“We see the world, not as it is, but as we are.”
Somebody rightly said the above lines, but we, the “normal” people as we say we are, we define a boundary or a parameter of normalcy at just 2πr. If you are inside this circle you are normal…but how do you know what’s going on in someone’s else’s mind? If I am found talking with myself then I can pass off my action as being an ‘occupied scientist’…but if my maid does so, she will be simply called ‘mad’. Well, busy-ness and constant planning of the next move is common in both of us, and therefore, the situation can ideally arise in both of us. And of course, there are people who are both busy and calm at the same time…exactly! So here comes the word perception – about us and others.
Let’s talk about people suffering from Alzheimer (a disease mostly seen in older ones) in which the common symptom is dementia, which itself is characterized as a syndrome in which functional and cognitive abilities keep on declining, the reason being toxic changes in the brain especially starting from a region called Hippocampus which is supposed to be responsible for learning and memory. The neurons (cellular unit of brain) die due to abnormal deposit of certain protein, and with the progression of time neurodegeneration spreads in the whole brain. Similarly, in the case of Parkinson disease – we know this is age related problem in some people, but In our society we still say “sathiyaa gaye hain” and give lots of directions to them. How many times do we suggest somebody who has a broken wrist to shake it off?!
Nowadays depression and anxiety is common even in children. These diseases have their own biochemical basis. Instead of telling the children to just pull themselves out of it we should ensure their medication and psychotherapy on time. Even in some cases of mental illness like Schizophrenia instead of seeking a doctor’s help people go to a Baba who in the name of religion behave harshly and in some cases beats patients up brutally by proclaiming that a Devil/Shaitaan/Bhoot has captured the body.
We need to increase our medical facilities for the treatment and therapy of affected people. According to WHO Mental health workforce in India (per 100,000 population) includes psychiatrists (0.3), nurses (0.12), psychologists (0.07) and social workers (0.07) which is quite less in number as compared to our population.
Most of all, we need to change our behavior towards mentally ill person, because they are behaving only as their brain wiring is allowing them to and we need to understand and help them instead of judging them on our own standard set parameters.
contributed by Shumaila Iqbal Siddiqui