This is a story that shows life can be hard on some people in what it has to offer for them in their path. Meet Roshni, a young woman working for a corporate and here she talks on many things that have affected her including having a mum who has schizophrenia.
A troubled childhood with a mum who has battled mental illness, a dad who soon left after Roshni was born and not been in touch with her ever again to living through it as a daughter through school and college times, Roshni shares her story.
A glint of hope and a cloud of happiness had come in her life when she got married. Both of them lived their life with many dreams and travelled to destinations unexplored. In one such holiday, early this year, Roshni lost her husband to death in an unfortunate accident.
Roshni was brought up by her grandmother and others who took charge to take of the young child. This is a story where we hope you share and more importantly comment to send out a positive message for this spirited woman. We are hopeful each one of your messages and likes and good wishes will bring the best again in Roshni’s life.
“ If one were to ask me to introduce myself, I would say, I am a survivor. Frankly, my earliest memories are taking bath in cold water in Madikeri (as my mother had taken me away with her for a couple of days without informing at home), then again being taken away in a train by my mother to Gujarat (she hadn’t informed anyone at home and we were found later and brought back) and wandering randomly and found again. I have always been with my mother mostly in my childhood.
My memories with my grandmother began in 7th standard. She was more like a friend to me. I would confide many things in her, discuss with her. She never forces anything on me even now. She tried to send me to different extracurricular classes, made me learn to type, got me a computer, made me learn driving. She has always been protecting me and supporting me, trusting my decisions and never questioning me.
She was very patient with my mother and me. Now old age has gotten the better of her and she has also had enough. It’s difficult to just live in this household every day for each one of us and we are all fighting different battles – my grandparents are old, my mother has schizophrenia and I now am fighting grief.
I am trying my best but it’s harder to have patience now. I get annoyed when people fight over silly things. It’s harder for me to cope here now. It has always been difficult and I was very fortunate to have had a husband who was ready to stay in this house many times in spite of what he had to endure. I thought he was my balance for everything and I was always grateful to him for what he gave me – he taught me how to live life – do things I love and enjoy. He opened my eyes to new things and perspectives.
While growing up, I was in a girls’ school right from the beginning where everyone knew about my mother. Nobody commented or made fun of me. In fact, everyone was supportive and understanding. My mother used to come almost every day to school and talk to teachers/students. Each day was different.
She would pluck flowers in the garden and talk aloud in the chapel but everyone was patient with her and forgave her. Some days she was sweet and some days she would shout at the top of her voice. But nobody said anything. I have been extremely lucky to have such amazing teachers and students (seniors, juniors and my batch mates). Not once in those 11 years has a single person hurt me about my mother.
My relationship with my mother has been different in different phases of my life. When I was a kid who knew nothing, I was fully under her cover. I was so obedient and never did anything she didn’t want me to. During my primary school days, I realized certain things that she was doing wrong and slowly started questioning her and going against her.
During this time, I was told that I have to be understanding and be a bigger person due to her mental illness and give her a huge margin. My childhood was restricted and I haven’t done so many things that a normal child would do. I would love going to school as that was my window for normalcy. I never fancied holidays until I met my sweetheart who introduced me to different things in life.
I think my craving for travel was mainly because I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere as my mother never left me from her eyesight. She wouldn’t go anywhere and never allowed me to go with other family members. She was the most loving person and took good care of me. She was overly protective and went out of the way to take care of me. But she had her ups and downs.
I learnt to respond to her based on her moods keeping my feelings aside. If she was in a good mood, I would respond in a good manner irrespective of how I felt. If she had done something wrong, I would tell her sweetly. If she was in an angry mood, where she wouldn’t listen, I had to shout at her and make her do the right thing. Yes, sometimes, my emotions get the better of me and I am shouting at her even when she doesn’t need it.
Today I feel I have been like a ‘mother to my mother’. When I was younger, I was made to believe that she’s going to be fine some day. I truly lived in that hope. Now, when I have read about schizophrenia, I know it’s a life long battle which can only be controlled with medicines. It’s difficult to even give her medicines.
