For Sulekha Shah (name changed) seeing dead bodies has been a reckless nightmare. She can’t bear to see any corpse simply because she feels it is gross. So gradually since the past two years, she has stopped stepping out of her house.
“If she happens to see a dead body pass by, she will immediately have a bath and only then does she think that she is ‘clean’. Likewise, if she dries her clothes and sees a crow pass by, she washes them all over again. She repeatedly asks her guests if they’re on their menstrual cycle and if yes, she doesn’t let them enter inside her house,” said Dr Sagar Karia, psychiatrist at Human Touch Multispecialty Clinic in Mulund who is currently treating the patient.
Doctors in Mumbai say this bizarre obsession is ‘one-off’ case they have heard about and medications are the only way out of it.
“I’ve not seen such a case personally. But I think medications can cure the person,” said Dr Kersi Chavda, a consultant psychiatrist from PD Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Centre.
Dr Karia himself admits that this is the first time that he has seen such a case. “Of course one can be obsessed over anything. But in her case, it all got triggered after she saw a dead body in her neighbourhood about 2 years ago. Since then, she has to bathe at least 3 to 4 times a day if she steps out of the house, what’s even worse is that she has stopped going out of her house. She came to me last week, and ever since I have put her on medications.”