Wednesday, May 15, 2013

F*&k You, Schizophrenia.

This is the very first post in the series introducing you to my co-authors of the best-selling book "I Just Want to Pee Alone".

This post was written by Kerry Rossow of the blog HouseTalkN (you can also find her on Facebook). Normally, she's really funny. But this post is not funny. It breaks my heart. May is Mental Health Awareness month. So many families struggle with mental illness and it is so hard. It is just so hard. 

Take a deep breath and read this. But I warn you, it's the kind of honest that is hard to read. Thank you, Kerry, for writing this and sharing it.


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Fuck You, Schizophrenia.

Because I hate your very name. It’s long and no one knows how to spell it. Your stupid name has replaced a perfectly lovely name. His name is “Dan” and he is my brother.  

Because it isn’t socially acceptable to blame my parents for schizophrenia. I rather enjoyed blaming them…those were good times and you took that from me.

Because you have painted your graffiti on my beautiful brother. My sweet, sensitive, handsome brother that used to turn heads, now makes people cross to the other side of the street.

Because my brother will never get to have a catch with a son.

Because my own children look at me, unbelieving when I tell them that their Uncle Dan was the best baseball pitcher I ever saw. They only know the Schizophrenic, disheveled and muttering Dan. 

Because your hateful voice is stuck in my brother’s head.

Because he will never walk a daughter down the aisle.

Fuck You, Schizophrenia.

Because in my mind, my brother is dead. The brother of my childhood, just 18 months older than I, is dead to me. And, fuck you for judging that.

Because I wince when someone asks about him. I want to be my sisters…all mature and level headed and accepting. But, instead I refuse to speak of or about my lost brother. 

Because I don’t know what the fuck you did with my brother. Is he in there? Is he watching this horror play out? Is he sending me signals, using our childhood secret code that I’ve long since forgotten?

Because people make clucking noises just before or just after they say “Schizophrenia.”

Because my brother knew me best and he must see what a coward I have become.

Because of all the times he saved me and now he is drowning and all I can do is watch and make clucking noises.

Because you haunt me. When I watch my own son on the pitcher’s mound, I see my brother. 

Because you invade all of my prayers. They all come back to you. Please protect my brother, please give him peace, please forgive me, and please, for the love of all things sacred, do.not.let.this.happen.to.my.children. This is always followed with apology prayers for being so selfish.

Because you took my big brother.

Because you left your calling card.

Fuck You, Schizophrenia.

This post originally appeared on In the Powder Room.


(c)Herding Turtles 2009 - 2013

113 comments:

  1. My cousin has schizophrenia and I feel this way a lot. He and I are the same age and all through school were in classes together. Back then it was just a learning disability that wasn't diagnosed as schizophrenia until we were both in our mid-twenties, I defended the ever loving hell outta him then and even more so now. I hope this country gets a heck of a lot better about mental health care and taking away the stigmas and shame that surrounds it. Until then I agree with you, Fuck You Schizophrenia! Thank you for your post.

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    1. Thank you, Alex. Your cousin is lucky to have you.

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  2. Hey Kerry. Just want you to know...I get it. Or, if I don't, not really, my husband, whose older brother has schizophrenia, definitely does. I have heard him say so, so many of these things as he grapples with the fact that there is a stranger living in his brother's body. Thanks for sharing. You're not alone.

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    1. "There is a stranger living in his brother's body" is the perfect way to put it. Thank you.

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  3. I too have metal illness in my family...it's the hardest thing I have to deal with. Thank you for expressing many of the feelings I have.

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  4. Oh, Kerry! I completely understand and can totally relate. My mom was the star of every show when we were kids. We had the house that all my friends wanted to go to. She was the mom going to the movies with 16 yr old's on a Friday night and no one cared. She was also the Mom I lost a month before I turned 25. Schizophrenia turned my beautiful, thoughtful, kind, loving Mom into a pill popping, drunk monster that sometimes didn't even know her own name. So, I'm on board with you. Fuck you, Schizophrenia.

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    1. I am so sorry, Jen. That must be gut wrenching.

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    2. It is, but you know how that feels. And reading through these comments, look how many people relate to your story! Just look at all the people that thought they were alone! Your brave move made others exhale in knowing they're not alone. Kudos to you..

