香山リカのココロの万華鏡:時代のアンテナ /東京

October 13, 2013(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Psychiatry patients as the antennas of their time
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:時代のアンテナ /東京

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe formally announced raising the consumption tax rate from 5 percent to 8 percent in April next year at a press conference on Oct. 1.

The following day I was responsible for outpatients. As I had expected, this topic was brought up several times in the consultation room. “I couldn’t sleep last night,” said one patient. “I’m flustered with anxiety,” said another.

I suspect some people may be dubious, “Becoming immediately anxious and losing sleep when the tax rise is not until April next year is surely an overreaction.”

But through the ages psychiatry patients have been regarded as antennas of their time, being very sensitive to social problems.

There are those that become depressed or frightened just by seeing incidents or conflicts overseas that in reality have no direct effect on their lives, some people even develop illnesses. These people empathize with those suffering in distant countries, regardless if it has any effect on themselves, and feel the hardship and fear as if experiencing it firsthand.

When I see people that empathize with events in faraway places, being instantly responsive to the news and worrying more than the average person, I always wonder if they are the ones with healthier minds.

In today’s society there is an abundance of incidents occurring both in Japan and abroad. Everything is uncertain and there is no one that can guarantee peace and prosperity in the next decade. The lives of people in disadvantaged positions especially have become harder over time. If someone sees incidents such as widespread disasters or terrorist acts and says, “It has nothing to do with me,” or dismisses whatever is reported in the news, in reality isn’t this a much less natural attitude? Perhaps these people turn off their reaction switch and become programmed for indifference.

But as a psychiatrist I can’t just say, “Your reaction is normal,” to patients who find it more difficult to sleep after hearing news of a consumption tax increase.

The best I can do is to give the symptom a name such as insomnia and write out a prescription. But I’m always left with mixed feelings. Are they the ones who are “sick,” or is it me? After all, I seem to turn off my reaction switch. “Consumption tax increases? Yet another contaminated water leak? Never mind about that for now,” I think, pretend that everything is fine and get a good night’s sleep.
 もしかしたら、「消費税アップ? また汚染水漏れ? いや、考えない、考えない」と心のスイッチを切ってしまい、何事もなかったかのように安眠している私のほうなのではないだろうか。

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2013年10月08日 地方版


srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
カテゴリー: 英字新聞 パーマリンク



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