Diabetes and myocardial infarction (a.k.a heart attack), have for long pestered humanity. The prevalence is magnanimous and the implications, insurmountable. People are well aware of the consequences of ignoring these demons, yet the awareness is enough to boost encouragement. Another entity though, major depressive disorder a.k.a depression, with implications of similar magnitude, is rarely pondered upon. Where does this difference in awareness, action and empathy arise from? Let’s analogize.
Mr. Arvind,a 50-year-old banker is a known diabetic. On a routine morning walk, breathlessness catches up on him, ending in a collapse. Rushed to the hospital, he is declared dead due to a myocardial infarction. Exploration further reveals missed medications in the recent past. Grief and moaning followed. “What a nice man he was. He died of heart attack.Only if he had taken the medications. ” everyone said.
In another abode, Mr. Rahul, a 45-year-old IT professional had yet another sleepless night. Life had grown tough recently with sadness all around. With all the agony, he didn’t want to continue living. A visit to the psychiatrist 2 months agowasn’t followed up, with medications for his depression also being skipped. That morning, he could take it no longer. Hanging himself seemed the only way out and that, Alas! Is how it ended. Another ripple of moaning, the comments though contrastingly different “Such a weak man, killed himself. And why did he need medications at all?” everyone said.
Did Mr. Rahul kill himself or rather, die of depression? Like Mr. Arvind died of heart attack.
Was Mr. Rahul a weak man? Or was it the narrow vision of our society, which failed to comprehend his illness.
It is this perspective which needs to change; that mental illnesses, like other disorders, too have a component of inevitability.
Dr Kartik Singhai
Kartik Singhai is a Psychiatry MD trainee at AIIMS, Jodhpur. His interest areas include mood and anxiety disorders, de-addiction psychiatry, mental well being of college students, cognitive behavior therapy and qualitative research. Psychiatry has throughout been a profession of great fulfillment for him, further enriched by being able to pen down his experiences and perspectives, mainly related to the encounters with the patients, the various issues that they face, and the promise that they hold. Through his work, he aims to enlarge the common readers’ perception on mental health, with a larger goal to widen the inclusion and acceptance of such patients in our society. Furthermore, he is a blog writer at “The Abhivyakti Columns- Perspectives” (AIIMS Jodhpur Literature Club) and holds good interest work related to the field of Psychiatry.
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