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  5. Oh, God. This hurts my heart. We need to change the way we talk about mental illness in this country, in that we actually need to TALK about it. My brother in law lost his battle with depression in December and took his life- and my sister struggled for years trying to keep both of their heads above water, and felt so alone. Thank you for sharing this- u have I am sure you have helped people in similar situations just by putting your words out there.

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    1. I shared this with great unease. It is my brother's story and I felt like a traitor writing these words. Thank you, Laura.

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    2. Hi Kerry!!

      YOU ARE NOT A TRAITOR!!!!!! You are sharing a subject that people want to avoid. By sharing this info about your brother you have made people aware of his condition and will be more understanding towards him. You have made others come out and start to talk about this illness.

      You're a great person, mom, daughter, sister, granddaughter, sister-in-law, aunt and friend. You've helped others by bringing this subject out and discussing it with others.

      Thank you!!!!
      Pam
      xox

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  6. Thank you so much for sharing this.

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  7. My daughter is a violent sociopath. I watched mental illness take my sweet, creative child and turn her onto someone I don't even recognize.
    I get it.

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    1. I am so sorry. Now that I am a mother, I cannot imagine what this does to my parents.

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  8. It turns your whole life upside down. My soon to be ex-husband has it. And it is sad and hard and sucks.

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    1. It is sad and hard and it sucks. I am sorry.

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  9. This is an incredibly moving and amazing post. Good for you for pulling back the curtain and showing the world what this actually looks like and feels like. Hugs to you, friend.-The Dose Girls

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    1. Thank you so much, Dose Girls. It is heartbreaking.

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  10. Thank you. I feel this daily, about my father.

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  11. I get it.
    My brother-in-law has it. It turned him into a scary monster and we were all afraid of him.
    He ran away. He is now homeless sitting in a shelter somewhere or under a bridge in Philly.
    We can't find him.
    Fuck you, Schizophrenia.

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    1. My brother has been there. It is so frightening. I'm sorry, B.

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  12. I want to hug you. And I want to hug your brother too. But it would be awkward and he wouldn't know me. I'm so so sorry. Mental illness is a bitch and it scares the shit out of me.
    I don't know what it's like to be around schitzophrenia.. it is hard to spell... but just reading your post gives me some idea.
    xoxo

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    1. Thank you, Frugie. Mental illness is a bitch, indeed.

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  13. I also watched a handsome brilliant young man first become catatonic, then suffer the horror that is shizophrenia. My ex-b.i.l. was full of life and starting to go to college. He experimented with drugs at the time and it apparently brought it on. 40 plus years later, he is still ill. Thanks for sharing your passionate feelings, it is truly a loss that we live over and over again.

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    1. It is a hauntingly familiar story, huh? I am sorry.

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  14. Thank you so much for sharing this uber powerful piece. I have an ex-boyfriend whose mother was schizophrenic and NO ONE discussed it. She would just be hospitalized for a while and then come home on new drugs. And then everyone just swept it under the carpet. I'm sure they all felt similarly to how you expressed.
    Tracy @ Momaical

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    1. Sweeping it under the carpet is so tempting yet so dangerous. Thank you, Tracy.

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  15. You were right - this wasn't funny or pretty, and I'm crying now on a beautiful Wednesday morning. But so thankful for your courage to share and open up about what is usually hidden. Sending lots of hugs to you today.

    xomichele

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    1. Seeing your smiling face was such a treat. Thank you for your always kind words, Michele.

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  16. Every single ounce of my heart understands and knows your pain... EVERY ounce. My Uncle had schizophrenia and tragically killed an elderly woman in her sleep. Schizophrenia robbed that beautiful woman of her life. Took away her families right to love and know their Grandmother/Aunt/Mother/Sister/Friend. Robbed us from knowing our Uncle. My Mother remembers the very sweet, good little boy that he once was. Schizophrenia infected our family and invaded our lives and robbed too many years to count. Fuck you schizophrenia is right! My heartstrings are attached to yours forever. Thank-you for your bravery and truth. You are NOT alone in your pain.

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    1. Oh, my God. I am so sorry. What a tragic and heartbreaking story. Your words broke my heart. From my heartstrings to yours, I am sorry.

