When a child has a chronic illness

The hardest thing about my son’s schizophrenia was missing out on seeing him fulfill his aspirations and dreams, as well as ours. After he became ill, he heard voices, was extremely vulnerable, and lived with us for many years. Only after trying everything, his psychiatrist suggested that he live in a group home, but they would not accept him as he was not working. We suggested that he live with someone but he chose to live alone.

Slowly, but surely, he became a stranger, not even a shadow of his former self. Once, he was a surfer, an athlete, and could have been so many things. When he went into the hospital for the first time, my husband and I felt we had let him down but hoped that he would come out of there well. Instead, we stood by and watched him get sucked up into an abyss, another world. At the darkest point in our lives, I remember sitting on our bed with my husband. He was hugging me and I was crying uncontrollably and neither of us knew what to do, though my husband, sure that David would get better, kept repeating; “It will be okay, you’ll see. He will get well.”

We joined a support group as fighting battles on one’s own seldom works. And this group worked for us. Then we realized that we could not stop the schizophrenia so we tried to help our son improve his quality of life a bit, but even that didn’t work. However, we did learn many coping skills that helped us keep our heads above water.


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