September 03, 2004

Relationships and schizophrenia

These days, I have been ringing up my mother almost daily after she had an operation to mend a broken femur after a fall. She is bedridden again because she had broken the other femur just three months ago. My father and an old domestic help attend to her needs. My mother's niece and her husband take care of her too. My parents stay in a distant town. The conversations with my mother drain me. I feel so sorry for her but I cant help feeling the surging anger when she related the well-being of a niece who 'was now no longer abnormal'. I reminded her gently that the niece was never abnormal. She only withdrew into silences or spoke from her heart her feelings or unpleasant truths which made others uncomfortable. But then my mother persists that people who are afflicted with mental illness are 'abnormal people'. By then I felt so enraged. I asked her to tell me as to why her son, my only brother behaves in a abnormal way when he is not mentally ill. The fiendish tactics to get what he wants, his frosty response to those who approach him for help and the chilling fact that he has never come to see her when she was unwell unless he is on buisness in the same town. My mother answers me by asking me whether I have had my dinner. By now, I am raging, a bubbling cauldron of anger and resentment. She is unwell, I tell myself so I bid her a goodnight calmly and then have trouble sleeping that night.
The next day when I ring up my mother, my brother is with them. He has come there on work. My father is abrupt and my mother proceeds to talk about how busy my brother is and so on. I have had enough so I cut her short and ask her if she has asked my brother the many unanswered questions related to specific, unpleasant incidents. She responds that she doesnot remember any of those incidents. I feel so outraged that I tell her that perhaps I may be an adopted child hence the disinterest towards my family. I spend yet another night restless, crying with guilt and sorrow, thinking how relationships change with the passage of time.
I grieve, because I want so much - my parents to help us, in this battle with this devastating illness. I want my father to show interest when I ring him up and tell him about my daughter not the peremptory, 'Hello Hello How are you? Here is your mother...'. I want to share everything about my daughter to my mother. I want my brother and his family to be kind and loving towards my daughter. But then, that may never be for all relationships in this life are so transient. I can only leave it to God, who ordains the inevitable course of events - some for which we grieve.
I dont think schizophrenia breaks up families. I think, schizophrenia draws out either the well-spring of goodness or the worst within us - the ones that live with or are related to the afflicted and this is what brings about changes in relationships within families.

Posted by survivor at September 3, 2004 02:53 AM


Dear Mother and Survivor,

I'm so sorry for your struggles with your family. I understand your words of sorrow and anger.


Posted by: Moeder at September 12, 2004 08:22 PM

I also share your words of sorrow and anger. It is very difficult to make other people understand about it even ur near & never get dishearten.

Posted by: nick at September 14, 2004 10:06 PM

I do understand how alone you might feel. But as I suffer from schizo myself I felt so alone because noone would help me in my family they would only criticise me. I come from Greece so anything like that is an embaressment.
God Bless

Posted by: Penny at September 21, 2004 05:05 PM

It was good to read your articles. My son is a schizophrenic. With medication he was able to complete his graduation but he hasn't started working. I too wish people would treat him like they do everyone else. Most of the time I find they avoid talking to him because they don't know what to say and this makes me sad. I can't discuss him with my mother because she doesn't understand and says the wrong things and I feel badly hurt. But I don't blame her, she's a good person and the disease is strange to her. Please do write to me if you can.
thank you.

Posted by: meera nair at June 30, 2005 01:02 PM

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