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  17. You have shown how BRAVE you are to put this out there. To TELL IT LIKE IT IS. We all need to be more educated about mental illness and you havr just helped with that. Our medical community needs to be better at protecting and helping the mentally ill as well. Bless you. XO, pinky

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    1. Thank you, Pinky. I can always count on you for kindness and generosity of heart.

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  18. I don't have schizophrenia. I have had friends who did. (College friends, just lost touch, I didn't abandon them.) You're right. It IS hard to spell - I had to cut & paste from your article.
    I ached for them. They struggled to do normal things, and some days couldn't. It hurt.
    I do have several mental illnesses. I can tell you that it does hurt. I am in here, and I am scared when I do things that I know, rationally, aren't right - but at the time I can't stop how I feel, and sometimes what I'm doing. Thank heavens I've never seriously hurt anyone, especially myself the many times I've been clinically depressed. I pray that I don't scar my children too much. I, too, pray that they NEVER have to be like me. I wonder, often, if I was right to bring them into this word and risk that they would hurt like me.
    I hate that some of my family can't deal with my mental illness. They tried to second-guess my doctor who I KNEW was right about me, and I was more grateful than I could express that someone finally could recognize that I was not "normal" and that I desparately needed help. They aren't all supportive, but I understand. Sometimes it's just too much to handle.
    I'm more me now. The person I want to be, but I'm always terrified that it could change at any moment, as it sometimes does.
    I know it's not the same, but I do think, like me, that Dan IS probably in there. Continue to love him, and support him as much as you can - even if it's just to support those sisters who are right now able to do more than you. It helps.

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    1. Oh, Elona. Thank you so much for your powerful words. I am so sorry that you struggle with this. Thank you is an understatement, but thank you. Sending you big love.

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  19. It took courage to write that post. Thank you for sharing your pain. We need to get that perspective on mental illness. Hugs.

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  20. You're right the honesty brought me to tears. Tears knowing how mental health hurts those suffering and those around those who suffer. I feel your pain Kerry because mental illness coupled with a narcissistic personality is part of the reason I don't have a Mom and my childhood was a rough one. Also I sincerely hope none of your boys is affected by mental illness in any form. My middle son suffers from severe anxiety and something we've had to manage since he was 9 months old and now he's 9. Right now I can watch over him and help him manage, but his future in the adult world even brings be worry and anxiety. Time will tell if I've done everything I can as a Mother to prepare him for those years, and I hope that answer is yes.

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    1. I am so sorry, Sherry. What a scary way to grow up. Thank you for sharing your story. Sending you, your boy and your family big love.

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  21. Kerry, that was fantastic. Watching someone you love fade away has got to be heartbreaking. Where did they go? I can only imagine it's a little like me watching my brilliant, charismatic, refusing meds grandfather disappear inside his bi-polar disorder. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Watching them disappear is the perfect way to explain it. Thank you, Rach.

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  22. It tore me up the first time I read it and it goes even deeper today. Thank you for writing it.

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    1. Thank you for reading it. Thank you for your words. Thank you.

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  23. Oh gosh. Right there with ya. While we don't have that particular skeleton in our closet, OCD lives in our family. And I've cursed it our more times than I can count.

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    1. I'm sorry, Lizy. It is overwhelming, huh? Sending you big love.

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  24. My 24 year old son has Paranoid Schizophrenia. I honestly don't know how I kept him alive to adulthood. I hate SZ! Hate it. It nearly took my son from me several times, the last when he was 20 years old and found in a pool of blood with barely a heartbeat. He tells me "the sleep demons made me do it." Throw in the other things he has to go along with it (dual diagnosis is SO COMMON!) and it made his teen years a living hell, for him, but for us as parents too. I have four kids with Down syndrome, and they are a piece of cake compared to raising one son with sz. At the moment my son is "well", but we know this can turn around in heartbeat, and all the work he has done in the last year to keep himself together can go right down the tubes. Here's a blog post I wrote in 2006, when my son was still a teen. http://gardenofeagan.blogspot.com/2006/10/as-long-as-its-healthy.html

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    1. Oh, Leah. I am so sorry. As a mother, I can't imagine the heartache this brings you. Thank you.

