Tag Archives: mental illness

Young and heavily laden

Life ain't always beautiful

This past Sunday after mass, instead of going back home I passed by the salon to get my hair done. I found my hairdresser fixing another lady’s hair so I even had time to go to a fast food restaurant for a quick lunch. By the time she started doing my hair it was already getting late. Mom called to ask where I was and later she came so we could go home together. She showed up with a neighbour’s baby, who is only nine months old.

Minutes later, a lady, who I assumed was the hairdresser’s acquaintance-based on how free they seemed with each other-passed by to wish her a good evening. When she saw the baby, she gleefully said she had twins of the same age.

Mom asked her how old her babies were and she said they were slightly over a year. Mom then told her the little girl was only nine months old. The lady nodded understandingly. “She’s younger than mine,” she said.

“It’s not so hard raising twins especially if one has someone to help,” mom said comfortingly. Again, I believe she said this because the lady seemed so young.

“I don’t have a nanny,” she said, seeming completely unperturbed.

“So who did you leave them with?” Mom asked, sounding a bit surprised.

“One is asleep and their older sister is taking care of the other.” The lady looked so young; it was hard to imagine her with an older kid. I’m assuming it’s because of her physical appearance that mom asked her how old her eldest child was and she said she was seven. The lady went on to say she had gone to buy food and needed to get back home soon. “I didn’t feel like going out today, but I had to because if I didn’t my children would suffer as I’m the sole breadwinner.”

“Don’t feel discouraged, babies are a blessing,” mom told her reassuringly.

“I consider them a blessing. It was hard after their dad got locked up but I still think of them as a blessing.”

“Why was he locked up?”

“He wasn’t even guilty of the offense they accused him off,” she explained nonchalantly. “He was arrested for illegal logging and since he could not afford the bail, he was sentenced to six months behind bars. When I went to see him some officer told me to sleep with him in exchange for his release but I refused. I wasn’t going to compromise my dignity for his freedom.”

“Couldn’t his boss bail him out?” Mom asked.

“The licence is too expensive. Since his boss knew that he just hid, letting him take the fall.”

That’s just so unfair. I thought. His boss let him take the blame when he was perfectly aware he was innocent. “You know, women are so bad,” she continued, a far off look in her eyes, as if in retrospect.

“Why do you say that?” Mom asked.

“They keep asking me how I can go for this long without getting laid… if I don’t miss it. But I tell them I’m too busy fending for my kids to even think about it. When my husband comes out I’ll be here waiting.”

“You are a strong woman,” mom applauded her.

“Life has been so difficult, especially after he got arrested. When I was giving birth I temporarily lost my mind.”

“Did you check into a mental facility?” Mom asked, a concerned look on her face.

“No, by the time I left the hospital with my new-borns I had already recovered.”

I was only looking at her through the mirror, but I could clearly see she didn’t seem bogged down by all the misery she had been through. I even thought she was too calm for someone who had three kids, a partner in prison and struggling financially, and with some mental illness.

“How old are you?” Mom asked smiling. I think talking to that lady and listening to her poignant story had her awed, like I was.

“I’m twenty seven.”

“You’re so young,” mom said, completely taken aback. I was shocked too. “And you’ve gone through so much.” The smile on her face faded away, and in its place was a forlorn look. “But don’t worry, life is like that sometimes. We only need to persist. Problems were not meant to last, right?”

“Yeah, it could be overwhelming. But I have my God with me. So I know things will be ok.”

The lady’s attitude really impressed me. She had gone through so many difficulties, yet she still remained optimistic; managing to laugh, even when I thought life had dealt her tremendous blows.”

Her attitude inspired me. When we go through traumatizing situations we become so negative, but this lady wouldn’t let tough moments drag her down. She was resilient, willing to overcome whatever challenges that sprung up in her life, including a mental illness, which I deduced had been triggered by too much stress.

Accepting and loving the disabled

living with disabilities 3

Is a disabled person as important as a person who is not disabled? That’s an odd question, right? But I’ll tell you why I’m asking that. On the news there was this story about a young girl, suffering from a mental illness. They didn’t specify what kind of mental illness the girl suffers from, but from what I gathered, it could be pyromania (a mental illness that causes a strong desire to set fire to things).
Her parents took her to hospital and she was given medication that contains the illness. Regrettably, at some point, her brother hit her on the head and the illness came back stronger than before and since then it has been difficult treating it.

One day her mom went out and when she came back she found her daughter had set all her clothes on fire. Furious, she brutally dragged her to a secluded shed in the compound and tied her up, in an attempt to stop her from destroying more things.

Days later, the girl’s hands started rotting; I’m assuming her mom tightened the ropes so hard, thereby cutting off the blood circulation in her hands. When she was taken to hospital, the doctor said the only way they could save the girl’s life was to amputate her hands. As we speak, the girl who I judged was in her teenage hood is not just mentally impaired, but also physically.

In all sincerity, I respect all the parents whose children suffer from any form of disability; because they require so much love and attention than an average child. If the girl’s mother had been caring enough, she would have sought treatment for her daughter instead of locking her up so inhumanly.

Now the poor girl is physically disabled. That means even if she later gets her mental illness treated, she will need prosthetic arms. She has an extra disability, thanks to her mother. Judging by the fact that her own brother also aggravated her mental illness, one would assume the girl lives in a hostile environment.

If she was a ‘normal’ child, I bet her family would have loved her a little bit more than they do at the moment. That’s why I asked in the beginning if disabled people are as important as those without disabilities, because some people treat them like they have no right to be on this earth; like they don’t have feelings.

What we need to understand is that they did not choose to be disabled; because in all honesty, who would love to be born with a disability, when it makes one require so much attention from their families/caregivers? Who would willingly choose to be a burden to anyone?

Any disabled person needs to be showered with affection, not to be treated like they are lesser human beings. I find empathy a solution to many things. In high school we were taught about this golden rule: to treat others the way we would love to be treated. For instance, that woman tied her daughter up in a secluded shed, instead of trying to understand the girl’s situation was triggered by an overwhelming health condition; would she like to be treated the same way, to an extent of having her arms amputated?

The girl lost her arms. If she was a burden to her family before, now she will be a bigger burden. She will need people to take care of her, more than she did before. I’m thinking, she will need someone to always take her to the bathroom everytime she needs to go, until she can manage to do without her arms. That’s just unfair.

She already had one disability; she didn’t need anyone disabling her more. The mother should have been more understanding, and loving. Sometimes when I fall out with mom, I always wonder, if she can’t understand me and she is my mother, who will understand me then?

Mothers should love their children the most. What’s the point of going through agonizing hours of labour to bring a child into this world then end up treating that same child so unfeelingly? And those things we wouldn’t want anyone doing to us, why do them to others?

living with disabilities
Disabled people require special attention, not to be mistreated. It’s not their fault they have impairments, which may prevent them from performing some activities. If anyone is taking care of a disabled child/person and they just don’t know how to handle their illness, they should seek help/advice from a professional.