August 16, 2004

My daughter's employer

My daughter works mostly from home. Occasionally she goes to her place of work where she clarifies doubts regarding her work or when there is there is no access to the internet either due to the telephone not working or when there is no electrical power. Initially her employer did not know about her illness. He used to chide her when she made any errors in her work like he did the others. One day my daughter almost dropped some tea on his notepad - somedays she finds it difficult to hold on to cups, books...they slip off from her fingers. Her employer berated her angrily. She was so distraught that it took some days for her to feel 'normal' again. She said she knew that her employer was responding normally but what could she do for she had become acutely sensitive to a critical remark even when she deserved it.
I found it agonizing to stand by and watch her go through the despondency, the withdrawal, hear her speak out the old fears and recriminations...till they petered out and she was back to being normal again. It took me a couple of days before I decided that I had to tell him. I had to take that risk whatever be the outcome. I went and spoke to him. I was taken aback when he responded with understanding. He didn't flinch when the illness was mentioned. I saw then within him, a glimpse of a vast ocean of compassion and kindness. This was what I had always been yearning from our families and I discovered it elsewhere.
After that conversation that day, he has been gentle though firm with my daughter. I spoke to him for over an hour that day. I dont think it had to do with the way I spoke, for I have been speaking in the same way to my parents and my husband's family. He has an innate understanding. My daughter says he helps many of his students. He has assuaged partly-the sorrow, which I often feel when I think about the lack of support from our families. I will always feel immense gratitude towards him.
Today, I impulsively rang up my one of my sister's-in-law who lives in a distant town. We exchanged news. Although she was keen for me to send some reading material regarding this illness, I felt the old feeling of frustration when she asked me, if the p-doc we were consulting was a competent one and she also went on to say that there were hardly any such cases in the city where she was staying. Why is it I wonder we continue to seek solace from the ones that cannot understand or give ?

Thank you for your comments
Dear Moeder,
Thank you for sharing the moving story of Garrett Lee of Oregon. His loving parents have transcended the sorrow of losing their son to do something for other children who suffer. Not many in power will have the courage to take such a bold step. I wish one of the ministers from the new cabinet in the Indian government, who is in charge of an important portifolio would read about it and do something. This minister's daughter-in law and a few months later his daughter committed suicide. They were both being treated for depression. The newspapers write sporadically, about the great tragedy and the suffering he underwent but I often wonder about his wife who is little seen or written about.
My prayers are with you dear mother.

Posted by survivor at August 16, 2004 02:57 AM


Dear Mother,

How wonderful your daughter is able to work and that you were able to speak with her employer about her illness and it was received with understanding. I hope your daughter�s employer will continue to respond to your daughter with extra understanding, compassion and sensitivity as to her disability. He sounds like a good human being.

Yes, it is sad when some of our family members can�t or have no desire to understand what it really means to have a mental illness. I too find it infuriating. I�m presently reading a book titled �The Day the Voices Stopped a Memoir of Madness and Hope� by Ken Steele and Claire Berman. The story is about Ken Steele and his fight and struggles with schizophrenia. The book also describes Mr. Steele�s relationship with his parents. I�m sorry to say his parents had absolutely no idea the degree their son was suffering and offered no compassion. Of course the time Mr. Steele is writing of is during the 1950�s and early 1960�s. It was a time when schizophrenia was blamed on poor parenting. The parents felt they had been good parents and couldn�t understand how their son had become so ill. In all fairness to the parents, I can only imagine the guilt and fear they must have felt seeing their son so delusional and psychotic.


Posted by: Moeder at August 26, 2004 08:04 PM

Post a comment

Please enter this code to enable your comment -
Remember Me?