The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a female in my 50s. I have lived without trusting, loving and opening up my mind to anyone. Sorrow and regret dominate me now.
My parents were both affected by mental illness. Soon after I was born, my mother committed suicide. In early childhood, my now-departed father’s depressive bouts frightened me. When I was in elementary school, my grandfather also took his own life, so I was raised by my grandmother.
In my teenage years, I stopped attending school due to a boy who bullied me, and eventually dropped out. After isolating myself from society, I found a job in my 20s. But, I was exposed to sexual harassment by a married man there, and left the office.
I have held no dreams of getting married, because I was abandoned by my parents and don’t know what a happy family is. With men, I only feel fear, antipathy and distrust. As a woman, there has been nothing to make me act positively toward men.
I wanted to make my life different to those in which people get married and raise children. But I have had depression and continued medical treatment with livelihood protection. My friends have also left. What happened to my 50-year life?
S, Mie Prefecture
Dear Ms. S:
You can see no light because painful experiences hang over you like dark clouds. I think you should reexamine those experiences so you can escape this situation.
Your mother failed to get through, but did not abandon you. Aren’t you a daughter asked by a mother to remain strong instead of her?
No one can live without love. You live now due to your grandmother’s love. I think you must have offered hope to her — a person who lost her husband to suicide. Even though you bear grudges against the bullying boy and the sexual harasser, I hope you do not regard your invaluable life as meaningless.
There are many people who don’t feel happiness in marriage, birth and childcare, and who choose the same way of life that you have by turning their back on marriage. Choices always entail both happiness and unhappiness.
Although your 50-year life has been hard, you have pulled through. I ask you to try to break ground, where even subtle things such as good weather or a beautiful sky can make you happy.
It is too early for you to ask what became of your life, I think.
Megumi Hisada, writer