Where Words Fail

The pale-skinned, silent woman chose to double up and seat at the remotest corner from the physician. She had her parents with her. The father would cry his heart out during the meeting. As you can see, the mother was the only one to talk to. Therefore, most of the information would come from her.

The patient was 37 years old. She was married with one child. She was a worker in one of the textile shops. But she was unable to work for the past one month. The lines on her face deepened, she was frowning, the edges of her lips dropped. She had a typical depression face. The family could not understand what was happening. She lost her appetite, lost eight kilos in a month. She was unable to sleep for days. She was just sitting there like she was petrified. She was so reluctant that she even smoked hardly any cigarettes she was addicted to. Meanwhile, she cut ties with her friends, barely taking care of herself. In short, she had all attributes of major depression.

The physician took any chance to contact with the patient with quite kind but determined expressions. For example, when he learned that she had a child, he tried to approach the patient by asking questions like “It is a boy or a girl? How old is s/he? What his/her name?”.

Finally, it was the time for the most critical topic. Now, he directly asked the patient whether she had contemplated suicide. The patient suddenly raised her head. She turned her eyes, which she hid during the conversation, straight to the doctor, and said “I’m contemplating!” with a higher and determined tone. A short, bleak and deep silence filled the room. The physician tried to learn if she had previous attempts, or if someone in the family committed suicide before. Then he wondered why she didn’t do it. As he was looking for a deterrent factor, the patient, in one word, said “My daughter”.

The case was evident. It was required to immediately admit her and to start the electroconvulsive treatment (ECT). He confidently explained his decision. The patient was still in silence. She was somewhere between indifference and acceptance. In an imperceptible way, the father would say “What’s needed must be done.” The mother raised objection. “For how long will she be admitted?” she asked. “One month in average” answered the physician. The slightly bulky woman said “No way. You give the drug, I’ll take better care of my daughter at home!”

Long explanations, conversations would not yield any results. The physician could not know what to do. He was trying to understand, but also was angry. At last, he prescribed an antidepressant drug and gave it to the family. He saw them off, telling them to come to visit every day and that he would not charge anything for it. But he wasn’t at ease anyway.

A couple of days went by. Just he was instruction the secretary to call them, thinking “No one’s showing up, we might as well call”, a relative picked up the phone to give the bad news. The patient killed herself one day after she left the office. She used a firearm.

By the way, she must have taken the first dose as the voice on the phone would ask whether the suicide was related to the drug. The doctor told them that there was hardly any chance that a single dose of the drug would cause such a result.

Then, some other relatives would also come to see the physician. Everyone was looking for a cause. Her relationship with her spouse was questioned, etc. However, the patient said that she had no problems with her husband or her daughter; she even said that her daughter was highly precious for her.

Although years passed by, this matter would always be a fresh, bitter memory for the physician. But nobody would ever know of the insistence of the mother.

Sometimes, it was as if there was nothing left to do; humans just would made do with living their destiny. It was called fate.

It was impossible not to believe it.

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