I visited my oldest aunt 2 days ago with family because apparently in the last 2 weeks, she’d become depressed.
We aren’t very close. But to be fair, she doesn’t seem close to anyone. she’d always been somewhat detached, unaffectionate. She’s had several long-standing medical ailments such as diabetes, rheumatoid athritis, etc. I’m not sure whether to attribute this to her illnesses or her natural self but she has this self-depracating aura that just makes everyone around her feel..uncomfortable.
uncomfortable because. we’re supposed to feel pity. or empathy, whatever. but we don’t. instead we’re thinking: oh c’mon. you’re barely 70. stop acting like an old pathetic useless baby. muster up some strength and click the remote by yourself. you don’t need the maid for everything.
and then we gasp. what did we just say to ourselves? oh god what a heartless bitch i am. i’ve no idea what its like. to be old, riddled with illnesses and discontentment. to feel like your body is failing you. you’re so weak and helpless you just want to leave this world so you won’t be such a burden to your family.
and just before that rush of sympathy pours in and we step up to sayang her with care and concern, we realise: she has 5 successful, filial children that all care about her and take care of her (despite her failings as a mother). she has an ex-husband who still loves her deeply. she has siblings that have at several points in time, offered their time and financial help. (despite her failings as an oldest sibling)
she’s had all this family around her yet all she’s done is take take take.
but then, that old argument of her being old and ill comes back, and it goes back and forth, and it leaves us feeling.. uncomfortable. cos we’re trying to draw from these resovoirs of empathy and what not, but they’re just not there. so we just walk away feeling like assholes that rather keep to themselves and not let people know they’re assholes.
that’s why i think there’s merit in not letting the whole world know when you’re upset, angry or ill. when you’re such an open complainer, ppl begin to undermine when you actually need help. for people that often don’t let their emotions or pain show, others become more finetuned to looking out for those slight moments of weakness where they’d know something bad has happened when their tough exterior’s showing some cracks.
isn’t it funny? sometimes when you show less, people understand you better.
instead, when you’re spilling your guts all over other people all the time, you just make people..