Tradition suggests that every year on 14th February, you’re supposed to cherish and adore your loved ones in some special way. But over the years, the marketing and monetising strategies of this special day have become only centred on the idea of a specific type of love which is the romantic one. The flood of romantic captions on social media, as well as “couple offers” in literally every single store all over the city, is quite enough a reason to make someone without a romantic partner feel left out and lonely.
Ananya, a 24-year-old living in Dhaka, decided last year that she would celebrate her valentine’s day by going out on a pizza date by herself instead of moping around all day regretting romantic decisions of her life. But from the moment she stepped out of her home on 14th February, she felt like there were at least a million reminders all around herself reminding her how alone she was. Aside from the abundance of red roses and teddy bear holding hearts in front of every single store she passed on the street, the pizza place she went to was having “couples special offer” that day, meaning she had to pay extra just because she didn’t have a “partner” with her.
Now, this sort of unhealthy marketing in the day of love is a little too much on the mental health of any person who doesn’t have a romantic partner to celebrate the day with. So imagine the horror one must face when the mentioned person already suffers from depression, anxiety, or loneliness. This very special day does nothing but adding more salt to those people’s wounds.
In his late 20s, Sadman suffered from anxiety and depressive episodes since he was a teenager. With the help of medication as well as lots of extra self-care and self-effort, he usually has the situation quite manageable. But unsurprisingly, being without a romantic partner on celebrations like Valentine’s, surrounded by numerous triggers, it used to be the point that undoes all his effort and wrecks his already existing social anxiety and loneliness. Even though, with time, he has learned to fight through this feeling of agitation, he still sometimes gets horrorstruck remembering those horrible episodes.
Evidently, this unhealthy culture of centring the day of love all about one’s romantic partner is very much an abysmal nightmare to any single person with depression and other mental health disorders. According to the AARP Foundation survey, non-married persons without a significant other are more likely to feel lonely on Valentine’s Day (26%) than those who are dating (19%) or in a romantic relationship (6%).
But many of us, as well as the marketing executives of different types of business, often forget on the day of love, love is not really something confined within the idea of romantic love. Focusing on the love that we already have in our life instead of the love we want, we can always have a hangout with our friends or cousins, go out to a restaurant with our parents, or even buy ourselves a little red rose to appreciate how far we have come in life.
Even though the bed and crowded social media constantly attract us like some huge magnetic hole to fall into, try your hardest to get out there and buy yourself a little flower, at least.