Anaika was married to the man of her dreams, the man, she truly loved. They had a beautiful little boy and lived comfortably in a big house. Money was never a problem. Her husband, Jaden was a Vice prescient of a successful software company. Anaika voluntarily chose to leave her job as a banker to look after little Caleb. She was living the dream life. Everything was just perfect.
But Anaika was very unhappy. She felt so lonely, so empty. She knew Jaden loved her, he cared for her deeply and fulfilled her every wish. So what was the problem? Why couldn’t she just be happy?
It had been over two years since Caleb’s birth that this feeling of doom engulfed her life. She hadn’t discussed these feelings with Jaden. She didn’t want to let him down. He already had too much on his plate and worked very hard to be the perfect man, a loving husband and an amazing dad. He very well balanced his professional and personal life. How could she tell him that she was unhappy? Wouldn’t that disappoint him and make him feel like he failed her? Anaika fought with her mind and heart every single day. Maybe it was motherhood that was overwhelming, or maybe she missed her job or perhaps she was just bored with the routine life. At times, she felt that she was happy and sad at the same time. She hated not knowing what was taking her down. But something definitely was. She felt trapped in a perfect life.
She tried to talking to her best friend, Tania several times about her unknown anguish, but was only met with Tania’s instant dismissal or blatant conclusions that she may be suffering from postpartum depression, anxiety, mental disorder and so on. Sometimes, Tania thought Anaika was being simply ungrateful for her wonderful life. She constantly reminded Anaika of her blessings and asked her not to take them for granted. But Anaika knew better than that. She never took her blessings for granted! ‘Then why why…. Oh dear God why do I feel sad all the time?’, she kept thinking to herself.
Finally, on a sunny morning, while sitting across Tania for coffee in her backyard, she found the answer.
Tania was sharing the details of their schoolmate, Helen’s recent tragic death. Helen lived in solitary. She had no family, no husband, no boyfriend, not even real close friends. Her body was found two days later in her bedroom where she lay asleep peacefully. The police were called in by the neighbors who were alerted by the foul smell emerging from her apartment. She was cremated by her 70-year-old landlord, the only one at her funeral.
Tania then, told her the story of another of their school mate, Leila, who had become mentally deranged and burnt down her own house. As the conversation progressed, she gave her another disturbing news of their friend Brendan, who lost his only child in a car accident.
That’s when Anaika began to get answers for her constant distress. She suddenly realized that all this time, she suffered from Empathy towards others! In her subconscious mind, she always felt guilty of being blessed with a perfect life when there was so much sadness, loneliness, suffering and pain around her, how could she possibly be happy!
It struck her like lightning, that when Caleb was born, she knew she had it all. Love, motherhood, friendship, comfort…. everything! It was all perfect! But the world around her wasn’t.
She cried a lot that day. Her heart was in pain…for others. She desperately wanted to share her blessings with those in need and she finally knew her path to happiness.
She started helping those in need of jobs, money and moral support. She worked with organizations providing counselling, guidance and rehabilitation. She began working closely with children, especially those with special needs.
Her life had changed. She felt emancipated. She was now happy. Every smile that she brought on the face of others, filled her heart with a sense of fulfillment and true peace.
Through Anaika’s story, we can learn a lot about our own hearts and minds. Many a times, we unnecessarily attach complicated medical terminologies to our mental sufferings. I am not saying they are not real. They definitely are real…. but sometimes they may not be. Sometimes we just suffer from having a good heart. We feel so strongly about other people’s sufferings, that we conclude they are our own. Just like Anaika, we may not realize what’s hurting us and ignore our thoughts or just sweep it under the carpet. But we shouldn’t. Very few people suffer from a good heart’s misery which can only be cured by helping others.
Most people turn towards charity because of their own painful past or experience, but sometimes people like Anaika turn towards charity simply because they feel too blessed.
Either way, it is the most enriching experience, for our mind, heart and soul. Always listen to the voice from within. If you feel the pain, it may not necessarily be yours…so do whatever it takes to ease it.... for a friend in need and free your good heart from its misery!