Eating dinner with schizophrenia is not the same as eating without it. My son’s hands shook due to the medication he was taking. He dropped food and spilt hot chocolate down the front of his shirt, staining his clothes as well as the tablecloth. On birthdays, our family ate out in restaurants and the other diners turned around to look at us. Either they knew us and wanted to say hi, or our son’s comments caused them much amusement. Waiters smirked on occasion which upset us all a lot and the celebration was often in ruins long before the end of the evening. All we wanted was to have a family celebration.
At home, we ate breakfast at about 8 a.m. but as David only rose at noon, or later, he failed to join us. So, the only meal we ate together was dinner. David went to bed long after the rest of us partly due to the effects of his medication, partly because he only managed to relax sufficiently and fell asleep very late, and partly because he had nothing special to do … so sleeping helped him pass the time.
On a bad day, mealtimes were not pleasant, while on a good day, we discussed the news or chatted a bit, but if someone asked him; “How are you today?” he’d launch into a long harangue, blaming us, blaming his doctors or blaming the military for all his woes. He was convinced that we’d planted microphones in the house to convey his whereabouts to all and sundry. Inbetween, he drank noisily, ate messily and complained incessantly until it reached the stage that we seldom enjoyed our meals. And the worst part was that it did not help to criticize because he was simply unable to change anything. He wanted so much to get better but not one medication seemed to help.
The stigma got to him; got to all of us. If only people were able to accept those who are different.
If only they could behave the way they usually did.