Category Archives: Invisible illnesses

Is everybody ‘normal?’ Is anybody ‘normal?’

 

I often think back to the first 18 years of my son’s life when he was perceived as being the same as everybody else. Then, when things started to change, there were many people called him schizo, crazy, mad in his head. BUT, our family always called him by his name – Doron.

Our son wanted to get well. He wanted to love and be loved but most of all he needed the peace of mind that the rest of us take for granted. That peace of mind eluded him even though he took his medication religiously. He tried every new tablet until there were no new meds to take. So, his doctors gave him what we referred to as a ‘salad of meds’ where they mixed a few together. Later, he returned to the psychiatric hospital once a month to get a long lasting shot.

 

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Lets talk about mental illness …

mugsPLEASE find it in your hearts to donate money toward research on mental illness. Relatives of people with mental illnesses are starting to lobby their governments for more money for treatments and research. Some are beseeching top scientists to push for higher stakes in their research. I know how often I prayed for a cure when my son was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia – when not one single medication helped relieve his symptoms. When some people hear the word schizophrenia or bipolar illness, they have been known to withdraw their support even though millions of people all over the world are living with mental illnesses as well as other brain diseases. Some are curable – but we have to work that much harder to cure those that are not.

 

CONSIDERATION TOWARD HANDICAPPED PEOPLE

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Insufficient  consideration is given to people with handicaps. Car manufacturers advertise cars with large baggage compartments for wheelchairs, yet, very often folded wheelchairs do not fit in.

Airplane toilets are  notoriously tiny and uncomfortable; not only for a handicapped person, as they are very cramped. Every toilet should have a bar for the occupants to hold onto and the toilet paper rolls should be hung in a user-friendly spot.

Hotel showers need to be equipped with plastic chairs or wheelchairs that have been treated to withstand water, so that a handicapped person can sit while taking a shower.

Beaches also need to invest in specially designed wheelchairs that can run on rails into the ocean, enabling handicapped persons to get into the water for the first time in their lives. I witnessed the expression on a man’s face while he used one of them in Eilat, Israel. His expression was one of pure ecstasy.

There are supermarkets  that provide devices that magnify price tags for visually impaired people. Some doctor’s waiting rooms have chairs without backs or armrests that are not possible for a handicapped person to feel safe on and offices put official forms onto tables that are too high to allow easy access to the handicapped person.

I am friendly with a couple  who used the  concept or universal design when building their home with the needs of one of the occupant’s in mind at all times. Their kitchen was cleverly designed to cater to her needs, The doors aresufficiently wide to allow wheelchair access or ambulance stretcher access. Their shower is large and the toilet higher than the standard ones. Toilet paper rolls were hung in a sensible place. Even the flower beds in the garden have been raised and the outdoor space resembles ‘The Secret Garden’ by France’s Hodgson Burnett.

All the floors are covered with non-slip tiles. Light switches are at a comfortable height too. A great deal of thought was put into the construction of this house and they did a wonderful job. She was responsible for the charming decor.

PART TWO OF: HOW SHOULD ONE BEHAVE?

Sooner or later when a person has schizophrenia, a crisis will occur. When this happens there are some things That can reduce the oncoming disaster but these were all learned along the way.

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The most important lesson learned was that we could not reason with our son when he was psychotic.

We learned to understand his terror by observing his own loss of control.

Of course it was not a great idea for any of us to shout at him or even show a teeny sign of anger irritation or impatience.

It was important for us to all work together toward the same purpose.

I learned that using sarcasm was useless.Hands-in-a-circle,SERENADE 2 SENIORS

My son hated noise so it was advisable to turn off radios, the T V – the dishwasher (if you have one) the washing machine and dryer when he was upset.  The less noise, the better.

We learned not to touch him during an episode and to avoid continuous eye contact.

Sometimes, when I sat down and suggested that he do the same, he did, and then he calmed down slowly. But,sometimes things ended differently.

   Why do you tell your story?

           laptop  I am not a professional in the field of mental health, so all I can do is tell my story from my point of view and I want  to tell it as it should be told.

  • I tell my story to make it more difficult for people to close their eyes as well as their hearts to the mental illness around them. Most of us know someone who has some kind of brain illness.
  • I tell my story in order to gain empathy for the people out there who are mentally challenged as well as to let them know that they are not alone.
  • I tell my story as I need to try and convince  people of the importance of early intervention.
  • If more of us tell our stories, somehow, the professional people out there might listen and believe.
  • No politician truly believes that he/she will gain more votes by devoting more time and money to the issue of mental illness. But, maybe that time is NOW.
  • I tell my story, the story of one family, but it is actually the story  of millions of families living with mentally ill relatives anywhere in the world from Alaska to Africa.
  • So, in my blog, I aim to tell my story in the hope that one day, there will be less stigma toward mentally challenged people in the world. If we all Speak out,  maybe some of the people out there will listen, believe, and even act on our behalf.

READ DAVID’S STORY by Jill Sadowsky.

ORDER from Amazon’s Kindle Store or on Smashwords.

Read: THE LAST CALL by Jill Sadowsky in the HIDDEN LIVES Anthology. Canada’s Brindle and Glass are now promoting this Anthology containing stories on mentally challenged people.

Know what person the disease has, rather than which disease the person has …

dignity 

Have you ever walked along thinking about something pleasant when someone almost bumps into you? Do you whisper because you are afraid to excite that individual or cause him/her to become violent? Do you speak slowly as if he/she were unable to understand you? How about treating that person the way you would treat anyone else instead of as an illness? Snap judgments can be incorrect, you know. There is no way of knowing whether a co-worker, a car mechanic, a lawyer, a cashier, a neighbor or a teacher is dealing with a mental challenge or not and they all deserve to be treated with dignity.

If someone treats you like an ‘option,’ help them narrow their choices by removing yourself from the equation. It’s that simple you know! If we want to show basic human courtesy and respect for human dignity, we have to remain open-minded, curious and willing to get to know people without judging them. This goes a long way in respecting human dignity.

DO YOU KNOW THAT AN OUNCE OF PATIENCE IS WORTH 1,000 WORDS ?

 

 

 

 

 

How did my uncle die, mom?

“How did my uncle die, Mom?”

Surprised at the question, her mother replied; “Your uncle was very ill.”

But, when the young child persisted saying; “Tell me about his illness,”  her mother said: “When you are older, I will tell you more about it. And she did.”

After her daughter turned 12, her mother explained that her uncle had been ill with a mental illness, which had made him desperately unhappy, and in spite of all the treatment he’d received, nobody had been able to help him. So in desperation, and after suffering for many years, he had ended his life. It happens sometimes, you know, she said, putting her arms around the child. The child listened intently to her mother then turned to her and asked; “But how did he do that, Mum? How did he know what to do? And, did it hurt?”

Imagine a mother having to go into detail about a subject like that. Well, she kept it short and simple. The child’s uncle had died before she was born, so maybe because she never knew him, it was a bit easier for her to accept.

Not a single professional mental health provider had been able to pinpoint the right age to tell a child this kind of news but that child’s mother knew that it was better to tell the child herself before someone else did so unknowingly. I think it was the right decision, don’t you?

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