and then we wonder why was there pressure 

This narrative is the barrier that stops people from talking. The narrative of “be strong” is heavy. 

We harp on the fact that people should talk. Seriously, you think people who are confused with some sad intense emotion tearing them apart don’t want it sorted?

The thought that troubles them is not that they have chronically sad thoughts or mood swings, or that they feel like crying. The thought that drives them to write them self-off is that all of this is a sign of weakness.

Depression for example seems to be the common cold of mental health but the shock we all express at it is amusing

We need to change the narrative to we are all soft and there is no rationed extent to which we should be affected by things around us. 

If not then no matter how hard we try to manage the emotions of our precious ones these man-made constructs on emotions that run deep in our society get the better off us

Talk or no talk …


  • Priyanka Jaitly Judge

    Writer and Organization Psychologist

    I am a mother of two, a writer and a consultant in Human Resources. As a Master’s in Psychology, I love engaging with people and facilitating individuals and groups at various levels. I have used Psychometric Tools for organisational requirements and engaged in one to one counselling in order to support individuals with various challenges they face in an organisation. I am passionate about reflecting upon and writing about contemporary matters that impact our living, holistic health (with a high focus on mental health & healing), women and children. Being from a Qualitative Research and HR background, I have had the opportunity to interact with people in direct interviews as well as in groups. this close interaction has only made my love for delving & understanding the human psyche stronger.