from another opening of a windowless room

From Another Opening Of A Windowless Room

Depression seems like an obvious flaw in the human condition. The symptoms of depression (everything from apathy, social isolation, and anhedonia to emptiness, sleeplessness, and ruminations) can make engaging in daily life absolutely impossible. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote: “Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not.” Despite what seems like an obvious evolutionary handicap, research has shown depression has a variety of hidden benefits, such as encouraging attention to detail, creativity, empathy, and resiliency. By acknowledging depression’s hidden benefits, we can alter the way it impacts us individually and societally.

“Why try when it is just another day?” One carries on his weary business; while, the stomach is growling for an answer from the depth of its volcanic pit. A strange feeling sweeps over One’s body, so wicked, so powerful it takes the mind out of the body. And yet, One stands there motionless, still working on the same dull job. The strange feeling sweeps again; this time more complete. One’s spirit rises and watches from the ceiling and from the same insecure corner. From above, One observes a brainless and repetitive robot working away. Even better for One, now is the time to ponder about that romantic trip to Europe, the budget, and how to obtain such a budget. The only problem is that One has pondered every day for years. 

Here in the world’s capital resides a smoldering ember of fading desire: a desire to be unique. In a place like this, folks are all about pursuing individualism, oftentimes too much and too persistently that they forget all else. At any given time, people are walking right and left with fluctuating tempo and rhythm. Sometimes, they march one by one; other times, they flood the precious space with suffocating waves. Each of them fills their lives with personal interest, which usually kills the soul. One watches from the opening of a windowless room and feels the joys within, a joy constructed from the quick and disconnected glance with the individual passerby. A faint chuckle can be heard from two blocks away, even the other side of Earth. In truth, no one listens with their ears. One feels accomplished after a familiar ritual of telling oneself that he or she is better than those passersby and that they are the Ones who did it wrong. 

The time comes again, all the necessities must be packed for another day on the journey of expressing oneself. One walks the street in the morning and walks the same street at night. The difference is that during the day, one builds a unique person. One uses the information provider effectively to look up all the fancy restaurants that One could or could not afford, all the upcoming movies that One may or may not have to watch alone, and all the novel gadgets in which One should or should not invest. In a place like this, One is free to express the parentally suppressed characteristics, the starved personality, and the individual uniqueness. All the experiences, all the relationships, and all the gadgets surely would make One stand out. But there is a catch One couldn’t see: One is also a passerby. Who could blame him for making such a mistake when they don’t even see it themselves? All this time, One and Others seek ways to fulfill the artificial individuality and are blind to notice that the rest are doing the same. All of them consume information from the same place, looking up the same stuff, go to the same restaurant, watch the same movies, buy the same gadgets regardless of money or relationship. One forgets that the waves of people with undecipherable tempo and rhythm, who occupy the street, are other Ones; between the morning and night walk, One contributes to the waves. And of course, One would never know that Others judge him from another opening of a windowless room. 

However, One could hear the faint chuckle emitting from somewhere else, inside. The truth is that everyone listens to their heart. If the heart says that financial stability is more important than family, then One would choose gold. If the heart says that career is more important than love, then One would choose the rigid. If One hesitates between two drastically different things, that is because they wanted both. This is how the heart influences all choices; this way no one is wrong, no one is right, and everyONE’s the same. 


Bach Tran is a Vietnamese American immigrant and a graduating valedictorian. He currently lives with his mother, sister, and a nephew in a small home in Orlando, FL. He wants to build his career in mental health, after experiencing a period of major depressive disorder. Since then, Bach has devoted his life to human behavior subjects like psychology and sociology to help people like him. You can follow his journey on Twitter at @Bach Tran15.

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