Psychiatry. This one simple word is actually very complicated. In Indonesia, people still think that psychiatry is only exclusively for crazy people. I admit that I was once in that kind set of mind before I did my psychiatry rotation. The whole picture of these crazy people talking non-sense or eagerly to kill someone did not happen to me on my first day. Those crazy people I watch in the movie or heard about were unreal.

All I see were people who need help. They are not crazy, they are just mentally ill. There might be something happened prior and it was too heavy for them to cope, but it does not simply make them deserve to be name crazy or mad people. They become crazy because we think they are one. That was the first perception I made in my mind to understand and explore more about psychiatry.

To be honest, I was afraid on my first week to go around the wards alone. The stigma of crazy patients attacking me was still there. However, I thought I should know them better to understand them better. So, on my second week, I tried to talk to a patient who attempted suicides more than ten times. He is not crazy. He knew that it is wrong to kill himself, but sometimes his feeling of unworthiness gets on top of him. He had a very complicated life that he could not even tell me himself. When I left the interview room, I felt more pity for him than just a thought that he is a mad people.

There are few more stories I found during my rotation. There is one schizophrenic patient who complimented me in the end of the interview. She loves her mother as much as we love ours. She knows between right or wrong, but she does not know which is real and unreal. I don’t think a difficulty to differentiate real from unreal could be categorized as mad nor crazy. I agree she is ill and she needs helps therefore she stays in the hospital.

Further questions could be raised about psychiatry then. Is psychiatry only dealing with these kind of patients? People who don’t know real or unreal? No! Psychiatry is a project (as I would call it) developed to serve people who is mentally ill. It can be anywhere from addiction of alcohol, smoking habits, depression, hyperactive, or schizophrenia. So, there is a need for people to get rid of this stigma about meeting a psychiatry. Sometimes we don’t see our problems by our own mind, and a mental problem could be as simple as drinking a cup of tea.

I, personally, think that psychiatry is a very interesting area although it is like a step-child in medical world, but psychiatric problems indeed overlap more or less with medical problems because the better mental health of someone ill the better outcome the one to recover from his illness. It is shameful that psychiatry is often forgotten. However, the most important thing is that a psychiatrist should always be ready to serve the community.

Lastly, would I be a psychiatrist? IF I am thinking about income and my wealth, the answer would be no. But, if I would help people to be free from mental problems, I am interested to be a psychiatrist. Being a psychiatrist is not about how we cure patients but how we help and serve them to overcome their personal problems. Remember, a mental problem could be more severe and complicated than any medical problems including cancer.

Being a doctor is not all about to treat and to cure but it is more to serve and to care.

Hasta.

eldios©

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