I honestly thought of making this a page on FB. I bet it would have a thousand members before I could say ” Let us all party on the moon”.. :D
But, I thought this to myself: Do not encourage depression within you or in others. Do not indulge in it. Do not allow it. Counter it. Fix it. And, fix it right here in Riyadh.
You see, I have understood what depression is. Depression is caused by the shock of not being able to get what we really need or are used to and being helpless in most areas of life. It is caused by loss. It is caused when the ego of a person is damaged. I have seen some years of depression. And , giving in to it has always only led to an escape from it through a variety of means. Most of them not beneficial to man.
Yes, people do get depressed in Riyadh. Very depressed. And, I have always wondered why. I never got depressed as a child, teenager or even an adult. I only got depressed when I realized how limited I was in business here. How I was so dependent on a “sponsor” and how the system was so difficult to deal with. Of course, most of this was based on assumption and people’s complains. But, it was enough to depress me. And it did. And I took off. But that was my thing. Your thing could be different..
Life is such that it makes us FACE our greatest fears regardless of our will. I consider that a blessing. Because , in each pain hides a gain. In each loss there hides a victory and I suppose that is the test of life put upon the human mind. I will not go on with defining depression and going into the mechanics of the human mind and thought.. I will cut right through that and give you a complete solution to whatever depression you are feeling in Riyadh.
Ok.. now , first of all.. you must ACCEPT that this the life in Riyadh. Do not think it will change, and do no interfere with its process or existence. You will only be banging your head on the wall. So why do it? Just ACCEPT Riyadh as it is. Once you have done that, you will realize that you have put a lot of negativity within you to rest. Acceptance is the key to change.
Then , write down all the things that bother you here. The Mutawa, the Rules.. the whatever. Write it down in point form. Once your list is ready, start defining each one. Do not define anything based on assumption or common talk. Define them for what they are. You will see that they do have a reason to be. You see what you are doing now is DEFINING your problem. Defining a problem is step one in solving it. A journey of research and understanding will begin. You will befriend Saudis, old expatriates. You will start to look at things you never saw before. You will even start to learn Arabic. Do not, at any point, take anyone’s opinion seriously – Saudi or non Saudi. Someone else’s experience and perception is their own. Not yours. What they experienced was for them , not you. For example, once I had a small problem with the Mutawa. In my heart , I was angry and so full of hatred. When I applied this process of “Honesty” and ” research” in the first ten minutes of meeting him, I did realize that the fault lay with me. So, I told the Mutawa that. He forgave me at once and overlooked the whole issue. Honesty PAYS. Someone else may have started the self defense thing with him and he would have probably dealt with them severely in every possible way. Anger generates anger, drop it.
Now, in doing your research .. ( hate not, understand).. you will come to know so many things about Saudi Arabia. History of Tribes and people. The culture, the mentality and how it grew into what it is . You will even understand why the Saudi People are not so very welcoming nor so open to all expatriates. They used to be. They used to respect and admire expatriates like no other nation can. They used to honor them and love them and do everything to protect them. They did all this until thousands of expatriates FOOLED them, took their wealth, abused them.. and even murdered them. So, stop the blame game and start the UNDERSTAND game. Put yourself in their shoes too sometimes. Pretend to be a Saudi , and see reactions. You will understand.
Of course, the research and understanding , with the goal being the same: Defining the problems that generate depression, is a continuous process. It is a way of thinking that you must adopt. Do not react before defining.
Then, the question of existence, freedom and needs. List them. You see, you CAN do anything you want here. You cannot drink, party, have relationships all over.. but then would you want that elsewhere? That really goes back to you. Though it maybe implemented in a ” not so beautiful” way, the Sharia does hold great value and following it DOES benefit people. It benefits you. Don’t agree? Back to step two: Research.
Deception of people and other illusions: Read my post about WASTA. Do not, ever.. ever.. believe in people with big promises. You want to do business here or get something from the government, go DIRECTLY to them. Get your information from them. They will give you guidelines and options for KSA. Do not , for a minute, think that a guy in a nice white thobe and shining shoes knows it all and can do it all.. he cannot. People are people and the government treats them as such. Find out policies and processes and follow-up directly.
I repeat, the system is NOT that bad, it is the people representing it that make it look so ugly , and it is all because of their laziness. For example, exit-reentry, renewals and all the processes of Jawazat are done in minutes.. it is the Expediter of your company or someone you hired that is giving you stories. Always remember that. Do not blame the government for the mistake of some people. Again, research. But once you have really started with the “Defining” , you will know the solution to all this anyway.
Lack of entertainment? I disagree. KSA is HUGE. It has some amazing places. Get in a car and take off. Oh , you are a woman and you cannot drive? I , for one, wish you could. But, if you could, you would OPT not to. The driving is a pain here sometimes. Hire a private car.
Do not let your mind fall into this trap of depression. Your biggest most important realization , no matter what religion you follow or not follow, should be: Your life is YOUR business. How you think, act and perceive is what shows around you. Remove the weak thinking processes such as ” Money is in Saudi Arabia” .. in fact, stop living for money. Stop thinking that a human being will give you anything. No one can. What Riyadh does is it makes you face YOURSELF again and again. Look within and not around and you will see that each situation relates to a perception you have held for years…a perception that needs to change ( now, that was DEEP)..
Pray to the God that has created ALL and pray sincerely.. define His creation and understand HIS position in your life.. you will start to live. Depression will be replaced by joy. Your greatest enemy will become your best friend. And you will have passed a great test. The test that checks whether your surroundings control you or YOU control your surroundings. Doubts, deterrents and ideas that weaken your soul and mind should be dropped. Ignored. At any cost. Here is a piece of wisdom that I heard somewhere : If you see a man holding a bow and arrow pointing towards you and you know that the arrow he throws will go as far as you can run and he will not miss, what is the best way of saving yourself? .. Go and HUG HIM.. Run towards him and hold him. Think about that for a minute.
You will see in time, that all this depression was an illusion that you had imposed upon yourself. Get up each fajir, pray.. breathe in the morning air and live. Be happy. All those people who you love are a gift of God to you. Your children have their own destinies. You are not in charge of their destiny. As Khalil Gibran very wisely said once : They came through you, not FOR you. So, teach them to think like this and do not pass on your depression to them. Smile more and find peace within yourself.
And yes, EXPRESS what you feel .. always.. Do not let it live in your heart. Always DEFINE the problem and seek solution. To react emotionally will only cause misery. And, this applies where ever you go or live.