‘The weather today will most definitely be schizophrenic,’ the weatherman announced with a big smile.
‘That man is a Time Bomb,’ the journalist wrote in the local newspaper.
‘It’s the Legacy of a Madman,’ screamed the headlines of another newspaper.
Insanity, what I prefer to call a mental illness, is usually equated with horror.
I saw the above and a lot more while I watched my son suffer. His diagnosis was schizophrenia. I’d like to remind my readers what schizophrenia is. It’s a brain disorder that affects the way a person acts, thinks and sees the world. People with this illness have an altered perception of reality; often a significant loss of contact with reality. Thy may see or hear things that don’t exist, speak in strange ways, believe that others are trying to harm them, or feel as if they are constantly being watched. With this blurred line between what is real and what is imaginary, schizophrenia makes it difficult, even frightening, to negotiate the activities of daily life. In response, people suffering from this illness withdraw from the outside world or act out in confusion and fear.
We were told that most cases of schizophrenia appear in the late teens or early adulthood. Although schizophrenia is a chronic disorder, there is help available. With support, medication as well as therapy, many people with this illness are able to function independently and live satisfying lives. However, the outlook is best when schizophrenia is diagnosed and treated immediately.
Unfortunately, the stigma accorded schizophrenia and mental illness in general, stops many from seeking the help they so desperately need as they are unable to deal with the reactions of others.