Tuesday, September 26, 2023 | Rabi' al-awwal 10, 1445 H
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Journaling as a therapy

Studies say that journaling is great for mental health. By the end of this brief exercise, I am not sure

As a detox of the increased levels of stress due to the pandemic, I decided to take notes of some daily events. Oh boy! Perhaps I should not have done so.

I had penciled down observations such as lovely smiles from unknown people to inconsequent attitudes. Studies say that journaling is great for mental health. By the end of this brief exercise, I am not sure.

The apex of observed events happened during a 40 plus Celsius degree day. I stopped at a filling station for petrol. There was a car in front of mine and a few other cars parked in front of the grocery store. The car ahead of mine had the petrol hose inserted, and the engine on – a lack of responsibility. By this time, my car was being filled as well. Then, one of those vehicles parked in front of the store started manouvering back and forth to gain space to leave the place. The driver of the car being filled in front of mine just reversed -with the petrol hose still injected into the tank! No escape would be possible in case of an explosion. I had complained to the people at the filling station to only hear that, despite the prohibition, people do keep the engines on while filling with petrol. Manouvering with the gas hose inserted is asking for serious penalties. I was scared to death and scared of a horrible death.

Journaling can tell more than one asks for. Sending birthday cards via postal service was another weird experience. A personalised, handwriting birthday card feels like reaching out to connect with people you care about - even though, it is becoming uncommon with the Internet. I went to send the birthday cards to my grandchildren that I haven’t seen for two years. One birthday card postal service cost at least RO 10, nearly $27, and no tracking number was provided. Here comes the tipoff: three times the employee used the banking payment device, and had to cancel each time because of errors in the system. Whatever the reasons, I realized that if there were three payments and canceled each time, the balance would have to be the same as from before it all started – maybe.

Another episode: a person in charge of dispatching an important document for signature had not forwarded it after 20 days since the submission. Lack of responsibility, the least to say. And it did not stop there. In another incident, despite the submission of personal information update with required in-person presence and hard copy paperwork filled, the information was not entered into the system; but then, it is all computerised, right? Not really! Still another odd situation: a PhD holder with more than a decade of teaching at the most prestigious universities in the country, and I find out that I am registered into the system as a Bachelor, and even weirder, that I had not one but two identification numbers. Computers have logical structures whereas people can be highly distracted. The human and automation relationship can provide food for thoughts.

Not finished yet. Like going for an orthopedic examination and ending up with an appointment with a heart specialist! During a routine medical checkup after a hiatus of more than one year, the required clinical tests were attributed to a different doctor’s specialty. Ouch! Should I be worried?

Writing down the observations was supposed to be a form of stress relief therapy. But it revealed that these episodes raised more concerns than comfort. People feed machines; therefore, information, verification, and validation have to be thoroughly performed. More, switching off the engine at petrol stations should not be negotiable. It is a serious offense.

Stressed? Mental health is the next big issue.

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