I think I was better off as a child when I hardly had any questions. Again, mainly because I was protected in my school. When I reached college, it got harder. There were lecturers who scolded me because my mother came to the classroom. I think students were more sensible and didn’t say anything to me.
I learnt to not disclose my engineering college address and my office location later. She would still come to the engineering college but not to class as it was huge. There were strict rules on who could enter the premises and this made it easier for me to be normal in college. I have always craved for normalcy which I am now learning to let go and accept life as it is. I think I am sane only because of my friends who have been with me through all phases of my life.
I have more questions now after my sweetheart passed away than I had before. I always believed life was balanced. I scored high marks in my studies because my mother was like this. I was given financial stability because my father left us. I have even felt that I am better off without my father who didn’t create added trouble in the household and just left! I always equated bad with the good.
Now my balance is shaken. I can’t find anything that outweighs my sweetheart’s loss. I am still grateful for what I have – my friends, my dog and all the support I am fortunate to have in spite of being a widow. My aim is to live a life like my sweetheart – not being affected by petty things, not wasting time on unnecessary obligations and doing what matters.
I have been really lucky to have had the opportunity, financial stability and a perfect partner with equal interest to travel. Not everybody is privileged or interested in the same things. These days, “travel”, “do what you love”, etc are messages widely being spread. I would say follow your passion or dream but also keep in mind the limitations and circumstances you are in.
Not everybody can give up their job for pursuing something they want to. Get inspired and do what you can. If you don’t know what you want in life, it’s ok. Aim for being a better you in whatever you do.
For the places to visit, step out of your home, take a walk in the neighbourhood and talk to a stranger. That is the place one must go definitely in their life time. You get a whole new perspective if you are observant in your own neighbourhood. Let go of your fear of being judged; after all, you may not meet them ever again or you may find a new friendship. “
Continuing her passion for travelling Roshini shares, “ I don’t know if it has been a healing factor, but it has definitely helped me feel what I have inside without the external distractions and irritations. Travelling helps me be myself and experience my sorrow and pain and acknowledge my true feelings. It helps me think clearly.
I have met strangers who have opened up to me about their difficulties and I know I am not alone in this pain. They are inspiring in how they deal with their problems and how positive their outlook is towards life.
I know that everyone is facing their own challenges. Only when you talk openly about them, you help each other and inspire others. I believe this is the way to go rather than shunning away pain and aiming for happiness, advising people to move on.
It’s always better to deal with your emotions head on rather than distracting yourself and pushing it in. If you are sad, cry; if you are happy, smile. Don’t be judgmental about how you feel. Understand why you feel the way you do, and you will definitely be better off.
While growing up, we have all been taught to not cry and aim for happiness. Our first response to someone who is crying is to say “Don’t cry”. I believe we should be taught to acknowledge that we are sad, understand the root cause and try to fix it if possible. I am not saying its ok to cry all day and do nothing else.
Accept your feelings and acknowledge the pain others are going through. Give solutions only if they really need them; else just be there for the person. We have a great need to advise people and I think we should learn to understand more and acknowledge more.”
Roshni has a word of advice for parents who have kids who are mentally challenged. “
The most important thing I would say is not to get the children married and if they are mentally challenged and definitely encourage them not have kids. Unless of course, they find someone who loves them for who they truly are. I don’t know if it’s possible to make them independent.
But I feel the whole family should be equally responsible for the affected kid and it shouldn’t be just one person taking care of the kid. I understand it may not be possible for most people but it’s just like how both father and mother should be present for a normal child; both of them or all people in the family should give time for the child. This will eliminate the dependency on a single person.
Also, accept that they have a problem and be open to treating it -it’s ok. Don’t get affected by what the society thinks. People who talk randomly will definitely not understand your pain and will not help. Finally, it’s you who has to take care of your child. We should be more open to accepting mentally affected people in this world. Not everyone is the same. It’s so easy to feel sorry for someone going through a physical disease but it is still a taboo to talk about mental illness.”