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Dealing with schizophrenia in a loved one can be so heartbreaking – it makes one question everything about one’s relationship with them. A personal account.
“Oh God, why so much traffic?” Because we live in a metro and it’s Friday evening!
Though I love my city and I would not stay anywhere else, there are a few unwanted things here – and one of them is traffic. I have always defended the city when my friends who have left it to go elsewhere said unsavoury things about it. But my love for this city is far beyond the difficulties we face at times.
Today, I have to reach home from work ASAP, pack an overnighter, get my daughter ready, and leave for Mom’s place. We will be spending a night there. But the traffic…
Anyway, since the morning, I have thought about cancelling the plan almost 20 times. Not because I don’t want to meet my parents. I love them, and I love to spend time with them but somehow, I don’t feel comfortable staying overnight in that home anymore. It’s weird, kind of strange, because I see and hear women talking about staying over at mom’s place as a usual thing. I have seen my sisters in law do that so often, but for some odd reason it’s not the same for me.
I feel strange sleeping in one of the beds there, or taking bath in that same old bathroom which I used for almost 20 years of my life. 9 years of marriage has changed it all; nothing seems to be my own. It feels like a strange place now. The discomfort I feel there and the comfort I feel in my house (post marriage) are poles apart.
I never mention this to anyone, because it sounds so weird to my own ears! I just can’t put a finger on what exactly it is, but it’s just plain uncomfortable — or may be inconvenient is the word. Nevertheless, tonight I was going to be there, and some part of me is looking forward to it despite the discomfort factor.
So, I reach home, later than I expected, and now my daughter doesn’t want to go and stay at Nani’s place for reasons well known only to her. Inside, I am happy that may be I can go there alone and spend time with them without worrying about her food and change and sleep, if only my husband agrees to look after her tonight, but alas! he did not agree.
So, now I start convincing my daughter that it’s a good idea to go and stay at Nani’s house while I myself am not fully convinced of this idea. Nevertheless, the plan has been made, they are waiting, my husband is looking forward to his time alone, so I make up my mind — it takes me a few bribes to help her make up her mind as well, and we leave.
We, all four of us, my mom, dad, daughter and myself, had a hearty chat and a delicious meal. I relished seeing my daughter bonding with my parents, one of the best feelings in the world. Everything seems perfect, finally we retire to our respective rooms and sleep with a smiling heart.
But the next day is not the same. It turns out to be a silent day. Mom is in her ‘silent’ mode. She won’t get up from her bed, she won’t offer me anything to eat or even discuss options for breakfast, she just lay on her bed and stayed silent. I wish my Dad was home today. I wish I had planned to stay over on a Saturday night because Dad is home on Sunday. But it can’t be changed now.
I sit there and watch my Mom, for whom I did not exist that day. As if she couldn’t even see me or my daughter. I am frustrated, heartbroken, and the level of discomfort suddenly goes up multiple times. I can’t do anything to make her lively or at the very least, normal. And I think of the earlier times.
It was this eerie silence which made me go out of house every day. I just wouldn’t stay at home no matter what. I would go far to meet my friends. I would make plans with anyone and everyone, and just not be home. Some of those so-called friends, I don’t even have them on my facebook list now. But at that time, they were so very important, they were my salvation, my rescue. I would feel alive and normal with them. Any activity was a good idea, a movie, a visit to the mall, a lunch, a friend’s place or college or simply anything and anywhere. The idea was to be out of home, that’s it. I would seek for any available escape.
There is no escape today and I am not seeking one either. We finally go to sleep, all 3 of us, for a couple of hours in the afternoon, and when we wake up, it’s time for Dad to be home. It makes me feel good. All my frustrations are gone as he is around. He acknowledges that my daughter and I are there, and gives us our due share of time and love and attention, and we chat till late in the night. I feel alive, the house feels alive. I am glad I stayed back for the second night, despite the discomfort. I can’t even remember when I had stay there last for two nights. Had I left in the afternoon, I would have killed someone or would have cried all through the weekend, making everyone feel miserable including my daughter and husband.
Tonight again, Mom, my daughter, and I sleep in the same room and there comes that creepy silence again. Mom is there but still not there with us. She doesn’t utter a word, at least not to us. She is lost in her own thoughts. It makes no sense but there can’t be any sense when there is Schizophrenia. It takes away all the reasoning and the rationale, it takes away all things beautiful and nice, it takes away the life out of our lives and you can only stare blankly into it, always trying to make some sense out of nothing but failing again and again both in understanding it and coping with it.
Image source: shutterstock
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