Mental illnesses are no longer topics to be talked behind closed doors. With celebrities like Deepika Padukone coming upfront and television series like 13 Reasons Why people are talking more freely about bipolar disorder, schrizophenia, anxiety and depression and seeking personal as well as professional help. It is heartening to see the stigma being slowly eradicated for a healthy mind is as much a necessity as a healthy body.
However, one issue that is often left unexplored, but which majorly affects the population more so since the advent of industrialisation, is Depersonalisation. It is a state in which the individual dissociates from one’s own feelings, thoughts, memories or bodily sensations, has been clinically diagnosed since 1828. The boundaries of depersonalisation disorder, or DPD remain fuzzy and it is one of the most common yet under-recognised psychiatric conditions in the world. Studies have revealed that DPD most likely affects 2% of the population.
This psychological barrier that the individual creates with the world as a defence mechanism interestingly also affects the medical practitioners. The sterile environment in healthcare systems deepen this sense of depersonalisation. Brian Abel-Smith has been quoted saying, “Countries had poor health because they were poor and to some extent they were poor because they had poor health.” This is true for a nation like India where public healthcare systems are not funded sufficiently and there is not enough stuff to cater to the large populace who cannot afford private healthcare. Thus a sense of depersonalisation is created and as a result the patients suffer. If the rest of India is the body then the health of its citizens is its head and for a healthy body a healthy mind is required. Thus this issue needs to be skilfully tackled.