The sound of silence

August 16, 2020 § Leave a comment

I learnt this new word today — anomie. The Merriam Webster dictionary says one definition of this word is ‘social instability resulting from a breakdown of standards and values.’ Another, is also, ‘personal unrest, alienation, and uncertainty that comes from a lack of purpose or ideals.’

How did I come across this word? I was looking for the meaning behind the famous Simon and Garfunkel song, ‘The Sound of Silence,’ with the opening words ‘Hello darkness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again.’ And I came across this opinion piece written by a senior psychiatrist:

Paul Simon wrote the song in 1963 and 1964, when he was 21. The opinion piece I linked to above is from 2017, so well before Covid19. But if you listen to the song and read the psychiatrist’s piece, in which the doctor uses Simon’s song to argue for listening in silence and listening with empathy, they both feel so relevant today to someone like me, who is battling depression.

And the forced incarceration in our own homes and, partly as a result of that, in our own minds that has come about due to the pandemic is an added dimension.

I’m not without purpose or ideals, so I feel no anomie, but I’m battling an inexplicable fear of everything, because of my anxiety and depression. This was today one of my questions to my therapist during my weekly Sunday session with her. Why have I become so afraid of something as mundane as taking a walk down the road, for example? Why have I become so desperately afraid of getting up in the morning and getting to work?

The answers lie deep in my mind and in the mean time, I’ve to often push through that fear and take the help of medication to get things done. Sometimes I’m so afraid that I can’t work, so I’ve to do other things like folding the washed and dried clothes, or washing up at the kitchen sink or cutting vegetables — these three are my staple activities when I’m too anxious to work.

Through all this, I hear a great, oppressive silence that loud music with earphones plugged in can’t cure.  I can’t articulate any of this to my wife because when she looks at me, she feels the same oppressive silence. And she’s been looking at me stuck in my rut for some two years and eight months now. So some times she rages at me. To change. To see what my condition is doing to her and our son — my family.

#anxiety #depression #anxietyanddepression #thesoundofsilence #simonandgarfunkel

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