True Stories:
This Book:
Story 12


The story of
Bhoopathi


success story :
the outcome of Community Service Program| SEHER

“The story of Bhoopati"

picture of Bhoopati

Bhoopati, forty five year old stays in one of our working areas with his wife and a daughter. He was registered in Seher program, in 2010. He was identified through the household door to door survey. His other daughter stays along with his sister in law close to the family.

Bhoopati was living in Mumbai before moving in to Pune. He was staying with his brothers. He had taken some loans and couldn’t repay it. He sold his house and managed to pay the entire loan amount. He had fights along with his brothers on financial issues. When things got bad, the family decided to move to Pune.

It was after coming to Pune, that he started experiencing small mental health issues to begin with. He missed his family, missed Mumbai, felt anxious and alone, lost all confidence and was very worried about himself and his family in this new setting. The parting from Mumbai too was not on a good note and that troubled him. He got work as a tailor in a commercial area close to his house. One day, he made a mistake while cutting the dress material. His boss scolded him, humiliated him in front of others and threw him out of the job. He was at home for a long time after this, fearful of stepping out, scared that he would make some serious mistake again.

His symptoms worsened. He isolated himself, he stopped talking to other people, he was absorbed in himself, not eating, or bathing. He was giggling, murmuring, and talking to himself. He was saying constantly that, "I want to meet Raj Thakare", a powerful political figure in Mumbai. He said that Raj Thakare would give him a job, etc. When things started deteriorating further his wife admitted him to the Sasoon Hospital (known euphemistically as "Ward No. 26"). She started working as a ‘Bidi kamgar’ (working as a cigarette rolling laborer, out of the home) to support the family's financial needs.

Vinaya was not getting enough money working as a beedi worker. They always had problems related to money. Vinaya was very frustrated that her husband did not work, that he was unwell. So she had to shell out money for his care. No one from his family supported them at this difficult time. Many times she took out her frustration on her husband. She got angry with him, cursed him and blamed him for all that had happened.

Bhoopati felt the pressure. The medications made him feel very sleepy. If he slept he would not be able to go out and earn. That meant more trouble for him. Every time he did this, his symptoms got aggravated and he had a relapse. Many times he was re-admitted to Sasoon hospital. ECT was also administered upon him.

The interventions started with individual counseling for Bhoopati. Sessions focused on enabling him to learn ways to deal with his disturbances, without feeling sacred or fearful. Just to know that they are there, and not reacting to them. He used to hardly ever speak in the sessions, had very poor eye contact and difficulty in engaging. While in sessions, he would say that he did not want to go home, Vijaya, he would say, would not let him be in peace. Intensive family sessions were started with Vijaya- to work on her issues of anger, criticism and frustration on situations, which were all being targeted at Bhoopati.

The family could not afford medicines by Sasoon Hospital. He was linked to ‘Baitulmal’ organization. The Baitulmal trust supported his medicines cost on a monthly basis. His wife used to cry that she doesn’t have enough to feed her family. They were linked to the nearby Anganwadi (municipal school) and ‘Maze Ghar’ organization for nutrition. With help from both of them, their food needs were taken care of.

Funds were raised to support his daughter’s education. She was in XIIth at the time. When some of these other issues were taken care of, Vijaya became much more open in looking at herself, to look at how she was, in a way, maintaining Bhoopati's condition. She was taught caregiving skills, particularly in context of supporting him when he was most disturbed. Sessions also helped her to deal with her own stress and burnout issues.

Bhoopati was recruited in to the support group for people with severe disturbances. Many body, voice and breath methods were used to help him find his 'real' voice, manage disturbing bodily sensations and peer with others like him, from his local community. He was particularly helped by sessions on voice and breath. Changes started happening slowly in Bhoopati. His symptoms subsided. He was more aware of himself and his surroundings. He was able to say what he wanted, atleast in the group.

He was not keen to work outside. He wished to stay at home and help his wife. He started doing household chores. The family shifted to another location, an area where a small community of people from his native village were settled. He felt at home, for once!

This was story 12. It is a true story.

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