“Psychiatry is laymen trying to understand Freud high on Cocaine!” – Me
Each and every one of us lives in a world of our own, a world constantly changing with the intersection of many such worlds. This world is the result of the known function of the brain, which perceives, experiences and acts upon, giving an identity to an unknown life force that prevails our bodies, bodies which carry many other functional organs along side, each of which are prone to dysfunction. If the Liver malfunctions and fails to supply glucose to the body and stops detoxifying and metabolizing, a Hepatologist would fix it, neither he nor the Liver would feel a thing. Should the same happen to the brain- not only the very identity of the individual breaks but it also has the potential to disturb every world it intersects thereon, with no respect to the social norms that are the foundation of the society over which egos are built.
It so happens that every doctor who eventually becomes a Psychiatrist is judged as his world comes in constant and continuous contact with the ‘Abnormal’. His acts are often analyzed and attributed to the nature of his work unlike a Diabetic Diabetologist treating Diabetes mellitus. Realizing this thrills many of the Mental Health Workers for it gifts them liberation! The nature of the work becomes more rewarding as you delve into the intricacies of Human life and experience it’s beauty.
As we do it, we are forced to experience the world of the patient to be capable of describing his unreality as we hold on to our own reality. So, it wouldn’t matter to us, the Psychiatrists, if a person dedicates a song singing our praises, for we might diagnose him to be a Manic next. It wouldn’t matter if a random stranger hit us and walks away laughing, for we might diagnose him to be a Psychotic. It wouldn’t matter if a patient didn’t recognize us after years, for he might have had a relapse of Depression and his world turned grey.
Whatever you may call it, I tell you, it is these stories that interest me. They fascinate me to the core but only because I want to help another human being and make his life more livable. Every time I hear those darkest secrets in my sound proof room, I feel the same thing I felt at the end of my first surgery during my third year of Medical School, every single time.
As time moves on, I hear more stories, one after another, each of them more painful than the one before, each of them fighting for an answer which we very often do not offer. These thin lines between what is real and unreal, the normal and the abnormal seems to blur and I question my very sanity to differentiate the two.
Once, I even began to wonder if there is a place on Earth where I could store my sanity (much like cryopreservation of Ovarian tissue before Chemotherapy) for there seemed a funny chance that I could become one of ‘them’ with no valid proof of my illness and noprecise biological evidence for the treatment. The senior resident supervising me laughed on hearing this. “Don’t you worry”, she said. “You would be given a Private Air Conditioned ward and all the facilities of the Mental Health Center. All you need to worry is”, she continued pensively, “Who would present you as a long case!” I managed a weary smile.
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