Monthly Archives: August 2014

I thought that love would turn this thing around

You are not aloneWhen our son was ill, both my husband and I thought that our love would turn this thing around, but love was not the answwer; neither were my tears, but I was as powerless to stop them as I was able to stop the waves breaking on the shore. At seven o’clock every morning, my husband left for work and on his return, he spent as much time as he possibly could with our son, while I searched and researched the cause of paranoid schizophrenia.

Had we been responsible? Had we done something terrible? Had I contracted some illness or other during my pregnancy and forgotten about it? I read everything I could get my hands on but all that effort shed little light on our predicament.

The sun set and the light faded while I sat on our patio and merged with the darkness. Winter was around the corner and the smell of woodsmoke was in the air, reminding me of happier times. I felt a passionate desire to cling to the last days of the fall, afraid of what might be waiting ahead, ready to pounce.

Then, I went indoors and turned on Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. My son’s lonely figure was always hovering nearby and prevented me from enjoying anything. My husband joined me. “I used to be so happy,” I whispered, “but now I’m afraid to have any fun as that would take me out of myself and re-entry into the real world would be far too difficult to contemplate. Do you know that only this morning, an acquaintance crossed the street when she saw me approaching? Her child had played in our house, spent hours with our David doing all kinds of things together. It was so hurtful, you know! I did nothing to her, nothing at all. The only thing that has changed is that our son was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Is that a reason to ignore me when I need more support, more affection and more love than ever before?”

It isn't big to make others feel small

 

 

 

 

 

Friendships count

a dreamThe youtube clip below is entitled Friendships Count.

Click on the link below ….

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CMAeg8D52c

In an article in the Star-Telegram, Diane Smith writes about Layne Lynch who sat at her piano inspired by a feeling until a tune emerged. This was followed by the lyrics. She tried to find words to tell why she acts the way she does.  No limitations, but she felt restricted. ‘All those thoughts in my head collide’ sang Lynch, a 17-year-old senior at Colleyville Heritage High School in the United States.

This song is asking teenagers to be understanding of classmates, friends as well as siblings struggling tith mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder as well as bipolar disordr. It was inspired by a family member’s experiene with a mood disorder. Lynch said; ‘It’s so cool to see people realize that it is okay to go get help.’ The song is part of Friendships count, a new anti-stigma campaign produced by Mental Health Connection and Community Solutions of Fort Worth.

Defining mental disorders and how they affect teens can help reduce te stigma associated with illnesses. An adolescent alone can make you feel like; ‘No one understands me.’

Even though people are more comfortable discussing mental disorders today, there are still many who don’t understand why the words weird, crazy or unstable are negative labels.

A little understanding and support from a friend can make life a lot easier for these people.

 

Newspaper headline screams schizophrenia

schiz 1I opened my newspaper and saw the following headline sceaming at me – Schizophrenia in two state solution. Until then, I’d always thought that the place for an article on schizophrenia was in the Health section of a newspaper and not when reporting a political debate.

I’LL TELL YOU WHAT SCHIZOPHRENIA IS. i WILL ALSO TELL YOU WHAT SCHIZOPHRENIA IS NOT.

Is schizophrenia a split personality? No, it is not. It’s a split from reality.

Is schizophrenia a rare condition? No, it is not rare. The lifetime risk of developing schizophrenia is widely accepted as occurring in around 1 in 4 families.

Are people who have schizophrenia dangerous? Although the delusional thoughts and hallucinations of people with schizophrenia can lead to violent behavior, most people with this illness are neither violent nor a danger to others. Of course, if untreated, the person can get out of control.

Can people with schizophrenia be helped? Yes, they can. While long term treatment might be required, the outlook for schizophrenia is not hopeless. In fact, when properly treated, many people with this illness are able to enoy life and function within their families and communities.

And how does she know all this, you  might ask? Well, I did  not get it from textbooks nor from the internet. I did not get it from attending lectures nor from psychiatrists. I know this because our son suffered for many years from schizophrenia as well as from the stigma attached to it. To top all that, he proved to be medication resistant as well.

Eventually, after fighting his demons for approximately 16 years, he gave up, and I would like to think that he has gone to a better place where he has found the peace of mind he was unable to find on this earth.

 

Written by children on the day they were sent to a gas chamber in 1944

for a blog girl watching sunsetOn a purple, sun-shot evening Under wide-flowering chestnut trees Upon the threshold full of dust Yesterday, today, the days are all like these.   Trees flower forth in beauty, Lively too their very wood all gnarled and old That I am half afraid to peer Into their crowns of green and gold.   The sun has made a veil of gold So lovely that my body aches. Above, the heavens shriek with blue Convinced I’ve smiled by some mistake. The world’s abloom and seems to smile, I want to fly but where, how high? If in barbed wire, things can bloom Why couldn’t l? I will not die! 1944

Anonymous (Written by the children in Barracks L 318 and L 417; ages 10-16 years)   in the Terezin Concentration Camp on the outskirts of Prague. If those children had been able to remain optimistic until the end,  how dare I give up, ever?

After Tragedy Strikes

tulips growing

Have you ever wondered what you should do or how you ought to behave when visiting a relative or friend who has experienced tragedy in his/her family?

