Story – I see you

I always look forward up to the nights. Because that’s when we meet, right? I never felt myself until I met you. Like the day, I don’t feel the need to hold up a bright smile before you; I don’t feel the need to turn back and look at my shadow(s). With you, they go nowhere but into an invisible bin in space but come back again the following day. But with you, I am ready to embrace it all. With you, even the silence feels comfortable, and it doesn’t creep in into every vein in my body. With you, it’s all easier, easier to live, to breathe, to laugh, talk and have fun. Whenever the thoughts in my mind get a bit louder than the silence the night holds, you’re there to hear me out. You never say much, it’s always me rabbling on things, and you hear it all without complaints. With you, I feel like I’m being listened to. With you, I don’t feel judged; like the night sky, you have seen me cry.

Is it only me who felt warm last night?

The nights are often cold and frigid, but with you, they’re warm and cozy. I feel safe when you place your right arm on my right shoulder, and I lay my head on your chest – your language of telling me not to worry and life’s momentary; this shall pass too. But I don’t want this to pass away just like that. I want to lie against your chest a bit longer. I want you to hold me this way a bit longer.

But that’s when mum stepped in and invaded our personal space. As she switched on the lights, you were nowhere, as if you disappeared in the thin air.

Mom: Siya, who are you talking to?

Siya: I’m talking to Ajay. Please leave my room mom and don’t interrupt our talk.

Mom: Who Ajay? Our neighbour’s child? But, I can see no one here.

Siya: But he is right here (pointing towards the left), can’t you see him?

Mom: I can see no one here. You gotta sleep.

Siya: Fine.

*While walking back to her room, Siya’s mom was in a riddle. How could Siya talk to someone who died a week ago?*

The following day, Siya was drawing while chit-chatting with someone asking how was the drawing. Her mom when peeped at the paper, it was a guy aged as same as Ajay and wearing clothes similar to his style. When asked to Siya, she said that Ajay liked her drawing too and later she went to play chess in her room. Siya’s mom followed her to figure out the situation and realised Siya’s just 13, who taught her to play chess, that’s when she remembered Ajay; he was a state-level champion of chess. Siya’s mom was concerned about her daughter, so along with her dad, she took Siya to a child psychiatrist. The psychiatrist came up with a conclusion that she’s affected by a major psychiatric illness – schizophrenia. The disease is called “early onset” schizophrenia when it occurs before the age of 18. And this is the reason she’s been seeing visuals of things/ peoples that ain’t actually there.

What happens next once your child is diagnosed with schizophrenia?

Siya’s parents were quite distressed if there was a treatment to this or lifelong she’ll have to deal with the positive or negative symptoms. Further, the psychiatrist explained to them that there is no permanent cure for this but they could try reducing the severity of symptoms. The next step is developing a mutually agreed-upon treatment plan — incorporating psychotherapy, medication, and school and community support — that works for you, your child, and your family.

How do we treat schizophrenia?

As you addressed this early, the treatment might turn out more successfully. Your clinician will prescribe treatment methods that may include medication, psychotherapy, specialized educational or activity programs, and support groups. Siya’s parents supported the treatment as advised by the clinicians, which obviously freed Siya from often repercussions.

So, this is just a request to all the parents to address thier child’s mental health every once in a while and support the treatment procedures too. If addressed early, it’s better for everyone, the child, the parents and for the family too. Ignoring the symptoms might just worsen the symptoms and make the recovery impossible.

Helpful Links:

For parents:

20/20 Presents: Stories of children with schizophrenia

For teens: