A Mother in India: June 2004 Archives

June 15, 2004

My daughter's birthday

My daughter's birthday was a week ago. She is now twenty nine years old. I took her to some places where she wanted to go. She seemed happy. As always she picked up some gifts for her brother and her friends. Her brother who is five years younger to her and who works in another city rang her up to wish her and spoke to her for a long time. She felt happy and I felt so happy too. He normally does not talk to her for a long time but he did that day. He seems to love the work he does for he gets so involved that he sometimes forgets to eat his meals and sleep at a regular time. I worry about him. I know that he is learning to live with his sister's illness in his own way. I can understand for I see it in his eyes when we talk about my daughter whenever he asks about her. It has taken over eight years for him to reach this stage when he can ask about his sister, the illness and the medications.

On her birthday, my daughter was happy till the evening and then she felt the familiar feeling of sadness rising like a mist from within her. After she took her evening medication most of it dispelled. She remarked later that although it had been a happy day it was strange that sadness made its presence felt. I think schizophrenia was reminding us that it too was around.

I had talked to a girl from a leading newspaper in the last week of May. When I rang her up again she said she had not been well so she had been away. She asked for more information which I gave it to her.

I am leaving tomorrow for a place in the Himalayas for a spiritual retreat. My husband has taken leave so that he can be with my daughter. I will be away for some time. I have always been wanting to go there for a long time and hopefully if all goes well I will be there tomorrow at this time.

Thank you for your comments
Dear Barb,
I am sorry to hear about your brother but then he is fortunate to have an understanding sister and your mother a supportive daughter. My prayers are with you, your mother and brother.

Dear Nick,
I hope all is well. Thank you for responding.

Dear Moeder,
The present medications seem to be suiting my daughter. Quetiapine helps her to sleep well and her concentration has improved. However she is still on Haldol too. I can only pray that this dosage helps her for a long long time. I am so happy to hear that Cassie is also better.
Dear mother you are so right about this grief which overwhelms us. It never goes away. It lingers somewhere deep within. Sometimes I am able to transcend it. I wish NAMI was active here too. Currently there are no organisations in Delhi, which are making an effort to create awareness about mental illness. My prayers are always with you, Cassie and your family.

Dear Ruby,
Yes we share a similar pain and have been through a journey which only we can understand. I hope your son is better now. My prayers are with you.

Posted by survivor at 08:40 PM | Comments (2)

June 04, 2004

In the silence of the night.

Five days ago, when my daughter went to her p-doc, he reduced the dose of Haloperidol which had been increased to 5 mg from 2.5 mg three months ago.
However he did not reduce the dosage of Quetiapine which had been increased to 700 mgs from 600 mg. Yesterday my daughter felt manic. She told me that the thoughts were rapidly coming and she couldn't sleep. Late in the night after she took Ativan she slept. Today she felt very tired but she could work in the evening. She said she could concentrate for a short while. She has gone to sleep and in the silence of the night I have time to think of so many events which happened last fortnight.

Last week on May 24, its the Schizophrenia Awareness day, so I ring up a leading newspaper in India. A few days before, a young girl has taken her life because the SMS on her mobile mistakenly stated that she has failed in her Class Twelve, All India Board Examinations when she had actually passed. I was able to speak to a newspaper reporter. I tell her that perhaps if there had been more awareness about factors leading to suicide and its prevention, a young life could have been saved. I also tell her about how this site brought three families battling schizophrenia together and ask her as to why families struggling with mental illness cannot come together and support each other with the help of the Indian media. She writes about 'ordinary people who do extraordinary things'in the Sunday Edition. She asks me to write something and send it. I urge her to meet me. She agrees. We meet and I tell her so many things... especially about how more awareness of mental illness in the media would really help in people seeking help early, and then there wouldn't be so much of disability. I urge them to start a column on mental health issues so that fear and stigma related to mental illnesses is reduced. She responds with empathy. Later I send her the URLs of sites which have helped us. I now await the outcome of my first foray in advocacy.

Today, an elderly man who works in my husband's office meets him and tells him that his son has schizophrenia and his three daughters are all doctors. He is not aware of what medication his son is taking. He also talks about another family who has a boy with this illness. My husband knows the family. In the past few months we are increasingly becoming aware of more and more families in the Indian Air Force struggling with this illness. Each family waging a lonely battle in an island of pain, suffering, torment and isolation. As the father gets transferred from one city to another, very few affected families move homes. In most of the families, the mother stays in one city, takes care of the family member suffering from schizophrenia as well as the rest of the family while the father works in another. We are one of the few who have moved five homes in the eight years of living with this illness. There are presently no support systems for families combating mental illnesses in the Indian Air Force. How I wish that all such families could meet and support each other.

Thank you for your comments.
Dear Puzli,
I pondered over your words which I interpreted in many ways. As the years roll by and my father refusing to see my daughter I find it so hard within me to forgive or understand him. However I shall interpret I Ching in the best way to give me solace. May God be with you. With lots of love.

Dear Moeder,
Thank you for sharing your feelings with me. It gives me some kind of comfort knowing that I am not alone dealing with so many issues relating to my daughter's illness. I am also sorry to hear about your family's denial. I can understand the anger. I feel it too. It was so good that you could nestle in the cocoon of warmth your mother gave you. Dear Mother as always my prayers are with you, Cassie and your family.

Posted by survivor at 02:23 PM | Comments (4)