Zada, the afghan woman that was too focused inwards

I miss writing very much. Years ago a language teacher told me that my text analysis were very good, and that comment helped me taking the decision to study Journalism. After some months I realised general journalism was not for me, still I studied it for two years at the university.

Since then I have written in diaries, in beautiful notebooks, in outdated empty and ugly agendas. This last one is quite complicated because the date obviously does not match, thursday 26th of october of 2017 is a wednesday on the previous year. Yes, not very surprising.  Well, the point is that I have released my anger and sadness, and my ecstatic moments in these pages. With no filter, and with much more expressivity than these plain flat keys of the keyboard.

And now again I try to write more in this medium. Something like a dream that I have and never fullfill: «Maria you could write a little bit every week»- says my critical voice. And my lazy side rejects to open the editing wordpress website and keeps scrolling passively news, photos, videos, of anything that appears in my tiny mobile screen.

The first thing is active, and the second is passive.

Activity and passivity.

You are focus outwards or inwards.

I realise that there are two types of activity: something that is done outwards and something that is done inwards.

  • For example, writing, dancing, talking, cooking, is something that goes from me towards the outside world, towards an objective, towards somebody. They are outwards oriented activities.
  • Reading, watching a movie, or scrolling in the newsfeed is inwards oriented. Same with thinking, imagining, relecting, and all those conversation that you have with yourself continuously without bringing you to a concreet action.

And this makes me think of Zada (pseudonym), and Afghan woman in our Psychiatric Centre with whom I cannot communicate even a word. The biggest problem she has is that basically she is always focused inwards.

Her life passes by behing her forehead, her look is turned inwards, towards her thoughts, towards a continuous rumination, fear and negative fantasies and imaginations of what cold happend, what have others said, what is happening to me.

depression inwards
Art by Catherine Lepange


Sometimes anxiety or depression could be seen as an an excess  of looking inwards. Not finding the necessary balance between one sice and the other. Having the vision rotated.

Together with the psychologist we have recommended Zada to try to go out and walk, and name all she sees around her. To try to see the sky, the shops, the trees again, and give a rest to her internal radio. For now it is going well. Although there is a lot to do.


That is why sometimes we have to jump out of the sofa and do something outwards,

and other times, when we do too much, we have to stop the train and look inwards.