January 21, 2007

Analyze this...

I find it so admirable when an english daily devotes publishing space for the mental health of its readers.
The "Independent"newspaper has committed itself to a praiseworthy endeavor, that of allotting a new column run by Dr. Cecilia D' Felice (what a lovely fitting name), a shrink.
On the couch as of next week, and your major complaints will be dealt with, in the most empathic manner.
Needless to say, I am jumping to the occasion before anyone else takes my turn, hoping to receive some valuable insight.

Dear Dr.Cecilia D'Felice,

It is with great interest that I read your article, "How to be Happy" in today's edition of the Independent.
Maybe you will be kind enough to reassure us in Iraq that we are indeed OK.
The whole of Iraqi society (what is left of it) has been exhibiting a myriad of strange behavioral patterns for nearly 4 years now and growing steadily more bizzarre.
For instance and I shall give you a few "cases":
Our women have been lately engaging in this weird habit of pulling their hair out and tearing their clothes. Do you think this is an "ethnic thing" or maybe a "transcultural" manifestation of a persevering borderline personality disorder? Others are just silent and sigh heavily.
Our men, on the other hand,have been oscillating between"passive-agressive"to outright "anti-social" behavior.
Couples and parents no longer speak to each other, they shout. Maybe you can recommend some manual for non-violent communication.
Another worrisome thing I noticed, is that our children have this blank empty look in their eyes.They seem to be recoiling in an autistic world shattered by intermittent hysterical screams.
Moreover, they seem to present some cognitive impediments, in particular speech. For instance, whenever one says to them "duck" they respond with "fuck" in a nasal twang.
Do you think this is an auditory dyslexia or are they just tapping into the "collective unconscious"?
As for our youth , they too, are exhibiting behavior that one might label as "acting out".
Apart from glue sniffing and other "recreational drugs", the boys have developed a fixation for plastic guns,cowboy hats and mullah robes. The girls refuse to wear colors and they seem to have gone mute silent.
Strangely again, some are immolating themselves or sticking their heads in gaz ovens. We don't really know why. Do you think it might have to do with puberty hormonal changes or a raped, sorry meant repressed sexuality?
Another thing, most of us have developed an insane fear of open space,in particular market places. I believe you call that "agoraphobia."
I wonder what this may be due to? The utmost we can manage is a trip to the roof of the house, furtively looking into the darkness and rushing back in.
Some of us have become obsessive compulsive. We keep checking doors and windows making sure they are well sealed and locked. You never know , someone might be lurking there.
Others are showing signs of delusional paranoia. They are convinced that some death squad is going to burst in, in the middle of the night and slaughter them.
We are also having serious "sleep disturbances" call it insomnia. If we ever manage to sleep, we wake up in the middle of a nightmare drenched in sweat with our hearts pounding.
Also, another noticeable thing is that the whole of the population is getting thinner and thinner."Anorexia nervosa" perhaps?
Doctor, one more thing and sorry this letter is taking too long, what medication would you recommend for sodomized,tortured individuals?
Do you think Prozac is good enough or would you suggest a more effective selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor?Tranquilizers are simply no longer doing their magical trick.
Kindly suggest something, not in a capsule form though. A few "patients" took them and developed kidney stones instead. (they said the capsules contained sand.)
And one last thing I forgot to mention, all the above symptoms started after we were "liberated" from our "tyrannical" shadow.
I thank you for your attention and await in great anticipation your invaluable diagnosis and remedy.

Your's truly,
Layla Anwar.

PS. I heard that Gaza is presenting somewhat similar symptoms, do you think it is a psychological epidemic?

Painting: Iraqi artist, AbdelAmeer Alwan.