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    2. Leah, They say "God only gives you what He knows you can handle"... He must see a MIGHTY MIGHTY warrior in you and your husband! My heart aches for you, for Kerry, for everyone who deals with family members with mental illness. I, too, have a family member who as been diagnosed with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) however, he is not seeking treatment. I completely breaks my heart bc our relationship will never be. (long story)
      I pray for peace for you all.
      BIG BIG Hugs!!!

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  25. Amazing post--thank you for your brutal honesty. My brother and I are so close and I just can't imagine how helpless it would make me feel to watch him slip away. Reminds me very much of my Grandmother's dementia/Alzheimers...one day the person you know & loved doesn't even recognize you anymore...the memories of their lifetime are just gone....replaced with anger and confusion. Seriously awful.

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    1. Thank you, Holly. I am sorry about your grandmother. It is heartbreaking to watch them disappear.

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  26. My baby brother (14 months younger) is diagnosed with schizo-effective disorder. He was an athletic, caring, and respectful high school student and by the 2nd year of college his illness took full effect. I am grateful that I am able to have such a wonderful relationship with him still but instead of hanging out I take him to the doctor and instead of long road trips he is afraid that I will wreck the car and kill us on a simple trip to the store. I love my brother. It hurts to know I will never have nieces or nephews or meet the woman he would have found and married. When we've talked about it he simply says "I can't take care of myself how will I take care of other people." I am scared, I am scared to know one day my Mom and Dad will be older or gone and I will be responsible for yet another life. He has a wonderful relationship with my daughters and I am blessed with that. But the days he can't look me in the eyes, the days he can't sleep because he is too terrified of the nightmares he knows will come, and the days I have to explain to my girls why Uncle has to go to the doctor so much hurt.

    He was just granted disability. He is 27. It embarrasses him to know that he will never hold a full time job. He wants to be successful and wants a normal life.

    The fact is, my brother will never get "better". There will always be appointments, injections, and upping his dosages of meds. Thank you for sharing. I get it.

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    1. You are lucky to have each other. I am sorry you are going through this.
      My mother and sister live near my brother and I am so grateful that they are there and able to help him.
      Thank you.

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  27. Thank you for writing this.

    My sympathies for your whole family and all who have loved/lived with anyone with this terrifying disease.

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  28. I just want to hug you, Kerry. What mental illness steals is so painful, such an impossible thing, and I think you said it better and more honestly than I've ever heard. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you, Meredith. Sometimes, I dream about my brother and we are kids again. I wake up with the memory of who he was so clear in mind. Accepting the new normal is not so easy.

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  29. Yes it is a horrible disease, and it steals from everybody, especially the person who has to live with it. We have a right to grieve for our loved one's losses and struggles, but we have NO right to dismiss their lives as worthless. To do so is to add to the stigma and further ostracize & isolate our loved ones!
    Our loved ones are still human beings; they are not this disease; or rather that is not all they are. I watched my brother go through hell and back, and I see him as one of the most courageous, responsible, brave, DISCIPLINED people I know. I cannot imagine what it takes to live with a mind that one cannot trust, and learn how to recognize warning signs and turn away. How many of us can achieve this?
    It is better to rail at the lack of decent treatment! Many people do live worthwhile lives with this disease. Yes, they often lose the option for children, career, even a decent place to live! But more often they learn to live as best they can, with the kind of fortitude few of us can match.
    oH, BY THE WAY, THERE IS A MAGAZINE FOR PEOPLE WHO LIVE WITH SCHIZOPHRENIA PUBLISHED BY MAGPIE PUBLISHING. http://www.mentalwellnesstoday.com/our-mental-health-magazines/schizophrenia-sz-magazine
    Our loved ones are still the people we love, perhaps deeply buried, but suffering more than most of us could endure. Honor them for what they can hold onto. Curse the disease but love those who live with it.

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    1. Your brother is lucky to have you. Navigating life with a mental illness certainly does take greater bravery than I can ever imagine.
      I would never dismiss anyone's life as worthless. This is just me, grieving all that my brother has been robbed of.
      Thank you for sharing and for honoring your brother.

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  30. You're a good soul, Kerry. You're a good soul doing a good thing. Sharing this story sheds light on mental illness. It's the best way to fend off darness.

