A Mother in India: September 2004 Archives

September 15, 2004

My birthday

I turned forty nine on the third of September. I had planned to do a lot of things that morning - have an oil bath, browse in a book shop, get a pedicure and so on. However after the oil bath I fell asleep. I slept soundly till the evening. I was aware of my daughter peering in but she did not wake me up. In the evening a dear friend came home with her husband and gave me four cards and a painting as a gift. I felt so happy.
Later in the night we went to a pub in a mall. My daughter accompanied us. She normally does not go out in the nights. She wanted to come with us. At the pub, I was a little apprehensive because I thought that it would be stimulating - the loud music, the dark corners and the shadows on the walls.
However I enjoyed that night- the music, the tingling vodka, peach schnapps with Sprite, the Caesar salad, the banno kebabs and most of all - seeing my daughter sitting in front of me smiling. I felt blessed for it was after such a long time that she could come out late in the night without being troubled by the 'eyes staring at her' or the 'slowing of movements' which follows the evening medication.
There was a tinge of sorrow because my mother and father had not called me that day. Perhaps it was because I had responded to them angrily the previous night. I dont think I'll ever know the truth for whenever we meet it is more important for them to talk, not to listen or understand. However nothing could take away the joy I felt that evening. We came home late. My daughter had no trouble falling asleep and she was fine the next day.
I was nineteen years old when my daughter was born. She was an unusually beautiful baby. I was forty when schizophrenia entered our lives. What gave me pleasure then, no longer brings me joy now. And what I could never have imagined then, brings me happiness today.
Thank you for your comments
Dear Moeder,
It is so strange. You are oceans away, yet you understand so well my anger and sorrow. God be with you, dear mother.
Dear Nick,
I wonder why it is so difficult to make them understand. God must be having his own reasons. My prayers are with you and your wife.

Posted by survivor at 01:53 AM | Comments (4)

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 02:53 AM | Comments (4)