Category Archives: STIGMA

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.

 

Advertisements

The Shocking Truth

If my son had been run down by a vehicle, I would probably have spoken openly about it, confident of obtaining sympathy as well as empathy. But, psychosis defies empathy. Only those who have experienced mental illness close up, buy the idea that it is a behavioral disease.  My son was deeply affected by the medications he took, which made him walk stiffly. Although I hated the  expression, the hospital staff called it ‘a Parkinsonian shuffle.’ Much later, we learned that it was a side effect of the haloperidol medications, inducing indifference and to stop sequential thoughts. My son experienced intellectual paralysis. When he once tried to explain how he was feeling, he once asked; ‘Do you see and hear the swarm of helicopters hovering overhead?’  ‘Yes,’ we answered. ‘Well, that’s the kind of noise I hear in my head sometimes and it stops me from listening, hearing, thinking!’ Our family loved playing scrabble but he told us that he could barely build a three-lettered word any longer. I looked at my son with his tangled mass of hair – lying sprawled on his bed, and I hugged him saying; ‘I love you’  tears streaming down my face.

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.

 

The BULLY’S MOTHER.

bullies 1“Who is this student’s mother? Where is she?” A large man with a deep voice yelled. “I need to speak with her now.”

Claire knew that no matter what  that man was angry about, her son, Roger,  was the target of his rage, and that his mother; ME, was the person he was searching for. She would have loved to run away and hide but her sweet, fair-haired son, Roger, was approaching and the red-faced, enraged father was grasping him by his collar. Claire breathed deeply, aware that other mothers were holding their children’s hands, relieved that their little darlings were not the culprits. “I’m his mother,”  Claire managed to say before the tirade began. “What’s wrong with your son?” the father yelled. “I was walking  along, holding my daughter’s hand and chatting to her when your aggressive son came out of nowhere and hit her without provocation. What’s the matter with him? Do you and your husband or boyfriend beat him up?” Claire glanced at her son who was wearing that now familiar expression of sheepishness and defiance while the angry father was probably waiting for me, his mother, to get my Roger to apologize. BUT,  I knew that it was not  going to happen. I blurted out ”I’m so sorry. I will talk to my child,” and looked into my son’s eyes wondering for the 100th time what was wrong with him and what made him hit other students?” I was angry too, because I was no longer an ordinary mother. I was the mother of The Bully, a title I’ve lived with for years. When my toddler  was barely three years old, my girlfriend’s husband said that my darling child had intimidated their son and was too rough. Then I was asked  to remove him from the playgroup because he’d boxed a child there and was no longer welcome. After that, angry mothers, raging fathers and tearful schoolchildren came to complain. I sought the help of a therapist and did my best to implement what I’d learned there. To no avail. As Roger grew older, there were less complaints.

One day, soon after my younger son had started  school, he came home sobbing. “What happened?” I asked. “He, he, he took my lollipop.” “Who did?” “The big boy.” “Did you simply give it to him?” “Yes.”  “Why?” “He said I had to.” And Claire felt  more relieved than she had felt her whole life. Her younger son, the Bully’s brother, was now the victim. She and her husband had one son who was a bully and the other, a victim.

Both boys came from the same parents and lived in the same house so, how could they have produced two sons so different?

Can anyone explain this phenomena?

 

 

 

 

HOW SHOULD ONE BEHAVE ?

PART ONE

Tenacity

It may seem odd to ask how we should behave toward someone with schizophrenia but we really didn’t know.  We soon learned what it was that made it difficult for people with schizophrenia  to communicate.  We discovered that the general public  are frightened as well as embarrassed to hold a conversation with a person who has a mental illness or an allied disorder.

We learned the importance of speaking slowly and clearly to individuals with schizophrenia.

We learned to make our sentences short and as simple as possible.

My son often said; ‘I don’t always hear a whole sentence because my concentration seems to float in and out. And if there is background noise or  a crowd, it makes me very tense and nervous.My dad saw how I was feeling and took me to a quiet place and sat me down until I felt less threatened.’

We understood that our son needed routine and some kind of structure to his life so we did our best to help guide him there.

i have to admit that there were times when I felt as if I were walking on shattered glass and that was when I found it hard to maintain equilibrium in our home.j

  • I had to force myself to keep a smile on my face.
  • I found it difficult to remain accepting.
  • It was hard for me to remain encouraging.
  • I had to make time to listen to him as he could talk about his problems for hours.
  • I tried  at all times to treat him with the utmost respect.
  • BUT, I did not always succeed.
  • There were times when I was critical, gloomy, or argumentative.
  • Yet my late husband on the other hand, showed the utmost patience, understanding and unconditional love at all times. He also used humor to deflect difficult situations which was extremely helpful.

 

 

 

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.

please help me 2

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.