Posts Tagged ‘family and mental illness’

Schizophrenia and Courage

If I could stand on a cloud above, and have our Almighty God ask me what I would like to do or be on Earth, I would say I’d like to be me.

I’d say could I please be the mother of that nice little boy who turned into a fine young man!

And if our Almighty God then said to me: if you choose to be that person, you will encounter a great many challenges, some of which you will simply not know how to handle other than to accept them, some of which will make you worry through years worth of sleepless nights, and some will give you pain– I would still want to be me.

I love someone who has the diagnosis and most of the symptoms of schizophrenia.

He is so much more than any diagnosis or symptoms he suffers.

childhood art

I just watched The Soloist. What a great movie.  Hollywood usually does not impress me with movies about schizophrenia but this movie did.  It doesn’t glamorize schizophrenia nor does it promote a treatment.  We get a realistic view of how the illness effects one man’s life.

Sometimes a brain takes in too much information at once — without a filter so that anything and everything are immediately noticed and perceived.

“Try to imagine not being able to filter external stimuli,” a friend of mine who is a psychiatric nurse told me.  “Every single thing; the birds, the leaf blowing in the wind, the cars, the people on that porch next door, the smell of the bagel shop, the ant on the ground, the shadow of a tree — everything coming at you as fast as the speed of light — you don’t have a filter allowing you to choose where you put your attention.”

I imagine this would be extremely difficult and challenging, like being on the front line in a war.

I read somewhere that, we cannot know what it is like to have schizophrenia, we can only know what it is like not to have it.

Many people with schizophrenia, as with the character in The Soloist, do not like taking anti-psychotic drugs.

Most places available to help people with schizophrenia require them to take these medications to receive the help.  We have club houses, residential living facilities and other programs to help people with this type of disease — but if the people who need these services do not take anti-psychotics, then they are considered to be, non-compliant, and lose out on most assistance available that might otherwise make a huge difference in the quality of their lives.

Schizophrenia is a heart breaking disease.  It takes so much away and brings things that nobody would want.  One doctor I talked to said it is, “arguably the worst disease a person can get.”   This is a large statement to make and a complex one.  It is also one I agree with.

These are my favorite lines from The Soloist:

“His mental state and his well being is as precarious now as it was the day we met.”

“Mental Health experts say that the simple act of being someone’s friend can change a person’s brain chemistry and improve his functioning in the world.”

“I can tell you by witnessing Mr. Ayers’ courage, his humility, his faith in the power of his art;   I’ve learned the dignity of being loyal to something you believe in…holding onto it,  and above all else of believing… without question… that it will carry you on.”

Talk about a story of courage!  Carrying on in the face of this condition we label schizophrenia must be one of the most challenging quests a person must face.

This post was originally published on October 25th.