In Corpore Sano
"What's the secret of a healthy body?", - Konstrakta, a Serbian singer-songwriter, asked at the Eurovision Song Contest 2022, while referencing to Meghan Markle's hair. From all other songs presented, this one got me the most, not only for its engaging chorus "Biti zdrava" (meaning "to be healthy"), but also for powerful and thought-provoking ending, which translates into English as:
A sick mind in a healthy body
A sad soul in a healthy body
A desperate mind in a healthy body
A frightened mind in a healthy body
So what do we do now?
As healthcare systems around the world are primed on saving lives of patients, the matter of quality of the life is often out of the picture or given much lesser priority. In her song Konstrakta is referencing to mental health problems, which became more apparent as pandemic lured in. The topic of the mental health is close to my heart, as my family has a history of mental health issues. Both my grandmother and mother got schizophrenia. A webpage of Mayo clinic gives a definition to it:
Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally. Schizophrenia may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions, and extremely disordered thinking and behavior that impairs daily functioning, and can be disabling. People with schizophrenia require lifelong treatment.
Growing up my biggest fears wasn't dark rooms, height, spiders and other phobias. My biggest concern was not to get crazy. If you ever saw a person with serious mental disorder, and especially if there are two of them in the same household, it'd give you a lasting impression and huge aspiration not to follow their case. My father took me away when I was 2.5 years old and moved to his parents, since then I wasn't with my biological mother. But I'd visit her occasionally, and more regularly during my times at university, as she lives with my grandfather (her father) who has been taking care of her.
|A scene from a movie "Joker" (2019)|
Schizophrenia comes in waves, at least in the case of my biological mother. Some periods she acts normally, and during some - she stays in the bed and talks strangely. She isn't violent or anything, she just need time and usually recovers back to "normality" by her own. But if the period when she is "out" is beyond 3 months, grandpa would take her to psychiatry hospital, where under medications she will be treated within a week.
I did a DNA test, as I wanted to find out if my risk of getting schizophrenia is elevated. According to the test results, it is not. It's not known what causes schizophrenia, but researchers believe that a combination of genetics, brain chemistry and environment (not a chill and relaxed one) contributes to development of the disorder. If cards play not in your favour, there is a high probability to get, so called, crazy.
Living in more relaxed, chill environment helps. But since childhood, I have been through a lot, plus the nature of my work is not the most chill-kind. The ongoing war in Ukraine and daily news about deaths and destructions aren't helping to relax and unwind after work. Practicing meditation, mindfulness and yoga, as well as having stable social circle of friends and family, doing therapy - all decreases chances of getting any mental health issue, not only schizophrenia.
We aren't really being much educated about the mental health. At schools and universities, we have physical education classes (PE) weekly, but nothing on mental education (ME). At least, it wasn't in my case. But I believe it should have been. That is my answer to Konstrakta's question: "So what do we do now?". We learn & educate.