True Stories:
This Book:
Story 21


The story of
Pramila


success story :
the outcome of Community Service Program| SEHER

“The story of Pramila "

picture of Pramila

justify">Pramila was diagnosed as having 'schizophrenia' by the Yerawada mental hospital. She used to live alone at the time of her admission to the mental hospital. She had lost her parents at a very young age. She has three bothers and one sister.

She stayed along with her eldest brother. Her brother and his family used to live in the house below, but hardly ever supported her. Her sister-in-law infact placed many severe restrictions on her. She had an arranged marriage. Her husband used to torture her for dowry, physically and mentally abuse her. .

Before getting married, Pramila was well and happy. After her marriage, her mother-in-law and husband troubled a lot for money. They used to say, ‘Get some money from your brother.’ Her husband was physically abusive to her.

She used to cry a lot. She started being alone, she had stopped talking to neighbors and people around, and she had frequent crying spells. She also tried committing suicide by pouring kerosene on her body. She has burn scars on her upper body. Things worsened for her after this incident.

She was isolated and stopped talking to other people, she started listening to the voices in her ears, she used to wander outside of her basti, she used to dance, etc. At the same time, her husband and in-laws deserted her and Pramila started living with her eldest brother. She says she eventually left him and his house; and has been living in Lohiyanagar for the past many years.

Her condition moved from bad to worse, and she was institutionalized by her brothers. She would be forcefully taken to the mental hospital, kept there for 4 months, bought back for few weeks, and re-hospitalized. This cycle happened recurrently for the past many years and she has spent much of her time in the institution. She became a 'revolving door' patient.

On one of her ‘leave’ periods from the mental hospital, she was referred to Seher. In the beginning, intervention started with befriending and medicine follow-up; followed by regular home-visits, nutrition and sel-care practice sessions. In the self care practice session, she enjoyed the visualization techniques most. She was invited to be part of the group for people with high support disability needs.

Body, breath and voice based activities were done in the group sessions. To reduce the stigma in the neighborhood, corner meetings took place. Her 'circle of care' increased. Neighbors helped her to take medicines regularly. She experienced a lot of side effects of medicines. She had trouble related to piles, indigestion and acidity. She was referred for homeopathy treatment and for regular health checkup.

Family sessions took place. Care-giving skills were taught to family members. She was not eating properly so, tiffin service was provided to her. Gross neglect by family was seen in her case. A 'confrontation meeting' with her 3 brothers and sister was organized. The counsellors highlighted her need to feel supported, to be cared for. In the meeting, it was decided that Pramila

will stay for a month at each brother’s place.Family counseling, individual sessions, group therapy, ABT sessions nourished recovery for Pramila every step of the way.Her hospitalization was reduced. Eventually, she started living by her own in the Lohiyanagar. At that time, it was decided that every sibling will visit at Pramila’s place once in a week. Meeting her family, made Pramila happy.

Group activities nurtured her and gave her the space to express herself. She made a few friends there. She was not hospitalized for about two years thereon and has been doing well.There were many positive changes in her. She did have some relapse episodes, but due to timely interventions by the team, extreme steps by the family were successfully avoided.

She too took on the role of being empowered enough to care for herself. She emerged as a natural peer supporter to people with disabilities in the community.

Initially she used to wander about aimlessly in the community. Now, she wanders, but makes friendships with disabled people, meets them every day,supports them emotionally, shares snacks with them, advises and cares for them.

She is very supportive to 2 children with intellectual disabilities from the community and all group members from her group. Particularly, one member who has many physical and mental disabilities receives tremendous support and motivation from Pramila. She continues support to others through her own motivation and willingness.Pramila is full of life and color, helping one person after another she meets, generously sharing and giving.

This was story 21. It is a true story.

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