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December 15, 2005
A Typical American Family and Schizophrenia
This story about one family's experience with schizophrenia highlights the benefits of people talking about their family's experiences, and becoming advocates for all of the mentally ill.
Surviving schizophrenia in the family
Clemson athletics director Terry Don Phillips used to mock the value of social programs.
"I think I was just like any other American. You'd hear about homeless, you hear about people who are housed in jails and you'd say, 'I don't buy that mental illness line,'" Phillips said. "I'm thinking, 'That's an excuse. Just go get a job. It's that simple.'"
That changed about 10 years ago when Phillips' son J.D. tried walking through traffic across the busiest street in Lafayette, La.
J.D. was hearing voices. The episode offered the first signs of a never-ending disease that put him on the streets, ignited fights with his father, and tormented a life that Terry Don Phillips has only recently been able to discuss publicly. J.D. Phillips suffers from schizophrenia, a brain disorder that interferes with a person’s ability to think clearly. He is 28 years old and living in a community-based home in Phoenix, Arizona, where J.D.’s mother lives. ...
“One of the reasons I’ve elected to talk about it, is there’s been such a stigma toward people with mental illness because one, you don’t understand it, and two, it’s so daggone bizarre,” Phillips said.
“If we’re unwilling to talk about it, we’re never gonna be able to catch the attention of legislatures across the country, and call attention to the homeless situation, and call attention to people who are wrongfully incarcerated,” Phillips said.
Read the full story: Surviving schizophrenia in the family The Charlotte Observer
Posted by szadmin at December 15, 2005 11:38 AM
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