Monday, September 1, 2008

Sadness and the visible body****

There is something so very pervasive about sadness, the way it warps and distorts everything, each perception, each emotion, each action. With or without reason, when it strikes, depression is debilitating. Looking at it from the outside, you see gossamer soft web, and you think how silly of that person to not shake it off with a healthy shrug and straightening of the shoulders. Looking in through some dusty windows, you wonder how is it that this little thing can cause so much of paralysis - of thought, will, emotion, action. It is only when the weight of its steel claws falls on your shoulders do you realize that its very breath is poison, sapping your soul and eroding your reason. And even if and when you do know that you are unhappy, from whatever cause, would you admit to it? Would you? The thought of admitting to unhappiness, unfulfillment, failure or unbearable pain, brings with it such a shame that most people will go without human company rather than tell someone they are hurting. Even if they were not overtly 'depressed', a condition which gets its own retarding brakes on any appeals for help. You are supposed to be happy, more so in situations of your own making, like marriage, or a job. All the others you know appear to be either too perfect to confide into, or too 'unsuitable' to discuss things with; you want to avoid pity and the alms of sympathy that people may give, not understanding, not quite knowing how your words are just the surface of something so deep it can't be expressed in something less than a novel, judging from their own complete little worlds, discussing with their perfect spouses, family or team-mates.... You know, perhaps, the cause of your misery, and you know the way out is simply OUT, but cling on, unwilling to leave some little sanctuary of the known for the vastness of the rest of the world, hoping for some miracle or some healing, some hope or new feeling, and dread someone telling you, with shock and horror and righteousness in their voices, of how wrong you are. How would they know, what it is like to be you, what the other variables in your life are like?

Think about it. More later.

I had planned to go through the regulars in my bookmarks first, followed by the less frequently visited sites, and then go on to new finds, but I find myself making an exception so soon for the visible body. This is a free site with interactive 3 dimensional models of the entire body, run by Argosy publishing. This site is so amazing that even though my computer lacks the resources right now to install and run the full program - it runs on your Internet Explorer but you have to download the entire system set before to facilitate a smooth experience - I am going to rave and rant about it. I haven't seen anything close to it on the net, and not on that many medical textbooks either! Well, actually no textbook can allow you to click and drag images so you can look at the chosen system from all angles, to strip away or make transparent overlying tissue to peek inside at the deeper systems, or to zoom in and out. It is quite simply, fun, and astounding! Here are a couple of screenshots, but the link is to the parent site -

The minimum system requirements for running this well are - 1 gHz Pentium 3 processor, or equivalent, 512 MB RAM. Windows 2000/XP (32-bit), DirectX 7.0+, 3D-enabled video card, Internet Explorer 6+ (32-bit), Anark Client plug-in 4.0 and Adobe Flash Player plug-in 8.0+ At present it will only run on Internet Explorer on Windows, but they are going to make it compatible with Firefox and Mac soon. Also note that currently Anark is rather dicey on Vista - some bugs reported.

And oh, did I mention that they are already starting to offer some physiological information as well, about how things work? So all in all, its a great teaching tool with the feel of a game, especially if you introduce it right. Just let the tots get on to the site, move things around, discover and get familiar with the body, and wait for them to ask you questions. No, don't tell me that kids are not interested or able to comprehend such matters. At one year plus, mine was able to understand and point things on a map of the house, and at three, one diagrammatical representation of the digestive system as above made the journey of food pretty clear.

Oh, the url -

Time for P.S. -

This cartoon, part of the Between Friends daily strip done by Sandra Bell-Lundy of Canada, appears in your papers today. I have copied it from Seattle Times. If you are a regular follower of Between Friends, the story of four friends in forties, and the stories that touch their lives, sometimes with humour and sometimes not, then you would be familiar with the characters above. The black haired lady is Maeve, a succesful and smart executive, who is divorced, but accedes anytime to her ex-husband's demands to baby sit his daughter from another subsequent marriage, which has also ended in divorce. Her friend in this cartoon is someone from her high school who married a guy Maeve had apparently stolen from her, then dumped. And in the first meeting, she did break down, mostly with anger, but now, on their second meeting here, is denying that there was anything wrong at all. How difficult it is to trust! To believe that you are truly unhappy, that you need help! This was the reason I got to thinking about sadness and depression and marital discord in general today. Such a complex thread, so difficult to unravel.... I salute Sandra for taking on this subject! I am sure she will do a great job of it, because I have been reading her strip for the last four years at least, and her characters are warm, multi-dimensional, quirky, sweet, and really nice people. If you didn't know - as I didn't till a few months ago - that she has a blog as well, here it is -

P.P.S. And when you are out of that deadening depression, you yourself look back with wonder at the little things that paralyzed you, the tiniest of obstructions that held you back, and the ease of communication once you did manage to speak out. Here is wishing health and cheer to Tamara, and all those whom sadness has struck dumb.

No comments: