Today I want to tell you about something that happened to me last week that made me think a lot about prejudice, fear of the other different and unknown, and the alertness in which we live on a daily basis that makes it difficult to trust the other and to be open to the other.
Days ago I came across an article on Repubblica on gaslighting that is defined as “psychological manipulation that during a prolonged period of time causes the victim to question the validity of their thoughts, their perception of reality or memories, and leads to confusion, loss of security and self-esteem, uncertainty of their emotions and mental health”.
With the arrival of the new year, more or less, we find ourselves taking stock of what we have done and what we intend to do in the days to come.
It is the evening of January 1st as I write what you are reading and just before starting to tick my fingers on my pc I thought: “The first article of 2023 is a responsibility”, not that it isn’t for all of us in any other day of the year, but the thought went by itself and I said to myself “do well, do better”.
Ferdinand is an Albanian army officer, we are in January 1997 and his life up to that moment is an open window on the future: youth, a promising career, a girlfriend, a homeland …. but Albania is a country in turmoil, exhausted in 1991 from half a century of Communism opens wildly to neoliberal economic policies made of privatizations and free market that, After a few years, they lead to the bankruptcy of the main financial companies and the risk of a civil wa . It is January 16, 1997 and begins a period consigned to the annals as “Albanian anarchy”. It’s winter, the cold wind freezes the bones and yet the revolt spreads throughout the country, in the streets you can breathe smoke and gunpowder, blood begins to flow.
The young people asked us….
A group of young people, a listening desk, a box. These are the ingredients of a small experiment carried out in a school. As managers of the listening desk we wanted to do something different, something that sometimes seems impossible for both adults and young people. Ask and receive an answer.
A class of teenagers asked to talk about sexuality. How to do that? How to actually talk about what they wanted to know? We thought we’d get the questions on paper cards and collect them anonymously and freely in a box.
Here are some of their questions… Here are some of our answers…
Latina, 12 years old writes a farewell letter and attempts suicide by throwing herself from the school window”. What’s going on? Why didn’t anyone do anything?
In Latina, our city, last week a young girl of just twelve, after writing a farewell note, attempted suicide by throwing herself from the window of her school. The lawn below the window cushioned the fall avoiding the death of the young woman who is now hospitalized. This is one of those news that hits you like a punch to the stomach maybe because of her young age or maybe because she is a student like us. The next morning, in classroom, we were all a bit upset and so we talked a lot about it to try to understand how we can get to make such an absurd gesture that certainly concerns mental health. Typing “mental health” the online dictionary reports: Mental health, a broad concept that refers to a state of general well-being of the individual and does not end in the mere absence of pathology or discomfort of any kind … In short, it is something complicated that is not limited to being crazy or not. Yet continuing to search we read that the death rate among adolescents is already alarming, but if we analyze the data, we discover that we are facing a real emergency, that is, the number of suicides and psychic disorders among young people are constantly increasing.