It’s Enough to Make You Crazy

Sometimes we come across a story
that resonates with us in a special way. There,  we think, but
for the grace of God, go we. And sometimes we see our own life, reflected
in the misfortunes of others…

SILCHANG, India (Reuters) – More than half-a-century
ago, Machal Lalung was thought to be insane and sent to a mental asylum
in India’s remote northeast. A few months ago, he was set free after
the National Human Rights Commission found that healthcare authorities
made a mistake and Lalung suffered
only from epilepsy.

Lalung’s confinement for 54 years has shocked rights activists and mental
health experts in a country where it is not uncommon for people to be
branded insane and locked up in homes or asylums for months, if not a
few years.

Fifty-four years with psychiatric patients has dulled his senses, made
him forget his family, his tribal dialect and even the taste of the food
he liked. His life before entering the asylum is nothing but a blip in
his memory. So is the story of how and who brought him to the mental
home. Doctors
who treated Lalung have retired and records about him are missing.

"I feel sad at what happened to my life but there is no use grumbling
now. I am just waiting for death," he told Reuters at his nephew’s
home in Silchang village, about 55 miles east of Assam’s main city of

"Initially, I used to miss my family and always begged my wardens
to send me home. But they never listened to me," he said with tears
in his eyes.

Along with Premature
, being trapped in an insane asylum where
nobody believes you are sane is one of our ultimate nightmares. For this reason we have assiduously avoided all forms of mental health care our entire life, first instinctively, and after majoring in the matter at Harvard from a profound and disquieting understanding of the present state of mental health care. We knew if they got their craws on us, we would never again see the light of day.

all, sanity is a culturally-defined, subjective and relative categorization.
In the Peruvian Amazon, among the Kaxinawa Indians, you would all be
considered insane, and you don’t even want to know what constitutes mental health treatment in that warrior culture.

"It was very difficult to stay with insane people in the same room
but gradually I got used to it," Lalung said.

We think the same thing every day.

Today, despite his poor health, Lalung likes to work in a small vegetable
garden outside the house, carrying a spade and a pouch containing a tobacco
and betel nut snack to chew.

Nothing like a good betel nut buzz.

Although there were many women in the hospital, Lalung never tried to
make friends with them or consider marriage.

"Who would want to marry an insane woman?" he asks.

Can we plead temporary insanity?

from Reuters

This entry was posted in Wacky News. Bookmark the permalink.