Of the Mad World

‘Look, he is mad!’
‘…such a moron’
‘She is anyway an idiot!’

How easy it is for the ‘sane’ community to call others insane. Easier said than experienced! Experiencing the pain, the neglect and all those cross eyes.

Admitted to the mental asylum for reasons of depression, mental ill-health, fanaticism and misunderstandings, the mentally unfit fall prey to treason and berating of the world outside. Ironical is the word ‘asylum’, literally meaning a place of safety. What if they find their solace in typically being their own self in that confined area and still all we do is tag them as madmen?

While a few stay there under the verdicts of judiciary and medicine, a lot others get snared because they cannot follow the social norms. In the world of mentally sound, we still choose to ignore the role of psychiatrists and psychoanalysts for the fear of being ousted from the mainstream. There is still to a very great extent orthodoxy and conventionally-ill prevalent ideologies that tamper opening up about mental illness.

But what really madness is?
‘Madness is the inability to communicate your ideas. It’s as if you are in a foreign country, able to see and understand everything that’s going on around you, but incapable of explaining what you need to know or of being helped, because you don’t understand the language they speak there’, quotes literature. It reveals choice of words.

In reality, the affliction due to needles, the torment due to serotonins and above all disapproval of the society makes them an isolated class.
Statistically, in India alone 6-7% of population suffered from mental disorders with close to 1% being seriously ill and facing problems like schizophrenia or bipolar disorders and others facing depression and high anxiety, as recorded a decade ago. World Health Organization estimates that 1 in 4 face mental illness once in their lifetime. But even these figures are a bit atrophied because of general tendency to ambush and conceal mentally ill.

Commendable are the provisions in the new Mental Health Care Bill, 2013 but which again is stuck in the bureaucratic cycle of Indian legislation.

At the crux, madness is quite a relative concept. What one goes nutty about, may not suit the behavioral norms of the other. It is for us to choose to be the saboteur or the saviors for them. More immediate is the call to sensitize and understand.


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