Monthly Archives: February 2014

S C H I Z O P H R E N I A

time to change lets talk about 2With today’s medications, a person suffering from a mental illness can be helped, on condition that he/she continues to take meds. Most people are not only helped by these medications, but they manage to find work and are able to lead full lives. BUT, for the few who cannot be helped, this is how they feel.

Schizophrenia, depression and bi-polar illness are beasts.

Mental illness tests relationships within the family circle and those of friends to the fullest.

Family life becomes fragmented.

 Mental illness pursues with a vengeance.

People are loath to speak about mental illness.

Too many young people end up in cemeteries instead of on their surfboards, on dance floors or on the sport fields.

Mental illness tears apart the fabric of life as we know it.

Family members find reasons to flee whenever they possibly can.

Healthy siblings seldom invite friends home as it’s far more pleasant to spend time with friends out of the house.

There are husbands who leave home to find love and comfort elsewhere.

Even David’s beloved dog shied away from him because he took her on too many long walks. The dog often hid under the coffee table in the living room seeking shelter from the ‘storm.’ And, I am ashamed to say, that there were times when I wished I could join her there and hide.

The IndiePENdents Seal

imageThe indiePENdents Seal #10012269 was issued to Jill Sadowsky for her book, DAVID’S STORY. The book can be found on Smashwords or Amazon Kindle Stores.

‘When we talk to God, it’s called prayer. But, when God talks to us, it’s called schizophrenia.’ by Lily Tomlin.

DAVID’S STORY by Jill Sadowsky is a heartbreaking study of the progress of schizophrenia, destroying not just one life, but making tragic inroads into the lives of every family member. This story gripped me from the first page and i grieved along with the author. Jill Sadowsky’s honest recording of her son’s little understood mental illness is written with sensitivity and compassion, born out of love and pain.

by Dvora Waysman, author.

I’ll dance on their graves

I never thought

I’d be as dependent as an innocent lamb

depending on its mother’s milk

Yet  I am dependent on the charity of

good people and bad people.                                                      

To date, I haven’t met

anyone who can help me.

Anyone I can trust,

Certainly not my parents.

I’ll dance on their graves.

Written by  my late son, David. 

a burning candle

The ticking of my clock by my late son, David

Life is difficult sometimes

but we have to find

the small flashes of light

to lessen the depth

of the gloomy darkness

which gets more profound

with the ticking of my clock

and that gives me the dimension of time.

                            by David

The closk is ticking

 

To say or not to say, that is the question

questions To say, or not to say, that is the question

We slowed down when speaking to our son who had schizophrenia.

We tried to give him space and avoided making him feel trapped.

We tried to remain calm and give him all the support we were able to muster.

We knew that it was a good idea to speak slowly and quietly.

We were advised to use short, clear and simple sentences..

We avoided making sudden movements because if he were startled, he became angry.

We were as helpful as we could possibly be.

We tried to give firm yet clear directions.

We did our best to respond to his hallucinations or delusions by talking about his feelings rather than about what he was saying.

We did our best to let him know that we loved him.

To say or not to say, that was the question.

We knew better than to argue with him when he was psychotic.

We tried not to look him straight in the eye as that would be considered staring, which in turn would make him aggressive.

We tried to get him to interact with us and not confuse him.

If I wanted to hug him, it was advisable to ask first.

It was a bad idea to raise our voices.

We learned not to give him multiple choices.

We knew better than to whisper, joke or laugh in his presence as he would have assumed that we were making fun of him.

We were honest with him at all times, even if it meant imparting bad news.

He hallucinates …

If you suspect that someone is hearing voices, it’s okay to mention the voices and if that person is amenable to continue the conversation, it’s okay to ask; ‘What are they telling you?’

Very often, the voices heard are speaking at the same time as the person is trying to have a conversation with you, so he might stop talking for a while to work out what you are saying due to the interference. The voices can be rather noisy at times. So, it’s a good idea to speak slowly and clearly and limit the number of questions you fire at him. Reduce the number of outside stimuli too, if possible and allow the individual to vent some of his frustrations.

It’s not a good idea to tell him that the voices cannot possibly be real. He is convinced that they are because he hears them quite clearly.

For anyone who wants to get an idea of  how frustrating, disturbing and upsetting it is to try and engage in a conversation while these voices are chatting or talking loudly in the background, click on the link below. If I had seen this clip while my son was so ill, it would have helped me as well as my family a great deal.

     http://www.youtube.co m/watch?v=0vvU-Ajwbok

K’s comments

K commented on a blog and wrote the following:-  

Hi Jill,

My father, aged 89, who until this year has enjoyed good physical health, now has  declining cognitive capabilities. He had occasion to be in the hospital for one week and during that time, not one doctor nor nurse realized that he had no idea of what they were talking about when they had him sign consent forms for procedures to be performed – even though various family members visited with him at different times every day and also had medical power of attorney in case this situation arose.

How can doctors assess a patient of any age without asking for feedback from the family to ensure that his consent is of sound mind? I know from all the medical appointments I have accompanied him to, that when he answers a question, his answer is mostly incorrect. The medical personnel barely look up from their paperwork or put down their phones, and then move off to the next patient.  When we ask questions, my brothers and I receive different answers.

I took Dad to his G.P. today to find out what the hospital staff had reported to him. I needed details of ongoing treatment at home, so imagine my shock on hearing that the hospital had not informed my dad’s doctor that he had even been hospitalised. Can you imagine discharging him without a care plan or a treatment plan? They did not ask questions about who was going to take care of him at home either.

I am so angry, frustrated, worried, sad and ……

K.

 

Are you a journalist ?

journalistsThe legal clause concerning discrimination states that the press must avoid prejudicial  references to a person’s race, color, religion, sex or sexual orientation as well as to any physical or mental illness or other disability. These details should be omitted unless absolutely relevant to a case, because a thoughtless column can be so hurtful.

Another clause states that when reporting a suicide, care should be taken to avoid excessive detail of the method used. People detained under the mental health act are patients, so language like caged or jailed are inaccurate and hurtful. Journalists have often been known to use other unacceptable adjectives and are also warned against using terms basket case, schizo or nutcase. Not only can such language cause distress to the family involved, it is detrimental to the patient’s treatment. It can also create a climate of public fear and rejection, adding to the already existing stigma.

Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Research

Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s share similarities in the damage they cause to a human brain. Both diseases show symptoms years after the actual onset of the illness. Although people with the memory loss of Alzheimer’s and the physical problems of Parkinson’s look different, a growing body of research suggests that their biological damage is quite similar.

The Michael  Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, the Alzheimer’s Association and the W. Garfield Weston Foundation of Canada, announced that together, they will offer joint research grants to find similarities  as well as the differences between these degenerative diseases and continue their search for a cure.

When trying to handle Alzheimer’s in my family, I learned that medications do improve symptoms,  but not cure, as to date, there is no medication to affect the course of the disease. By collaborating on research, scientists might gain insights that will lead to earlier diagnosis and a more targeted treatment.

Alzheimer’s is characterized by memory loss, personality change and the declining ability to plan or perform the functions of daily life. It usually strikes people in their 70’s or 80’s although genetic mutations can lead to earlier onset.

I noticed that there were people who stopped living when their spouse was affected with Alzheimer’s. They  no longer kept open homes and stopped inviting people over mainly because they were embarrassed about their spouse’s changed behavior, alienating themselves from activities they had previously enjoyed.