The Crusader of Mental Health

Ramaswamy who fell into a well

They saw what abject poverty and hopelessness meant when they visited the house of Ramaswamy, near Bannerghatta Temple. His sister was blind and stayed at home and mother was old and frail. Rama used to work in panchayat office as a helper. He was the sole bread winner of the family. A few years earlier, he had become mentally unstable. He stopped going to work and stayed at home. “Someone is always criticizing my work and will not let me go out. They are troubling me and will harm me, ” he declared. He always sat in a dark room behind the kitchen. His mother got a pension of Rs. 50 from the government. She sat in the temple compound most of the day. People would give her some coins out of pity. They got enough to eat only one meal day.
One night he walked into the neighbor’s farm and fell into a well. A man who had come to smoke heard him fall and rescued him. “What makes you take your life?” he asked. “Oh no, I don’t want to die. But the voices in my head are torturing me. They shout at me that I am useless, that I should jump into the well, and if I do not obey them, they will strangle me.”

The next day his mother brought him to Sakalavara hospital. He was put on a course of antipsychotics for his schizophrenia. He showed dramatic improvements and seemed fully recovered. He started helping the doctors during their visits.
But the story took a sad turn when he stopped taking his medication. He started showing signs of mania and schizophrenia. “This temple belongs to me, ” he declared.”I am the chairman of the panchayat. I am the most intelligent in Anekal taluk. The medicines prescribed by the doctors are useless for all diseases. I have sanjeevani, which can cure any sickness including cancer.”
The simple villagers were initially impressed by the grand manner he had adopted. However as his delusions grew, they started ridiculing him. His mother and sister died within a few years and one day Ramaswamy disappeared from the village. The empty house, falling into ruins, was all that remained.

Miracle at Rajapura

Several people informed the doctors that Rajappa was a mentally ill man in Rajapura. His family was wealthy and known for helping needy people. Everyone knew that he had been ill for 7 years. The NIMHANS team visited Rajappa’s home. The family had tried various faith healers and tantriks. They had even taken him to NIMHANS, but when the medicines made him sleep for two days, they got worried and stopped the treatment. They reconciled themselves to his condition, attributing it to his karma. Most of the time Rajappa sat in one place or would sleep. He would talk to himself and neglect his personal needs. His hair and finger nails had grown long; he would not shave for weeks. He would pass urine in his clothes; the smell hung heavily around him. His wife had to clean and feed him.
CRC praised her for taking care of him. “What else can I do, Sir, ” she responded. “This is God’s will. My parents married me into this family because they are rich. My husband was fine for one year after our wedding. Then he took to lying on his bed the whole day silently. He started talking to himself. People say this is due to evil spirits. We tried many methods to cure him, but he did not become better. Only God knows what has happened to him.” Her eyes filled up.

CRC administered Anatensol injection and prescribed some tablets, of which he gave a small supply to his wife. A month later CRC happened to visit Rajapura again. Even as the jeep slowed down to stop, people surrounded them. “Doctor, you have done a miracle!” they said. “Rajappa had never stepped out for past 7 years. Since one week he has been going out to work. He responds to our greetings. Is this not a miracle?”

The team was thrilled to hear this. When they visited Rajappa’s house, his wife came forward and bent down to touch CRC’s feet. “Sir, you truly are our God.”
CRC restrained her. “Do not thank me. Thank the discoverer of Anatensol or God.”

When they came out, they were greeted by a man. The team could not recognize Rajapappa. His long hair and nails were gone; he was clean shaven and well turned out.

“Namaskara Doctor!” he greeted him. CRC was speechless; he felt joy that his medical training and hard work had borne fruit.