Four days ago my daughter asked me for an old quick-stitch kit which she had tried to work on over eight years ago before being diagnosed with this illness. I thought I had given it away as I did so many things which are associated with those events in my life which are best forgotten. I opened the suitcase reluctantly and found it nestling amongst knitting needles, embroidery threads and sewing paraphenalia. I kept quiet and I didn't give it to her. A day later she asked me again for the kit. I told her to take it if she wanted it. She did. The needle had rusted so she caught a bus and went to the nearest market to buy a new one. She has started working on it. She says it is soothing to stitch.
I feel a sense of gratitude to God when I see her beautiful face lit by the glow of the lamp as she bends over to sew the stitches which make a pattern.
Some memories are sometimes like snakes lying coiled in the deep recesses of the mind. It is best to let them lie. But seeing her sew now stirred those memories. When I got the kit then I thought it was one of the cures for mental illnesses. I did not know that there were medications for this illness. When I gave it to her and urged her to sew she could barely hold the needle. I remember being racked with bewilderment and turmoil being confronted with something so frightening and unknown. This illness still has the power to frighten and sadden me at times even now but I understand it much better now and feel a sense of bonding when I mingle with the ones who like me live with this illness everyday.
After not talking much during the spiritual retreat and getting back to the daily routine, it took some time to getting used to talking and listening. It also dawned on me that I used to talk a lot of inane things, so I decided to talk as little as possible. This has made me feel calm in the same surroundings which earlier used to put me in a state of tumult and later weariness because of the effort to put on a calm front.
However it is difficult to strike a balance on how much to speak and how much not to. I found that if I spoke very little it did cause misunderstandings. For instance, two days ago I was meditating during the time my daughter was having her dinner. Not wanting to disturb me, she took out and ate two bowls of spicy and roasted cooked vegetables which were not meant for her. I told her that she should have taken the other bowls which were cooked the previous day and meant for her. She said that I had only told her to take the bowls which were in the refrigerator and since all the bowls were in she ate the ones not knowing which was meant for her.
So many mundane things one has to talk to maintain peace in the home. And the irony - when one doesn't talk much, there is so much of peace within oneself. I hope God gives me the strength to strike this balance.
On July 4, in the Sunday edition of the Indian Express, New Delhi, there appeared an article on schizophrenia wherein this site was mentioned. I had approached one of the editors on May 24, and urged them to bring awareness about this illness in India. I had also told them about how this site had brought three families together. The article was well written with a good illustration of a hallucination which my daughter experiences during times of stress. My daughter's story was also published alongside. My daughter did not want her identity to be revealed so it was published under a fictitious name. Unfortunately the title was 'Little Jekyll, scared Hyde'. Next time, one must make it clear to the media that such words only propagate the myths of this illness being associated with a split personality.
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So good to hear that Cassie is doing well. How true when you say that we have no power to control most events which sometimes play havoc in our daughters' lives. We can only pray. Cassie is blessed to have a mother like you. My prayers are with you and your family, dear mother.
I got back on the first midnight. I was away for over two weeks and it was so different. It was for the first time that I was going for a spiritual sojourn. It was also the first time that I was doing something like this for myself.
I went to a place in the Himalayas where the holy river Ganges flows. I sat for long periods on the banks of the Ganges, contemplating, meditating and sometimes just drinking in the beauty of the river and the mountains. I bathed in the cold water of the river and floated holding on to the supports otherwise I would have drifted of to another place ... the currents were so strong. I also spoke to learned men in ochre robes who had studied the age old scriptures. They seemed timeless, so thin but their faces glowed though they may have been in their seventies. I asked them so many questions which no elders in our families could answer. They answered all my questions and what they said was so thought provoking. I also talked for a long time to a Christian nun who had come to learn yoga.They all did talk about the power of love, compassion and prayer so I prayed by the banks of the river.
The place where I stayed held Yoga classes on the banks of the Ganges and I went for them. My routine had changed and I spent a lot of time out doors. I had to walk a lot and after the plains I was breathless most of the time. My body ached at the end of the day and there was no time to think or worry just fall asleep! I rang home each night and spoke to my husband and daughter. It was a different kind of a holiday for my husband too.
After I got back I realised that what I had spoken in two days I hadn't spoken in a fortnight. So there was a lot of quietude. I miss the river and the mountains but then I hope the path of life which I traverse in will lead me to those mighty mountains and the Ganges again.
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Thank you for your response. My best wishes and prayers are with you and your family.
I am sure that Mia and Manya will in time understand Cathy. It does takes time dealing with one's own emotions and understanding this illness especially when a loved one has it. My daughter has not been having episodes of sadness for some time. Thank you for telling me about the adjustment of the dosage of the anti-depressant. Yes the Himalayas are amazing. Why dont you come and see them? You must. Dear mother my prayers are with you, Cathy and your family.