Family plays a crucial role


Before I was diagnosed and hospitalised for Bipolar, the symptoms had already surfaced. I’ve come to learn that typically cases go undetected for long periods, sometimes years before diagnosis. In my case even our family physician failed to spot anything radically amiss. My sister (I was single at that time) observes signs that many miss and insisted we consult a Psychiatrist. I was the  last person to heed her reasoning in that manic state of mind!

A friend of ours at last cajoled me to see a reputed psychologist at Jaslok Hospital, Mumbai. I almost had to be dragged there! One minute is all she took. She said ‘You have brought him to the wrong person, he needs Psychiatric help, immediately’

Resourcefully, without letting panic get the better of her, my sister somehow got the phone number of a reputed Psychiatrist based in the Western Suburbs. Right away, she fixed up an appointment for the same day. I recall that the family was warned that I was in no condition to drive, hence we left our car behind and took a cab to the suburbs. I found the flurry of inputs and restrictions confounding.

I was in a peak manic state by the time we were ushered in by the Psychiatrist. When he asked me to describe my problem, I went on a reverie, an unrelated grandiose trail. I can now afford to look at the funny side of it now: I said to the Doc, look I have solved Bermuda Triangle mystery and I know what I am suffering from- Schizophrenia! (Yes, now I can afford to smile.)

All this while, during the journey, while waiting, I had been rambling non-stop. Exhausted now, I slumped on the Doctor’s table. Before I knew what was happening and could protest (not that any one would have heeded to it) I was hospitalised at Holy Spirit Hospital.

I  clearly remember sis putting her foot down when the nurses there wanted me to be admitted to the Psychiatric ward. On her insistence and assurance that she’d be there continuously by my side, I was admitted to the general ward.

The week I was in Hospital was a week of horror. Obviously due to my Manic state I had to be drugged heavily to bring me back to normalcy. The drugs and illness made life miserable. The phobias I had at that time were weird: I used to get up from sleep and be terrified that the bed was too high and I would fall of it. Believe me, my moods and tantrums did not allow her to get a wink of sleep during that week. Also, she had to manage our enterprise single handed amid all this chaos.

If she was upset or she cried during that week, it was never in front of me. Unbelievable woman. It is said God sends you help in various forms, it for us to acknowledge them.

Even subsequently, her protective, motherly instincts have made her keep a tab on my progress. Encouraging me for small things done well, correcting me when needed. She has been the link, the watchdog, between me and my Doctor all these years.

All this while, I was single. After my health stabilised I married a teacher. We have a pretty, creative eight year old daughter. My wife has done her very, very best to help when I need her. The initial years of marriage were a struggle for both of us to adjust, but adjust we did. I have made a determined effort in living a disciplined life that is most beneficial for my health and consequentially, our relationship. As for my wife, she has played a stellar part by accepting my illness (no mean feat) and our love for each other has formed a resilient bonding .

Happiness is shallow without it being shared with a dear one. Our love for each other is strong. Can’t imagine life without either of them. We live a vibrant life, share many passions and go on more vacations than probably most Indians do.

This bonding has been a HUGE factor in anchoring me, motivating me.

Look back into your life, acknowledge, appreciate and show gratitude to all the people who stood by you selflessly. Have you taken them for granted?  The journey would not have been possible without them.