What I have learned from living with schizophrenia.

sea small imageAfter living with my son who suffered from schizophrenia, I have learned a great deal. Of course it is far easier to think logically and cope with those feelings now that my son is no longer with us. And, although it took time, I got to know my enemy; schizophrenia, in this case. I learned to watch out for negative thoughts. It was best not to let the condition control me and far better to manage it and so minimize its control over my life.

It is important to go to reputable websites and research the advice I needed where my son was concerned besides making sure that he had a recommended psychiatrist, with the emphasis on recommended by another parent or better still, by parents in the same position.

A parent of a child suffering from a mental illness has thoughts that cause a great deal of pain. But, I learned because thoughts are only thoughts, I could take note of them or refuse to let the negative ones cause me any more suffering. In so doing, I actually managed to remove their power over myself. It took a long time because changing habits does that. It’s not easy. Personalities can change during the course of our lives and the habits I grew up with are not engraved in stone for eternity.

I lost some of my battles but won others and that was when I realized that I was on my way to winning my war. I reminded myself of every tiny success whenever I felt down. I could not control my son’s illness. For that matter, nor could his doctors, so I had to learn to focus on the things I was able to control and … accept those that were beyond my control, which is one of the most difficult things I have ever done.

I know how easy it was to blame my parents for many of my woes. But in this case, i found no signs of hereditary influences so my problems were my own and could not be blamed on anyone else.

A brain illness, more commonly known as a mental illness is actually no different from a physical illness.  One in four people worldwide suffer from a mental illness at some point in their lives, so it is not a rare and unheard of illness and definitely not one to feel ashamed of.

Over the years, I have learned to cultivate moments of happiness and even peace at times. I have learned to focus on what gives me pleasure; writing, reading, listening to and learning more about opera and classical music, sitting on the white sand and watching the waves break on the shore, as well as spending time with my children, grandchildren and good friends.

Lao Tsu said;

If you are depressed, you are living in the past.

If you are anxious, you are living in the future.

If you are at peace, you are living in the present.



One thought on “What I have learned from living with schizophrenia.

  1. Pamela Spiro Wagner

    Hi Jill, I would like to post this on my blog, with all credit and a link back to your blog. Would you mind? My Wagblog is all about living with schizophrenia, as a patient, and I thought your piece was wonderful, thank you.

    Pam Wagner


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