Can parents of someone with schizophrenia maintain a balanced life?

  • We listened to our son and were always there for him.
  • We were accepting and encouraging and tried to come up with new suggestions that David rejected.
  •  We always listened to him, sometimes for hours at a time until I felt physically battered.
  • We spoke to him with the utmost respect and tried to include him in our activities, but to no avail.
  • We tried never to be patronising.
  • We tried not to show him how upset we were.
  • We avoided arguing with him as much as possible as it never helped.
  • And more than anything else, we tried not to criticize but, as we were were only human, we did not always succeed. I was less successful than my late husband.
  • When David was psychotic, I was so tense that I sometimes felt as though I were walking barefoot on broken glass.

Were we able to lead balanced lives? Absolutely not. We had neither the time nor the energy and as most people plan social gatherings in advance, that was against us too. It all depenced on how David was feeling that moment. I also worried how my son would behave when people visited as the moment anyone asked him how he was, he launched into a long description of how bad things were for him and how we were ruining his life.

In short, we had to be available. We had to be around for our daughters, particularly when their brother was psychotic. There were plenty incidents with the police and without. Of course, my husband had to go to work and so did I, but I tried to be available afternoons when the children were home from school. And, at night, we were so emotionally exhausted, that we barely managed to do more than read the newspaper or watch some television. What usually occured was that we fell asleep.

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