November 24, 2007
Coping with a brother-in-law and son who have schizophrenia
I've never had a blog, much less a journal, I had a diary about thirteen years ago when I had issues at home, they being with my spouse. Fortunately, they were resolved. That was 1994-95, and my world has been turned in various ways but none like the present. I am living with two loved ones who are afflicted with this illness. My brother-in-law has had it for at least thirty-five years, my son was recently diagnosed. A few weeks ago I read a nineteen page article about schizophrenia and were my eyes opened! Before I was enlightened about this sometimes debilitating illness I didn't know much about it other that how I had seen it portrayed in the media, especially television and movies. My brother-in-law is 64 years old, my son 24. Needless to say this illness knows no real age restrictions. Until recently my understanding was based partly on what I had heard rather than seen. Once you get around it and have hands-on experience, your eyes are opened, and boy, have mine been. To understand this affliction means having a sympathetic ear and relaxed manner in dealing with it. Go into it expecting to hear anything from threats to hearing a conversation with someone that doesn't exist. There's no count on the number of times I have been around my brother-in-law and have heard him mumbling incoherently or talking loudly and complaining about something making no sense at all. He can't even remember what he talked about. And don't ask him to stop, BIG MISTAKE! And don't ask what is being talked about, BIGGER MISTAKE! I was enlightened rather quickly having been threatened with bodily harm on one occasion. Mostly I have feelings of frustation more than anger, it is really hard to deal with sometimes. This blog will be a great help to me and hopefully others. My son is a different case. His mother and I divorced when he was only six and that was a traumatic experience, and I believe it affected him and is still doing it to this day and it has taken almost twenty years to achieve the correct diagnosis. No telling what and how this illness has affected him all these years what with relationships, schoolwork and even personal hygiene. One amazing thing is he is very computer literate and with the help of meds he should lead a good life with proper care and support, there is a lot of work ahead.