It was in the news that Robin Williams, one of the finest actors and comedians (and someone whom I deeply admired), passed away. He had committed suicide. They say that he had been battling depression for a long time. May his soul rest in peace!
The next article was about depression and how to identify it. The common symptoms that they had listed were loss of interest and pleasure in normal activities, irritability, agitation or restlessness, lower sex drive, decreased concentration, insomnia or excessive sleeping and fatigue and lethargy. As soon as I read these, I laughed as I could almost identify with most of the ‘symptoms’ listed. Although I was not feeling sad or depressed, the information about what these symptoms meant, concerned me. For a layman who has access to excessive information but limited knowledge about how to diagnose a disease, these symptoms are pretty plain and easy for him to imagine that he has a particular disease. The imagination then manifests into reality (as the mind does not know the difference between what is imagined and what is real).
This led me to wonder if we actually suffer from diseases more because we know that such a disease exists…or because we truly have them. Contracting a disease could be more psychosomatic these days than ever – all thanks to me psyching myself out based on random information that is available on internet. On one hand we have great books like “Secret” and “Power of your subconscious mind” which talk about all the wonderful things we can get for ourselves by thinking and imagining in our favour. On the other hand, the flipside of it could be just as true. If I am filling my head with fancy information of all possible illnesses or irrelevant information in the world, I am more likely to be bothered by those. For example, doctor had prescribed a medication for viral infection. I went and read about the side effects of the drug. It listed dizziness and palpitations. Soon enough, I was en-route to my imagination.
Internet is a great source of information. However, we may not need all of it. Is the information that I browse for enabling me or disabling me? Doctors are struggling to maintain the sanity of their patients. Recently a friend was talking about how he and his pregnant wife were paranoid that their baby was not kicking in the 7th month – as mentioned in the internet. Worried, they went to their doctor and the doctor asked them to stop reading into all of these excessively. He told them that everything was normal and there was no cause to worry.
Research also says that social networking sites are causing more depression as people see photos of others better off than them in some way and start feeling inadequate by themselves.
The pleasure of being in the “not-knowing states” and exploring life as it comes is killed sometimes by opening the flood gates of information. That’s where some amount of ignorance is bliss because it leaves you with something to explore and experience. It’s like swimming in knowledge versus drowning in information. One may explore the internet. However, instead of getting tired with all of the information, if I am charged up and armed appropriately with what I need, that may help me experience life fully.