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尘封的病例 我与母亲的隔世相遇

2019年10月29日 英语美文 暂无评论
摘要:

1978年,我22岁时,她第一次自杀未遂,自那之后,我就一直在试着找到答案。在我年幼时,她很多时候都不在家中,当她回来时,大家都对她之前的离开避而不谈。

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My mother was a woman hollowed out like a tree struck by lightning. I wanted to know why.
我母亲生前是一个没了生命活力的人,就像一棵被闪电击中的树。我很想知道为什么她会这样。
Ever since her first suicide attempt, in 1978, when I was 22, I had been trying to fill in gaps. She was gone much of the time in my early childhood, and when she returned nobody spoke about the absence.
1978年,我22岁时,她第一次自杀未遂,自那之后,我就一直在试着找到答案。在我年幼时,她很多时候都不在家中,当她回来时,大家都对她之前的离开避而不谈。

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I learned much later that she had suffered acute depression after my younger sister’s birth in 1957. She was in hospitals and sanitariums being shot full of insulin — a treatment then in vogue for severe mental disorder — and electricity. The resulting spasms, seizures, convulsions and comas were supposed to jar her from her “puerperal psychosis,” the term then used in England for postpartum depression.
很久以后,我才知道,我妹妹1957年出生后,母亲就患上了严重的抑郁症。她住在医院和疗养院,被注射了大剂量的胰岛素——当时用它来治疗严重的精神障碍——并接受电击疗法。人们认为,由此产生的痉挛、抽搐、惊厥和昏迷可以让她从“产后精神病”中恢复过来。当年在英格兰,“产后精神病”指的就是产后抑郁症。
In 1958, my mother was admitted to the Holloway Sanatorium, the sprawling Victorian Gothic fantasy of a 19th-century tycoon, Thomas Holloway, who amassed a fortune through the sale of dubious medicinal concoctions. The sanitarium, opened in 1885, was a great heap of gabled redbrick buildings, topped by a tower rising 145 feet into the damp air of Surrey.
1958年,我的母亲住进了霍洛威疗养院(Holloway Sanatorium),那是一座庞大的建筑,是19世纪大亨托马斯·霍洛威(Thomas Holloway)的维多利亚哥特式幻想,此人通过出售可疑的药用配剂积累了财富。这家疗养院于1885年开业,它由很多三角墙红砖建筑组成,还有一个145英尺高的尖顶,耸立在萨里郡潮湿的空气中。
Run initially as a private institution, the Holloway Sanatorium became a mental hospital within Britain’s National Health Service after World War II. It was not closed until 1981. Many of its records and casebooks were burned. The gutted building became a setting for horror movies. Directors could not believe their luck. It is now a gated community of luxury homes.
霍洛威疗养院最初是一家民营机构,第二次世界大战后成为英国国民健康服务(National Health Service)系统中的精神病院,一直到1981年才停业。它的很多记录和病例资料都被烧毁。后来这栋内部被掏空的建筑物成为了拍恐怖片的地方。导演们简直不敢相信自己如此好运。现在,它则成为了一个封闭的豪宅社区。
Some records were preserved at the Surrey History Center. In the faint hope that a trace remained of my mother, I wrote to inquire. My parents had never spoken in any detail of her first depression. A letter came back a few weeks later. References to June Bernice Cohen had been located in the admissions register and in ward reports from July 1958.
该疗养院的有些记录保存在萨里历史中心(Surrey History Center)。我觉得母亲当年的资料可能还留有片纸只言,于是怀着微弱的希望,给他们写去了询问信。我父母从来没有谈到她第一次抑郁症发作时的任何细节。几个星期后,我收到了回信。他们在1958年7月之后的一些入院注册和病房报告中,找到了吉恩·伯尼斯·科恩(June Bernice Cohen)的名字。
These showed that “she was patient number 9413, was admitted on 25th July 1958 and discharged on 12th September 1958.” The ward reports for most of August and September had vanished. I applied under Britain’s Freedom of Information Act to see the records.
这些资料显示,“她的患者编号是9413,1958年7月25日入院,1958年9月12日出院。8月和9月的病房报告大部分已经散失。我以英国的《信息自由法》(Freedom of Information Act)为依据,要求查看这些资料。
My re-encounter with my mother involved painstaking negotiation with an archivist. At last I was presented with the weighty register for female patients. Entries are written with fountain pen in cursive script. In columns across the page my mother is identified. “Name: June Bernice COHEN. Ref Number: 9413. Age: 29. Marital Status: Married. Religion: JEW.”
