Edward D'Cunha, 40, loved the sea and loved his job with the merchant navy. But his first schizophrenia attack in 1997 changed everything. He tried to work for three years after that but had to give it up.
However, after several years of treatment, he now works as a librarian at a multinational bank. He still misses the sea, but he is happy to be working for a few hours every day.
"I found this job through a support group we have. As long as I am taking medication, I am fine. It is good to get out of the house," said D'Cunha who commutes daily from Goregaon to Lower Parel.His brothers live in Australia and his parents have persisted with his treatment relentlessly for more than a decade. "His parents' perseverance and help from Maitri, the support group we run, worked for Edward. Also, the fact that his parents fought for his job and salary helped heal him. Mentally-ill patients heal when they justice or see that their kin are fighting for their rights," said Dr Harish Shetty, who has taken Edward to speak at seminars on schizophrenia.
"It is possible to mistake certain traits of schizophrenics as disobedience and laziness, but parents must understand that they cannot help it," said D'Cunha's mother, Irene. "Sometimes, they are also averse to long-term relationships such as marriage. It is best to leave the decision to them."
D'Cunha seems to have found his balance. "I am happy to help peers at the support group, do my work and be at home. I miss the adventures of the sea but I am content and do not really want to change anything about my life right now," he said.