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2013年11月 4日 (月)

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:精神論の限界、広めたい /東京

November 03, 2013(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Ending the idea that mental strength can overcome anything
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:精神論の限界、広めたい /東京

Recently, it seems like typhoons hit Japan every week. The loss of life on Izu Oshima Island was widely reported, while I've also had patients in my consultation room affected by the typhoons in their own ways.

The most common worry amongst these patients is, "What will I do if we get a direct hit from a typhoon?" After the Great East Japan Earthquake, I see more people who are unable to relax, afraid of when the next major natural disaster will hit, or who cannot sleep at night without first making preparations to evacuate. For these people, the repeated typhoons are their fears realized, and with the many unpredicted natural disasters this year like mudslides and sudden tornadoes, many people are anxious about "what will come next." Though I reassure them, "It'll be OK. Just stay inside," I myself get uneasy thinking that there could indeed be some unexpected disaster.

Furthermore, there are people who complain of symptoms tied to the changes in air pressure associated with approaching typhoons. These symptoms include headaches, stiff shoulders, blood pressure changes and worsening depression. There are a variety of opinions on the connection between weather and health, but listening to my patients, I feel I can say there are indeed people with bodies sensitive to changes in air pressure and humidity. According to these people, the times when symptoms are worst are when the weather changes suddenly, such as with typhoons.

Despite these problems, I think that typhoons and heavy rains have also brought a good thing in increased society vigilance against natural disasters. Companies and factories that used to not let their employees stay home "just because of a little rain and wind" are now having employees wait at home or encouraging them to head home early when typhoons are predicted. Similarly, schools are being quicker to make the decision to close when typhoons are approaching. The mistaken idea that rough weather can be overcome just by having mental toughness is finally disappearing.

However, outside of the realm of natural disasters, people continue to push that idea. There is an endless amount of people seeking psychiatric help after being driven to the edge at school or work by the idea that they can "do anything if they just try" or can "work more if they just have the will." There are cases where even a prescription from a doctor for a two-month rest will be rejected by a patient's boss.
 とはいえ、台風や地震など以外では、まだまだこの精神論を振りかざす人がいる。学校や職場で「頑張れば何でもできる」「気合があればもっと働ける」などと追い込まれ、ボロボロになって診察室に駆け込む人は後を絶たない。「うつ病で2カ月の自宅療養が必要」という診断書を書いても、「経営者に見せたら『長期の休み? とんでもない』と一蹴された」というようなケースも実際にあるのだ。

Timely precautions and careful responses are needed to deal with typhoons, and mentally toughing it out will not allow one to win over a natural disaster. Though these ideas are spreading, I wonder whether there will also be a spread of the idea that timely precaution is needed against overwork, and that we mustn't force the idea that mental toughness always prevails.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2013年10月29日 地方版


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