Our family story is unique but universal as every tale of paranoid schizophrenia resonates with every other one.
At first, I was terrified to tell our story, our nightmare ; to expose my family to public judgment and scrutiny. But, only when I started speaking out, did I begin to help start the process of demystifying mental illness, as well as trying to break the terrible stigma.
I received e-mails; many mails; many said that our stories were similar, but they were unable to speak out. They kept all the fear and anxiety inside of them, causing even more upset. There were some mails of compassion and consolation.
David’s tightrope was swaying. How could he stop it from breaking? The meds were not working. Medication resistant was what we heard. How come if there are so many different tablets?
David told us; “At night, I hear the strident sound of feet marching down the long corridor, then someone ordering the guy in the next bed to get up and go upstairs with him to begin his shock therapy session. I was terrified. Would I be next?”
My son often had the glazed look of someone in the midst of a nightmare.
When David was discharged from a psychiatric hospital, and he was in many, he was discharged to nowhere.
I often saw him lying in a fetal position on his bed. There were times when I felt that I was running a de facto private psychiatric clinic. I’d become an expert on the latest research on rehabilitation – no cures, but an individual can lead a regular life; can work too if his doctors find the right medication. We were still searching, searching, searching …
Schizophrenia had become like an addiction. I thought about it nearly all the time, rehashed it, and it was always in my mind. When I went out, I tried so hard to talk about anything but my son’s illness and about what transpired in our house. That didn’t work either.