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Regular readers of our blogs may recollect that in one of our earlier issues (May 17th) we had referred to one of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother’s reflections on how to sleep. Given the state of uncertainty and anxiety we are passing through, the need to deliberate on depression in this issue is felt. Excerpts have been taken from the book Living Within (pp.56-58).

  1. Depression may come from two causes: either from a want of vital satisfaction or from a considerable nervous (physical) fatigue in the body.

  2. Depression arising from physical fatigue is set right fairly easily: one has but to take rest. One goes to bed and sleeps until one feels well again, or else one rests, dreams, lies down.

  3. The want of vital satisfaction is pretty easily produced and usually one must face it with one’s reason, must ferret out the cause of the depression, what has brought about the lack of satisfaction in the vital; and then one looks at it straight in the face and asks oneself whether that indeed has anything to do with one’s inner aspiration or whether it is simply quite ordinary movement. Generally one discovers that it has nothing to do with the inner aspiration and one can quite easily overcome it and resume one’s normal movement.

  4. To yield to depression when things go wrong is the worst way of meeting the difficulty. There must be some desire or demand within you, conscious or subconscious, that gets excited and revolts against its not being satisfied. The best way is to be conscious of it, face it calmly and steadily throw it out.

  5. Remorse, repentance, is the natural movement of the vital mind when it sees it has done a mistake. It is certainly better than indifference. Its disadvantage is that it disturbs the vital stuff and sometimes leads to depression or discouragement. For that reason what is usually recommended to the sadhak is a quiet recognition of the mistake with a sincere aspiration and will that it should not be repeated or at least that the habit of making such mistakes should be eliminated. At a higher stage of development when the inner calm is established, one simply observes the defects of the nature as defects of a machinery that one has to put right and calls down the Light and Force for its rectification.

Ever since the nation-wide lockdown was imposed Porosh did not back-out from discharging its duties due to fear of the unknown – COVID 19. We took basic precautionary measures like wearing face masks and sanitization of hands. Our members can vouch for it. Given our experience, we are in a unique position to assess how a collective sense of paranoia has gripped the city over the last four months and more so the senior citizens.

During the initial days of lockdown, there was an element of uncertainty and hence, panic. We may recollect households across the city stocking essential items. Those were flying-off the shelves in no time. This resulted in long queues outside the departmental stores and our all-weather pararmudi’r dokan. But what has been the scenario since then?

Obviously, we are now better informed, right? We know that the virus is extremely contagious and can also be lethal on a case-to-case basis. We know what containment zones and recovery rates mean. We are also flooded with theories on why there is no sign of its abatement. But what has happened during this period is that half-baked information aired through various communication media have rendered us paranoid. All sorts of unverified news floating around us like how one may get infected by the virus through running tap water to dead bodies of COVID infected persons being dumped on the streets to the ‘worst is yet to come’ debates seem to have numbed us. The more we are allowing ourselves to be fed by 24x7 chattering the more confused we are becoming. Naturally, such a state of mind is extremely damaging and worrisome especially if its reach is far and wide. So, what do we do?

Although the idea may appear a bit outlandish yet it merits introspection. Can we make a collective resolve to shun ourselves from being bombarded by news items centering COVID? We know of persons who consciously refrain from discussions/gossip on the pandemic. This should not be interpreted as the devil may care attitude by such individuals. Instead, they have drawn lakshman rekhas by not allowing negative thoughts to disturb the peace of mind. And who does not know that if the mind is steady and unwavering it creates a better ground to fight the scourge that is COVID?

Anaemia means having a red blood cell (RBC) count that is lower than normal, and it is very common among senior citizens. And anaemia becomes even more common as people get older. But many older adults and families hardly understand anemia.

Anemia is associated with a dizzying array of underlying health conditions, and can represent anything from a life-threatening emergency to a mild chronic problem that barely makes the primary care doctor blink. Misunderstanding anaemia can also lead to unnecessary worrying, or perhaps even inappropriate treatment with iron supplements. Since anaemia is often caused by some other problems in the body, not understanding anaemia often means that people don’t understand something else that is important regarding their health.

Anaemia means having a lower-than-normal count of red blood cells circulating in the blood. To detect anaemia clinicians rely on the haemoglobin level. A “normal” level of haemoglobin is usually in the range of 14-17gm/dL for men, and 12-15gm/dL for women. However, different laboratories may define the normal range slightly differently. The red blood cells in our blood use haemoglobin to carry oxygen from your lungs to every cell in your body. So when a person doesn’t have enough properly functioning red blood cells, the body begins to experience symptoms related to not having enough oxygen.

Common symptoms of anaemia are:

  1. fatigue

  2. weakness

  3. shortness of breath

  4. high heart rate

  5. headaches

  6. becoming paler, which is often first seen by checking inside the lower lids

  7. lower blood pressure (especially if the anaemia is caused by bleeding)

Common specific causes include:

  1. Chemotherapy or other medication

  2. Iron deficiency

  3. Lack of vitamins needed for red blood cells.

  4. Low levels of erythropoietin.

  5. Chronic inflammation.

  6. Bone marrow disorders

RBC count can be increased by introducing red meat & liver, dark, leafy, green vegetables, such as spinach, dried fruits, such as prunes and raisins, beans, legumes and egg yolks.

(Note: This article has drawn inputs from Leslie Kernisan’s blog on Better Health While Ageing)

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