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.

 

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?i

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This  blog ends with a four – letter – word

hope 1I have lived through a great deal of sadness, shock and grief and I managed to survive each time. My children did too. We all learned to move on and overcome adversity.

I even learned to dream a bit. Every single week I dream I’m going to win the lottery. I dream that cyclamens will bloom again in my lawn the way they did so mysteriously last year. I dreamed that my eight-year-old-car would pass the licensing test again this year – and it did!

More than anything else, I dream that my family will remain healthy. I also dream of a world without illness and senseless violence. I believe that  circumstances will change for the better in the future.

Nobody can live without hope. In fact, the four letter word I wrote about is    H    O    P    E.

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He’s at rest in God’s hands, but ………………

funeral flowers While attending a dear friend’s funeral, it  triggered memories of the grief I’d felt when our son died; after he ended his life. I remembered some of the things that well-meaning friends and relatives had said to me. One stood out more than the others. It occurred when he cupped my face with both hands and said; ‘He’s at rest in God’s hands.’ My reply? ‘But, it was in God’s hands that I watched him suffer.’ I’d sought out God when in desperate need, only to find his door slammed shut in my face. I’d bargained with him, believing that if I obeyed the rules, he’d protect me, but life does not work that way.

Here are some comments and questions we heard during the days after we’d buried our son.

‘You really should have consulted with a herbalist, you know.’

‘You were supposed to watch over him 24 hours a day.’ What happened? Who was supposed to be watching over him that day?’

‘Why didn’t you change his medication?’

‘Why didn’t you make an appointment to see another psychiatrist?’

‘You could have tried something else, couldn’t  you?

‘Were you and your husband very strict when your children were young?’

What I needed most was to cry. I needed to cry until I had no more tears to shed but was unable to do so. Maybe because I had cried so much over the years. Then, a group of my son’s friends from the Mental Health Society came to visit and told us that they’d held their own private memorial service. This touched me in the deepest crevices of my soul and finally, I managed to release the well of tears I didn’t even know I had left in me to shed – tears that started and would not stop flowing.

Not long after that, a grief therapist brought by a well-meaning acquaintance rang our front door bell. According to him, I had good memories to comfort me and I could look forward to the future with hope. What I was feeling at that moment, was the raw grief of a shocking tragedy and his response sounded like psycho-babble. He insisted that we needed his help and that was when my gentle husband walked him firmly out of the front door, assuring him that we would manage without him … thank you.

 

How to combat peer pressure …….

 

peer pressure 1Negative Peer Pressure  makes  a person feel unaccepted by their peers who bring strong pressure to bear no matter what does ,they do, whether they want to do so or not. More often than not this turns out not to be in one’s best interest. It feels as if people don’t like us for who we are and fail to respect us. Peer pressure occurs mostly to kids and teens, but can affect anyone of any age. Most of us have been victims of peer pressure at some point in our lives. Kids want to fit in with the crowd. Kids want to be cool. Sometimes what the cool kids are doing isn’t really that cool at all and can land them in trouble at an early age. Some of these habits could be sex, drinking, drugs or even violence. Kids and young adults who are usually well behaved can fall victim to peer pressure just as easily.

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The good news is we can always say “NO”. One of the easiest ways to get out of a peer induced situation is to simply say “NO” and walk away which may not feel as cool at the time, but a decision we will be thankful for at a later stage.

Take a stand for what you believe is right. Don’t go through life regretting that you let others make major decisions for you. Taking a stand is the right thing to do as it demonstrates self-respect to your peers and is one of the key components of breaking the peer pressure cycle.

We need to determine who our real friends are and which ones aren’t going to pressure us into doing stuff we don’t want to do. When we ask people who have fallen victim to peer pressure why he or she did so, one of the most common responses is: We never, ever thought that or friends would lead us down that path. We trusted them to help us make the right decision. We thought that real friends would never make us do something we didn’t feel comfortable with or involve us in something that would land us in trouble. So, be selective before making friends and careful about the people whom you choose to hang out with. If they are troublemakers you will probably end up making some of the same decisions as they do.

Another great way to combat peer pressure’s negative effects is to love yourself. If you have a high enough self-esteem you aren’t really going to feel the need to fit in as much. Studies show that people with high self-esteem almost never fall victim to bad peer pressure situations. Love yourself for who you are no matter what.

Parents can help their children combat peer pressure by teaching them at a young age why they should set limits and how to stand up for themselves. They need to make decisions based on what they want to do and not what anyone else wants them to do.

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