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ramblings of an unknown psychiatrist

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“There is a limit to suffering one can take. I have to poison her before she brings disgrace.”

Posted by Dheeraj Kattula on April 5, 2010

She had an innocent smile of a child on her face. It was the first time I was seeing her. She was of dusky complexion, cute looks and shy behaviour. She had been on low dose anti-psychotics for few weeks. Her mother complained of her missed periods. Every day, we reassure a lot of people regarding menstrual abnormalities secondary to anti-psychotic use. As I reassured them, I could see that her mother was not satisfied. She complained of swelling in her lower abdomen. I smiled sarcastically at her ignorance. I felt she was worried thinking of menstrual blood getting accumulated down there.

Ignorance is fought with education. A couple of minutes of psycho-education could let them cool down, I thought. As I reassured them again, I noticed a smile of the patient. It was not the usual smile. It had a touch of mental retardation. I became serious. I knew she is a likely victim of sexual abuse. She was single, female, poor, beautiful and mentally disabled. I looked at her parents again. They obviously knew better than me of the possibilities. That was why they looked so distressed. They were afraid of the worst possibility- PREGNANCY.

The elderly couple also have a son. He has chronic Schizophrenia. He is dependent on them. The patient in front of me was dependent too. The grown up children cannot do any meaningful labour in the marketplace. Their mother is the bread winner. Their father is unable to work anymore because of old age. He minds the kids at home. The old lady was already in tears. I told her that she was not alone and such suffering is not uncommon. I realize these words are empty. Suffering hurts most when it hurts you.

She wiped her tears with the free end of her saree. She said “There is a limit to suffering one can take”, as she blew her nose she added, “I will have to poison her sometime, before she brings any disgrace to us.” I could understand her pain. I was shocked to see her daughter smile innocently as she heard this. I knew why this ghastly filicide had not happened till now. It is not tough to kill someone who would submit to you with a smile. It is impossible. Her mother loved her much. She just did not know how to handle her situation,  if at all there is a right way to handle it.

I wanted to send the patient for a pregnancy test. I also wanted to treat her with dignity as an individual with some ‘capacity’. So I asked her if ‘any man had come close’ to her. She agreed with a shy smile. My heart sank. Her mother nearly fainted. She reached out to the nearest bench that was available. I told them not to worry. We could find out if she is truly pregnant in the first place. Her missed periods could be due to medicine itself.

 Her parents did not want the test!!! Why?? I was shocked. They should be asking for it not me! They told me that a test would take time and if they do not go back in time, their schizophrenic son might wander away. Our OP assistant gave them an idea. Her father could return home and mother could take the patient back after the tests are over.

After a couple of hours, I saw them again. The pregnancy test was NEGATIVE. I sighed with relief. I am pro-life. I cannot think of recommending an abortion. We don’t do it in our hospital either. In fact if she was positive, I really do not know what I would/ should have done. Thank God! The old couple would not get another dependent into their family. They also did not have to kill a weak and helpless unborn child.

I told the mother to teach her to keep a distance from unknown men. Of course I know the ones who abuse are usually the known men. But here it was the case of an unknown man. Her mother told me that she had beaten her number of times to teach her that lesson. I wondered why she had to beat her daughter before an act was done! She knows her daughter and their situations better. I better not theorize how to handle these at this stage.  Anyway, now that the patient has experienced a ‘reward’ for the act, I predict she would continue to seek it. This is not my guess .It is the law of effect in maintaining behaviours called ‘operant conditioning’. I suspect that the mother understands this risk. She can never be in peace.

They left, temporarily relieved. I know God does not test us beyond what we can stand. I hope and pray they do not fail the test. We can imagine but we would never know tough it is. How could one help the patient live in safety? What should this mother do now, to prevent such happenings? What are her options given that are such daughters have right to liberty granted to them by International law like Convention on Rights of People with Disability? Where do local laws/ policies stand in situations like this?

Do comment and help me write the responses to the questions stated above in my future posts.


11 Responses to ““There is a limit to suffering one can take. I have to poison her before she brings disgrace.””

  1. Vineeth said

    Thought Provoking…….but what is the solution to this lady?
    We cannot change the Society over night and get help for such people.
    Except pray asking god to protect such peoplead from the “Evil”(can be read as discrimination due to Disability) rampant in society.

