Giving a talk to the same psychiatrists who weren’t too keen to listen to me when my son was hospitalized.
I was asked to talk to a group of psychiatric professionals which I found very stressful and wondered whether it was worthwhile putting myself through that agony. I realized that many parents felt the way my husband and I did but simply did not have the energy to speak up. So I agreed to do it. Here are some of the points I brought to their attention.
Doctors, please talk to us. Answer our questions. I know that you are very busy and stressed but we need to understand what has happened to our children. Are we to blame? Did we cause schizophrenia? We did not receive answers but finally read about this in a book written by an American psychiatrist: PARENTS CANNOT CAUSE SCHIZOPHRENIA OR ANY OTHER MENTAL ILLNESS. The parents who were blaming themselves for faulty upbringing felt a little easier.
We should have been told to join a support group early on but we did not even know of their existence.
We needed advice to help us through each day, not to argue with our son who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, what to say when he felt suicidal.
We needed to know how to set limits and to establish a routine.
We needed to learn how to find our way through the maze of bureaucracy.
We needed to be told ahead of time when our child was going to be released from the psychiatric hospital as food had to be bought and cooked, and medications bought and organized.
We should have been given some indication of how to handle the stigma associated with mental illness. You could help on this point.
I ended with; Please give our loved ones the attention they deserve but most of all, leave them with hope. Without hope, nobody can survive and treat them with respect.
Each one of your patients is someone’s child, someone’s lover.