Paddy's Story: When your Mother becomes Mentally Ill
When I decided to write my testimony, I asked myself why I needed to do this? I thought I needed closure, but the truth is that I have written it for you. Yes, you the potential stranger who may never meet me, but I know that if you’re reading this, then you may be going through something similar to what I went through. I want you to know that no matter how alone you feel and how dark the world around you may appear, you are not alone and you have never been alone. The lord has been working for you before you even knew you needed him. This is my story.
I am the only son of two Indian immigrants. My father was a small business owner who came to the UK in the early 1970’s from Tanzania. My mother was born and raised in India, and was a talented home maker. My parents had been arranged to be married in 1982. Their fit was determined by academic achievement, wealth, reputation and cultural values. Although there were a few relatives dotted across London, my parents were alone and pioneers in a new world. My father built a successful business and had a prominent position within the community. My mother on the other hand struggled. She missed her home, family and friends. She grew more depressed each day. Although arranged marriages are an accepted practice in India, in London, a relationship of this nature was a difficult endeavour. You see without the immediate support networks of friends and family, the stress of married life was even more difficult to deal with.
My father, the great industrialist was brilliant with numbers, but awful with emotions. He tried what he knew best, he bought my mother the things she wanted, but that didn't help. He introduced her to his friends wives, but that did't help. He finally payed some Hindu priests, to pray for her and help her worship the old gods. But my mother grew worse, and her depression was met with religious paranoia. She believed demonic spirits dwelled within her, and this was backed up by the diagnosis from Hindu priests and her family back home. Finally it was suggested that my mother needed a child, and this would help release her from her pain. The decision was made to have me.
After having me, my mother appeared better. However she grew worse quickly, she struggled to sleep, was socially withdrawn, became anxious, and refused to let any of the family meet or see me. My father believe giving my mother space, would help. It didn't and she quickly saw him as the enemy. My mother would appear normal when she would drop me to school, but at home she was different. Filled with anger, fear, hate, love and sadness, all at the same time. The day finally came when my mother decided that she had to escape the enemy and she took me away from my father. Me and my mother spent a year moving between hostels and shelters. Despite missing my old life, I was frightened by what I saw. I met children whose parents had done the worst things to them. I struggled to understand what those around me had been through.
Me and my mother finally settled. School was my salvation where normality could be achieved for a few hours. My father finally got back in touch with me and we began to rebuild our relationship. I remember thinking that everything was going to be ok, but my mother got worse as she couldn’t find work. Eventually her fear, turned into anger against me. As she became more erratic and the abuse began, her behaviour began to get noticed by the authorities, and I made the decision that now was the time to come clean and explain some of what my mother was going through. I'm not proud to say this, but I was ashamed and kept some things secret from the authorities. I feared them taking her away from me. But the little I told them, resulted in her getting sectioned. My father was called in and asked to take custody of me, but after two nights it became apparent that he was inept and had his own problems to deal with. I suggested that he get in touch with my best friends mother and see if she could help. After a short call, I was taken to my friends house where my father negotiated how I would be taken care of financially by him, but emotionally by them.
I was now a teenager, filled with catalytic emotions. I began to try and find an answer for dealing with the feelings I had bottled up within me. I asked God why I had to go through all of this. As I grew older, I was so conflicted. I was filled with anger and rage at what my mother had done to me, but I loved her. I was angry at my fathers neglect, but I missed him. I loved my adopted family, but felt an outsider because of my real parents. I decided that I needed to know who I was, in order to know who I could become. I began getting in touch with some of my immediate family, who my parents had lost touch with. I met my mothers sisters son on line and invited him to the UK for a visit. We agreed to meet every single one of our relatives in London. He made the list and I drove to the locations.
It was late at night and I was in a tracksuit after working out at the gym. I was tired and not up for an adventure, but I felt a calling to take my cousin to meet an uncle of ours. I had never met him, and had no idea who he was. I drove my cousin to this large house, we parked up and approached the door. I rang the bell and a familiar face opened the door. It was my uncle from my adopted family. We looked at each other in amazement and disbelief. I had known this man for the last four years, I called his children family. Suddenly it hit me, my adopted family were actually my real family all along. Me and my uncle were oblivious to the fact we had actually been related all this time. All those times I longed to be a member of my adopted family, in name and blood, I had been one of them along. It was at that moment I knew that God had been working for me longer than I had been working for him. My prayers had been answered before I had even made them. At that moment I prayed for compassion and grace. I went home to my mother that night and the anger had gone. It all began to make sense, her condition was caused by everyone in her life focusing on the symptoms and not diagnosing the problem. The demons in her life, were not spiritual, the monsters were actually the people in her life, who fed on her misfortune, and fuelled her paranoia. I knew why I had returned. I was to show her the love and compassion she had never received, with the time I could offer her. After many years of supporting her I think we are on the right path at rebuilding her life.
There is more to my story and testimony than whats on this page. I want you to know that you are truly loved. No matter how alone you may feel and how dark the world may appear, remember you are not alone. The Lord is with you and he has not forgotten you. You see sometimes in life we can feel like its over, but the truth is that in defeat you can find victory.