August 30, 2012

Thankful for my sanity

"I hear two people conspiring against me - it's cost me my job, and I'm losing my family".
 "My mother is trying to separate me and my husband and she's told the entire village of her intentions - I can sense it"

These are just two snippets of conversations I've made with patients at the National Institute of Mental Health, Sri Lanka.
I've spent a little over 10 days there with patients from different walks of life. Each one has a different story to tell, each one has a bucketful of problems, each one leads a different life. 

From schizophrenics to depressed patients to ones with bi-polar disorder to heroin/alcohol addicted patients - we saw them all.We got an insight into their lives. And trust me, you wouldn't want to know how it is. 

Can you imagine a person who always hears people conspiring to kill him; but when he looks around - there's no one.

Can you imagine a person who hates her mother because she thinks she's going to kill her new born baby; but the mother is in tears - seeing her daughter become a totally different person.

Can you imagine a person who hates his wife because he suspects her of having an extra marital affair - the wife who loves him to bits and is praying daily for his recovery.

Can you imagine a person who is so depressed that he wants to jump into a moving train and take his life. 

Are you thankful that you have a sound mind? That you are not locked up behind bars in a mental institute?
 I am.
I took my sanity for granted until I visited the institute. Until now, I've lived thinking that sanity is part of life, it's there and will be there. However, it's not. Sanity is as fickle as fickle can be. You can lose it as easily as you lose your handkerchief. 

Coincidentally, I happen to be reading Paulo Coelho's Veronika Decides to Die - a story about a young girl who has everything in life - she's young, pretty, has a stable job, good friends, loving family & boyfriends. But she's not happy & she decides to kill herself by swallowing sleeping pills. Death doesn't come easy - she wakes up to find herself in a mental hospital - she's alive but her heart is severely damaged and she only has a few days to live. During her stay in the hospital, waiting for death (which is so beautifully described by Paulo Coelho that you can actually visualize it) she realizes that every second of existence is precious. She sees life in a different light. 

The book has enhanced whatever I've felt and learnt from what I observed at the mental institute here in Sri Lanka. It has made me feel grateful for the fact that I am alive.
I recommend everybody to give the book a try - it'll be worth it!

I'm glad that this course is teaching me not just Medicine but also morals, various feelings and values of life. 
That's just one reason why I love what I'm pursuing! :) 

August 9, 2012

A time; A choice

I was reading the book "Eleven Minutes" by Paulo Coelho, and I stumbled upon this short piece in one of my favourite chapters of the book.
It's from a Hebrew book, called  Ecclesiastes.

A time to be born, and a time to die; 

A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; 

A time to break down, and a time to build up; 

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; 

A time to mourn, and a time to dance; 

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 

A time to get, and a time to lose; 

A time to keep, and a time to cast away; 

A time to rend, and a time to sew; 

A time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 

A time to love, and a time to hate; 

A time of war, and a time of peace. 

I'd recommend the book - it gives you an insight into the lives of prostitutes - and it's based on a true story. 

August 3, 2012

24 Life Lessons, Courtesy Of My Dog

I've been a little free this week so I'm spending a lot of time pursuing my hobbies - one of them being reading.
I came across this lovely piece on a fellow blogger's blog - it's so true on so many levels & I thought it's definitely worth a share.  (Even better if you're a dog lover like me!)

1. You can choose not to run to get the ball, but it’s always a lot more fun if you do.
2. Never underestimate the value of a simple plate of food and water.
3. Sometimes it’s all right to roll over and let someone pamper you.
4. Never bite the hand that feeds you.
5. Make sure you stretch thoroughly before you get up.
6. If a loved one is sad, approach slowly, cuddle up to them and wait for them to tell you what’s wrong.
7. There are times you lead, and there are times you follow.
8. Never discriminate. Cats can be a lot of fun to hang out with too.
9. The best place to nap is under the sun.
10. There is no bigger sign of affection and closeness than a big lick to the face.
11. It’s OK to be overly excited about things that pass you by.
12. Wading into water is good. Jumping in is infinitely better.
13. Pick carefully where you go to the bathroom.
14. A good run will always improve your day.
15. Only bark when the situation warrants it.
16. Leftovers are always delicious.
17. If someone enjoys scratching your back, stick with them forever.
18. Always know how to find your way back home.
19. Take good care of your teeth.
20. Loyalty is priceless.
21. Someone hurts someone you care about? Run after them and make them pay.
22. It’s all about opportunities: you’re not there, someone else gets the morsel.
23. Even if you’re alone, there’s someone out there that’s thinking of you.
24. Always go for what you want.

 -Emil Caillaux