在和一位档案管理员进行过艰苦的交涉之后,我与母亲再度重逢。最后我收到了一份沉甸甸的注册表,里面是女性患者的资料。条目用钢笔草体写成。在一些横跨整页的栏目中,我找到了母亲的资料。“姓名:吉恩·伯尼斯·科恩。编号:9413。年龄:29岁。婚姻状况:已婚。宗教:犹太教徒。”
I stared at her age — so young — and at the capitalized entry under religion: “JEW.” The noun form has a weight the adjective, Jewish, lacks. It seems loaded with a monosyllabic distaste, which was redoubled by the strange use of the uppercase. June was not religious. She is the youngest on the page. She is also the only non-Christian.
我盯着她的年龄——如此年轻——以及宗教一栏中的大写字母:“JEW(犹太教徒)”。这个名词形式,具有形容词“Jewish(犹太)”所缺乏的分量。它似乎承载着一个单音节的厌恶,然后通过用奇怪的大写字母用法再次加倍。吉恩对宗教并不热衷。她是这一页上最年轻的患者。也是唯一的非基督徒。
The first ward notes on my mother read, “History of depression in varying degrees since birth of second child, now fourteen months old. Husband is engaged in medical research. Patient has some private psychotherapy and also modified insulin treatment at St. Mary’s last month, being discharged July 8th. On admission she was depressed, tearful and withdrawn.”
我母亲的第一条病房记录中写着,“自从生下第二个孩子,就患有不同程度的抑郁症,现在已有14个月。丈夫从事医学研究。患者接受过一些私人心理治疗,上个月在圣玛丽医院(St. Mary’s)接受过改良的胰岛素治疗,于7月8日出院。入院时,她情绪沮丧、流泪、沉默不语。”
The doctor examining my mother was struck by how “her tension increased remarkably on mention of latest child.” I ran my fingers over the page and paused at “JEW.” I wanted to take a soothing poultice to her face.
“当提到最近生下的孩子时,她的紧张程度明显增加”,给她做检查的医生明显地注意到了这一点。我的手指拂过页面,并在“犹太教徒”上暂时停留。我想抹一些舒缓膏药在她的脸上。
On July 28, 1958, my mother was visited by a Dr. Storey. He “confirms diagnosis of post-puerperal depression and advises Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT), which patient and husband are now willing to accept.”
1958年7月28日,一位斯托雷医生(Dr. Storey)对我母亲进行了诊断。他“确认了产后抑郁症的诊断,建议采取电痉挛疗法(ECT),患者和她的丈夫都表示接受”。
She first underwent electroshock treatment on July 30, 1958. I see my slight young mother with metal plates on either side of her head, flattening her dark curls, her heart racing as her skull is enclosed in a high-voltage carapace. I can almost taste the material wedged in her over-salivating mouth for her to bite on as the current passes.
她首次经受电击治疗是在1958年7月30日。我仿佛见到了我那年轻瘦小的母亲,在头两侧都戴上了金属板,她黑色的卷发被压平了,她的头颅被裹在高电压的头罩之中,心脏在狂跳。我几乎能尝到塞进她淌着口水的嘴里,让她在电流通过时咬住的那个物体的质地。
The treatment was repeated a second time, on Aug. 1, 1958. That was one day before my third birthday. So, at last, that is where she was.
1958年8月1日,这种治疗又重复了一次。一天之后,就是我的三岁生日。终于,我知道了她当时在哪里。
I now have some facts to anchor memory, fragments to fill absence. My mother, who recovered sufficiently to be stable, if fragile, for about 15 years through my childhood and adolescence, would suffer from manic depression, or bipolar disorder, through the latter third of her life. She died in 1999 at the age of 69. The ravages of this condition I observed; the onset of her mental instability I only felt.
现在,我了解了一些事实可以寄托回忆,也有了一些片段来填补母亲不在身旁那段记忆的空白。母亲的病情有了足够的好转,在我童年和少年的15年时间里,她尽管虚弱,但情况稳定。但她在生命的最后三分之一,又会承受躁狂抑郁症,也就是双相障碍的痛苦。她在1999年去世,时年69岁。我目睹了疾病的摧残,但只能凭感觉猜想她精神刚开始不稳定时的状况。
The hidden hurts most. Mental illness is still too clouded in taboo. It took me a long time to find where my mother disappeared to. Knowledge in itself resolves nothing, but it helps.
隐藏的创伤最为痛苦。精神疾病仍然深深地笼罩在禁忌之中。我花了很长时间才发现母亲消失后到了哪里。知道这一点,并不能解决任何问题,但毕竟有所帮助。
Acceptance — it comes down to that. This is how I came to this point, and to this place, by this looping road, from such anguish, and I am still alive and full of hope.
接受——归根结底就是这样。我就是这样,经过兜兜转转的路程,从这样的苦痛出发,走到了现在,来到了这里。而我还活着,还充满希望。

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