    • Dheeraj Kattula said

      It is true there are no solutions. A lot of times suffering has no sloutions. The best we can do is to be together.
      Prayer is easiest thing that a believer can do.In my opinion true faith does not stop with praying.

  2. halloftyrannus said

    This in ODC? Pray for them. What else cn v do?

    • Dheeraj Kattula said

      Yup.This was in ODC. You could pray for them. Prayer works from a distance too 🙂
      I hope you are settling down well in Ukraine.May God give you clarity of purpose and sharpness in skills to do His will. Let the Ukraine period be training ground for the same.

  3. Yesu said

    I would say that in this case its useless to depend on laws and etc.One thing we can do is just adding some MEANING to words PRAY FOR THEM….that is we can help her get married…instead of just saying Lord save them….because we can not assure her mother with high probability that her daughter will be safe in present society. I believe that God has created people whose character is normally distributed……so for every person that we suspect of harming her…there would be a person that we can hope support her. So, Having Hope that “God does not test us beyond what we can stand” means to search for ways like these…not poisoning her….not worrying….not beating her….because ideally “God has plans to prosper her not to harm her”…..and I believe in this…

    P.S: Personnaly I have desire like marrying some one who is in need of some one…not because i want to show sympathy…but to add some meaning to words like PRAY FOR THEM…HAVE HOPE IN GOD…GOD DOES NOT NOT TEST US BEYOND WHAT WE CAN STAND…

    • Dheeraj Kattula said

      Thanks Yesu for your comment. I guess this is your first comment on a blog, though you have been reading blogs for more than a year. Thanks for taking the trouble. I will keep your view in mind.

      You speak of marrying the girl off. It is an interesting topic to discuss- marriage and mental disability. Hmmm… We should do that some time and of course blog on it 🙂

  4. Really touching story anna.. Didnt realize psychiatry can be this hard on a person.. Kudos for your work..

    • Dheeraj Kattula said

      Thanks Sammy for following the blog 🙂
      Thanks also for your kudos!
      This story is not typically psychiatry related. Of course Mental Retardation is treated by psychiatrists for the behavioral problems and other psychiatric problems they are usually at risl for. This lady’s situation could have been the same in any medical encounter. In that sense practice of medicine can hard. I aspire to be sensiive to people’s suffering. I have a tendency to ignore suffering and get numbed to it. (This is to preserve my sanity perhaps :-))

  5. RR said

    The govt. shall provide proper living conditions for the disabled. If the family is supported financially, the parents can give them more attention and in much peaceful way. Training schools shall also come for their help to give them lessons in proper ways that they can be trained to face the world with whatever limited strength they have. Perhaps such things are alrady at work there. Wrote here inspired by a news article which says about providing financial aids for such things.

    I dont see any other solution for now! Because the world is so strange for normal people also. And we know mothers of normal kids are also not devoid of fears as these. Those abusers are the real mentally retarded ones as they mistreat the weakest people such as these!! If they are all admitted in hospital for treatment perhaps the world would be a better place. (Shall we go for a hunt..? (sigh) A joke that am not able to laugh from my heart! Because I know what would be the outcome. There will be not many mentally healthy men and women in the outside world. Without Christ all are dead!(my definition of mental retardness is wider and different than that in your books, perhpas). I penned down my anger here. Thats all am doing now!! May the Lord guide His people properly if He wants us to do something more other than praying for them and asking the Lord to return soon.

    By the way so encouraged by reading your works, Dr. Dheeraj. Happened to see this site today only. Had a quick read of some of them. And I feel its good to spend some time here reading your words. Your articles are helping me to see the life in a bigger canvas. Well, congrats for your paintings too. The Lord shall equip you with His love more and more that whoever come to you for help shall find His love and be at peace.

    Best wishes

    • Dheeraj Kattula said

      Dear RR,

      I want to thank you for visiting this blog and reading through its content.I want to thank you for your honest heartfelt comment. You are free to ventilate your feelings in this blog. Thanks for the link which contains encouraging news to the mentally disabled.

      I am very encouraged with your warm words of appreciation.I trust God to help me live up to such standards.Thanks for your prayer and blessing.I hope to continue to bring to light what struck my head and touched my heart.

      God bless you and your family.

  6. sharon_daniel said

    reading thru your blog today only..

    maybe you could arrange for an intra uterine device or even tubectomy (clips) after discussing with parents and consent.

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