Diagnosis? Paranoid schizophrenia

“My sister and I lived through difficult times when our brother received the diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. We listened to him say things that did not make any sense to us at all. The police came to our house on more than one occasion. Our brother visited a psychologist and then a psychiatrist. After a long time – almost a year, our father persuaded him to check himself into a psychiatric hospital. Dad said he would get better there. The psychiatrist felt that he needed intensive treatment. His paranoia made him believe that we were all against him when we were actually doing our best to help.”

“My sister and I felt so guilty. Why him and not us? Our brother with the lovely sense of humor who loved surfing, was in the closed ward of a psychiatric hospital. He posed a danger to himself and maybe to others. He took piles of prescribed medication. But, he got worse and it was hard to live with him; hard to bring friends home so we spent more time out of our house with friends.’

“Someone told my sister and I that the best thing we could do for our brother was to have a good life of our own. We did not understand the wisdom of those words at the time, but much later, realized how sensible that advice had been. We had to remind ourselves that we did not cause his illness.”

“We were angry. He shouted at our friends when he was home and even insulted them. we were afraid of him. He ruined some of our things. He smashed the glass of a couple of pictures and threw a bottle of red wine at the television set. We knew that it was the schizophrenia that made him do and say the things he did. He would never have hurt us this way when he was well.”

“We learned from our parents to take one day at a time. After all they were having a harder time coping than we were. We learned not to argue with our brother as it didn’t help. And our Dad taught us how important it was to use humor.”


One thought on “Diagnosis? Paranoid schizophrenia

  1. Schiz Life

    You know, as I read your post, I kept thinking about how you basically have described the stages of grieving as laid out by Elizabeth Kubler Ross. It goes to remind us, when one person begins dealing with schizophrenia, everyone around him who loves and cares for him or her deal with losses of many types, as you’ve mentioned. Thank you for sharing this. Many of us can relate.


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