“On the way to the store, I had a flat tire. I thought this was planned also. At the petrol pump, the man smiled at me with twinkle’s in their eyes and I knew they were closing in. I was done for. They would kill me. Suddenly I saw their faces in the skies…”
I developed a feeling that I smelled bad and that somewhere I had left a tap open and consequently would be responsible for destroying a building, and that if I accidentally struck a match, I would cause mass destruction and kill many people. I was suspicious about everyone…
At first, I strained to hear the voices. They were soft and working in the form of a code. I broke the code after a long struggle. Then I could distinctly hear four voices. “The rotten prostitute…” said one. “The Gods will not leave her…” said the second. “I think you should kill yourself and spare God the trouble…” said the third one addressing directly to me…
We at Shraddha believe that by bringing together this information into a form of publication, we are dispelling various doubts, misconceptions and ill-conceived notion that often exist in the minds of people, and thus are contributing in our own small way to reducing the stigma that surrounds mental illness. We sincerely hope that our endeavors will be appreciated.
A personal account of a patient
Haresh, a BCom. graduate, is afflicted with schizophrenia and made redundant because of the same. Four years of illness pass by. He is brought to the nursing home for treatment. Two months of in hospital treatment, comprising of high dose injectable anti–psychotics and a course of 6 ECTs sees him stable to a great extent.
The patient’s father is explained the nature of rehabilitation, and the patient is given a job as a helper in one of his father’s associate’s office. The patient is paid Rs.40 at the end of every day, though his work is poor in quality, erratic and only part–time.
The entire payment, without Haresh’s knowledge, is in actual reality reimbursed by the father to the employer, so that Haresh is at no point of time a financial strain to the employer. Three months of this process sees Haresh a definitely more positive and changed person. However, severe tremulousness and restlessness caused by the medicines at this stage necessitate a change of medication.
A change in employer, another known associate of the father, is opted for and accounting work with more responsibility is given to Haresh. A salary of INR 1500 per month, is appropriated to Haresh. Of this, without the patients’ knowledge his father reimbursed INR 1000 per month to the employer. Within 6 months, Haresh becomes his original self, brimming with confidence and raring to go into the outer world and take a job of his choice. After a few applications, he gets a job as a supervisor in a chemical factory with a salary of INR 2200 per month. This job is without his father’s recommendations, and the payment is totally genuine, dependent upon his qualifications and work potential. It is 6 months since Haresh started working there and according to this employer, he is honest, upright, straight forward and very hard working.
A personal account of a patient
Suresh, a BE. in Civil Engineering and working as a Junior Engineer is afflicted with schizophrenia and loses his job. He loses both his parents and psychosis further overpowers her. He is wandering on the streets for a period of 3 years. Social workers of a rehabilitation organization pick him up and institutionalize him in their nursing home.
Two months of active anti–psychotic treatment rid him of his psychosis and bring him back to the world of the present. But being out of touch for nearly 3 years, he cannot pick up the threads of his life so easily.
He is initially employed in a job requiring simple skills in the nursing home viz. superficial cleaning and arranging of the beds etc. Once he gains some confidence, he is employed as a receptionist in the same nursing home. This enhanced his self image, increased his social interactions, and boosted his ego.
Thereafter, he was assigned jobs which involved enhanced social functioning such as banking, getting medicines and co–ordinating various activities of the nursing home. Six months later he had improved to the point wherein he was ready to meet the challenges of the outer world.
A meeting with his boss and an on the spot technical interview to assess his caliber ensures him his reinstatement to his original job, both on humanitarian grounds as well as on merit.
Nine months of this job sees him more confident, self–sufficient and able to handle day to day pressures of life. But nonetheless, he felt frustrated because of lack of job satisfaction and non usage of his optimum creative potential and ultimately resigns from his job to enter the teaching profession. He joins Bright Academy as a regular full time tutor and is now a permanent employee of the same Academy for the last 6 months.
In the above case of Suresh, the overall process of rehabilitation from the time of initiation of treatment to the current status involved a period of two years but saw Suresh in a state of fulfillment and at psychological peace with himself, though still on maintenance medication.
The patients themselves
List of patients who were treated at the Shraddha Nursing Home. Some of these patients have shown remarkable improvement. Some names have been changed to protect identities.
Anand hails from a village in Uttar Pradesh and was with the Shraddha Nursing Home for a period of three months, before being united by his family.
Gokhale was found wandering on the streets of Sion. When he was picked up by the people at Shraddha Nursing Home, it was discovered that he was formerly a chartered accountant. Gokhale has been working and helping at the Home for the past eight years and also gives tution in his spare time.
S Phadke was a Civil Engineer working with BMI. He lost both his parents to cancer and when his schizeophrenia started getting out of control his wife left him taking their ten-year-old daughter with him. Phadke has been with the home for over a year now, which also helped him get his old job back. Since, he hasn't been able to put in the same inputs at work as he could previously, he gave up his job voluntarily. He now helps around the home and gives tution to children.
Ramesh hails from Malad in Mumbai, where he was found wandering the streets. He now works as a ward boy at the Home.
Lucy was found wandering the streets of Powai. A watchman in one of the building started noticing her very frequently and worried that something might happen to her, told the authorities at the Shraddha Nurshing Home about her. She was taken in and soon reunited with her parents.
Deulu was found wandering the streets. When she was taken in, authorities at the Home didn’t know anything about her. One day someone happened to see a brief mention of a village which Deulu claimed she hailed from. She was taken there and reunited with her family later.
Barauni hails from Uttar Pradesh and was missing for the past three years. His father owned a tea stall. When he was taken in and his memory grew stronger, he began to recollect where he lived, which made it possible for social workers to reunite him with his father.
Vani was taken off the streets and into the Home. Later, she was escorted to her native village with two volunteers, where she was reunited with her family.