Our brother has a mental illness. It happens in the best of families … in our family?
These are some of the thoughts that our daughters probably had to deal with during the long years when their brother was battling with paranoid schizophrenia.
Who is in danger of getting a mental illness? Could I get it too? Will our brother ever get better? Really better?
Were we to blame in any way?
Why did he get it and not one of us?
Mental illness is a disorder of the brain, the way diabetes is an illness of the pancreas so why does the first have a stigma?
Our brother changed, became so different after he became ill.
Who will take care of him when our parents get old?
He gets psychotic at times – a lot of times and this was what we were told. Psychosis is a brain disorder that affects his thinking, perception and behavior. He sometimes loses touch with reality for long periods of time and experiences hallucinations and delusions. What are we supposed to do if we even suspect that our brother has suicidal thoughts? A psychologist told us all that suicide is a behavior and not a mental illness although it is more common if there is a family history of suicide. David needs to feel that people care about him but most don’t know how to behave or what to say in his presence.
Our family was such a happy one before schizophrenia came into our lives – now it will never be the same again. Our parents look so sad all the time.