One of my favourite students is starting to worry me. She’s a beautiful, educated suburban housewife who takes exactly four private lessons a month, pays top dollar, and doesn’t give me a hard time at all – in fact, I look forward to meeting with her every Tuesday morning. I also respect her for being a model wife and mother, not to mention a pillar of the PTA.
Recently she has been beset with the kinds of problems that affect most women on her age and station in life. As a typical Sandwich Generation woman, she is dealing with two sets of aging parents and two rebellious teenagers at the same time. She is also going through a rough patch in her marriage (no doubt caused by the above conditions). To top it all off, she has fallen out with a few of her friends … and it’s interesting to me that this problem is the one that causes her the most agony, perhaps because she relied on those friends for emotional support.
A few weeks ago she started asking me, apropos of nothing, some very odd questions. For example “do you ever feel like you could die now and no-one would care?” Or “do you ever just want to go to sleep and never wake up?” or even quite bluntly, “do you ever just want to end it all?” This is a topic that she keeps coming back to despite my efforts to brush it off. I recognise that she is suffering from some form of depression (and who would blame her?) but I don’t feel safe in recommending her to go to a Japanese doctor, because they are generally hopeless at dealing with these things.
Anyway, I hope that she manages to work it out somehow, but given the Japanese prediliction for suicide, I wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t.