How about putting your arms around that person a bear hug and saying: ‘I love you.’ When someone said that to me after one of the tragedies that befell my family, it was both heartfelt, caring as well as healing  – whereas Time Heals or Most tragedies happen for a reason even if it was not meant to sound that way, had a hollow resonance to it.  After losing a loved one, there was not a single reason that I could grasp that could make me believe that something so tragic could happen for a reason. I heard: ‘When do you think you’ll get over this loss?’ OR ‘You’re young; you’ll have another baby soon.’ OR ‘You’ll make a new life,’ failed to help me understand what they were getting at. After losing my adult son to schizophrenia as he was medication resistant and could no longer bear the voices

 

Schizophrenia … and solitary confinement

There was a hearing on the subject of solitary confinement in prisons with testimony from federal and state law enforcement officials, academics and advocates with Anthony Graves, an exonerated former death-row inmate who spent  the majority of his 18 years in a Texas Prison in solitary confinement.

Quote: ‘I lived under the rules of a system that is literally driving men out of their minds,’ he said. The conditions were inhuman, my cell was small without access to human interaction or decent medical care. No one can begin to imagine the psychological effects that isolation has on another human being.’

Surely governments all over the world should give more time to this issue.

images

Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill ….

Jill's Experiences with Mental Health , Stigma, Alzheimer's Disease, Grief & Grieving & serenade2seniors

In a lighter vein:

Geroge Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill.

I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend, if you have one.”

Winston Churchill’s response;

“Cannot possibly attend the first night, will attend second …if there is one.”

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Schizophrenia and then Alzheimer’s

Although schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s are very different, while living through schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s, I had to learn that it was not what happened to me that counted, but, how I dealt with each one of them.

i learned that my anger at schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s were destroying me, so, i learned to do something about it. There were times when I felt as if my heart had turned to stone and it was a long time before I gained the ability to laugh, to feel even the tiniest emotion or to be open to loving again.

I had to learn that although pain is inevitable, extended suffering is optional. As there was no way that I could change the  cards that my family had been dealt, I had to learn to change the way I played each hand.

All this took a long time, but eventually, I  learned to take one day at a time. I gained the ability to appreciate a beautiful sunset or, a walk along the shore where I listened to the waves breaking. I even managed to enjoy the experience while wiggling my toes in the damp sand.

One day, I drew up a list of the terrible things that had occurred in my life as opposed to the positive aspects and was surprised to find more entries on the positive side. I am blessed with two wonderful, supportive daughters, five healthy grandchildren whom I adore as well as two helpful sons-in-law. I doubt whether I could have ‘chosen’ two nicer guys for my daughters to marry. How much better can life be  than this?

Charles Swindoll said:

LIFE IS TEN PERCENT WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU AND NINETY PERCENT HOW YOU REACT TO IT.

 

 

 

 

A Safe Haven 4 Mothers

This blog is dedicated to mothers in particular. it’s a place to share our problems when there is illness in the family – mental illness in particular. it is a place where we share our problems; where mothers reach out to one another, and for the first time they manage to speak out about mental illness in their families and how it has not only changed the lives of their ill child, but the lives of the whole family. By speaking out in person or via email about problems affecting their lives, they receive in turn honest advice and support from other parents who have been there and been through similar experiences. These parents often become as close as relatives.

These are some of the questions asked:

How do I help my child who is no longer sleeping well? How do I persuade her to revert to her group activities with good friends?

A distraught mother admitted that she and her husband’s sex life was suffering due to their child’s mental health state, They spent most of the night agonizing over ways to help their child instead of sleeping. A father said; ‘ I am so busy agonizing about the past that it is preventing me from having a future. I used to think that I was a good parent but I now doubt my parenting techniques.’

Discussing these problems can be very therapeutic. i know that because our son was diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia so I knew where these parents were  coming from. I receive few comments on my blog but receive many emails from people who need to be heard or need some questions answered and I do my best to reply to them all. This is not instead of seeking a qualified therapist. It is ‘ as well as. ‘

What we all need to remember is that NOONE CAN CAUSE A MENTAL ILLNESS. NOBODY IS TO BLAME. No more blame, No more shame, No more stigma

If only houses could speak

MEMORIES

Like the fields where I chased butterflies in my childhood, the mountain my late husband liked to climb as a boy, the beach where our children paddled and fished, our house didn’t belong nearly as much to me as I belonged to it. I’d worked hard in the garden but the roots of the eucalyptus trees bordering our property drank the water greedily whenever I watered, leaving little moisture to nourish our plants and grass.

I often wonder whether a house has eyes and ears. If only it could tell me all it has witnessed. Maybe that depends on how I ask and how much I am willing to hear.

Being an early riser, I often sat on a step with our black Belgian Shepherd at my feet. The dog and I bundled up under a rug to ward off the chill and I found myself replaying the past in my head when our three children were getting ready for school, rushing about noisily, dressing fast, grabbing their schoolbags while eating breakfast on the run. The house, like my heart, was filled with thoughts of my lovely, happy family. In the stillness on the stairs, it was as if I could hear them all over again.

Then I recalled a weekend – it was as if I could hear them all over again. They were singing , listening to loud music, talking and laughing. I heard the thud of footsteps in the bedrooms above me, showers running, toilets flushing, phones ringing, doors banging, voices rising and falling like wind through the trees. I heard lots of laughter filling their rooms and overflowing into a thousand empty spaces.

This house held countless memories from times gone by: times of want and times of plenty, good times and b ad times, happy times and sad times. Our house was a memory bank that my family had invested in beginning in the days when our children were young, hoping for a good return someday when we grew older.

I felt rich. I stood up and climbed the stairs to our bedroom to get dresses and start another day. Time passed, and the house rang with the sound of our grandchildren’s voices