    Hugs.

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    1. Thank you, Nicole. This was gut wrenching to share but reading all of these touching comments has been so moving.

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  31. Good for you for so bravely sharing this. You have NOT become a coward. By speaking these words, you are standing up for him in a way most people never could - and you're helping others. We love you, and we're behind you, Kerry.

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    1. Putting our hearts to words is never easy. This was really difficult to share. Thank you so much, Robyn.

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  32. Yes, people may seem hopelessly lost when the disease is virulent & untreated, but not all people end up with ruined lives. The problem with this entry is that it reinforces the stereotypes. Better to curse the lack of decent treatment available to EVERYBODY that needs it.

    Having watched over a lifetime the terrible damage of epilepsy and mental illness on loved ones (and watching the pain of social isolation turning the screws tighter) I don’t say this lightly: People need to grieve at what is lost, and become willing to receive what remains.

    We either believe suffering is redeemed – even has spiritual meaning - or we don’t. If we can accept that suffering has meaning, grief can be lessened, even deepened into compassion.

    Below is a magazine published by someone who lives with the disease himself. It disproves the myths that surround mental illness:

    http://www.mentalwellnesstoday.com/our-mental-health-magazines/schizophrenia-sz-magazine

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    1. Suffering can certainly lead to deep compassion and spiritual meaning. Agreed.
      I did not intend to reinforce stereotypes. I shared my perspective. This was me sharing my grief.
      Thank you for your thoughts.

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    2. I don't think people realize how much mental illness effects the rest of the family; everybody shares the sorrow and the stigma. Thank you for sharing your sorrow; I am sorry if I seemed to minimize your experience. In our case, my brother is doing relatively well, largely because he has a lot of support from the community (the same community that made his adolescence hell - go figure) and he has ongoing effective treatment from county MH/MR agencies, the same agencies that are being decimated by inhuman budgetary priorities. I know my parents struggle every day of their lives with their sorrow, and with unwarranted guilt, and I do not think how they could have survived if he was untreated or homeless. We need more voices like yours to bring attention to this devastating illness.

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  33. What a heart wrenching tribute to your brother and your family. This couldn't have been easy to write, but I'm so glad you did. Prayers for your brother. Prayers for you and your family.

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    1. It was gut wrenching to share. Thank you, Amy.

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  34. Thanks for the referral to SZ Magazine on schizophrenia. Looks like SZ Magazine has a Facebook page too, with some good video responses to basic questions about the illness by Bill MacPhee.

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  35. Kerry, I can't even imagine what it took to write and publish this and to allow all of us such a raw and heartbreaking look into your world. It was brave and amazingly honest and I mourn your loss. Losing someone who still remains on the Earth sometimes is a heavier weight to bear. Love you.

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    1. All of these comments, all of the stories, make me so sad. So many families are going through this in silence and with so little resources. Thank you for your kind words.

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  36. Wow. You nailed how it truly is. Amazing, gut-wrenching writing. Hugs to you my friend.

    Ellen

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    1. Thank you, Ellen. This was the hardest thing to share.

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  37. My brother also suffers from sz. He is a very isolated person living most of his life in his head in his bedroom. I rarely visit my parents, because I have two young children who I would rather not expose to his unpredictable conversation topics. We have zero relationship left. I live in fear as to what will happen when my parents are no longer able to take care of him. I live in fear that my children will develop mental illness. So, I can completely relate. Thank you for letting me know I am not the only one.

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  38. Thank you for sharing this. My cousin, Tom, was an incredibly gifted high school student...valedictorian of his class, fluent in French, drop dead gorgeous. Then he went off to college. He made it through three years at University of Illinois, even spending one year at university in France, when he underwent some drastic changes. We thought he had gotten involved in drugs. He dropped out of college. Became a recluse. Eventually, through my amazing aunt's hard work and perseverance, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 24. Tom wouldn't give up, though. Even while battling that disease, he managed to finish college and graduate from UofI with honors. I still remember the last real conversation I had with him. I was graduating from high school, which means he would have been about 25 (he had been diagnosed at that time, but they hadn't shared the diagnosis with our extended family yet). I told him I was nervous about going to college. He told me to be strong and not to let anyone else do my thinking for me.
    Tom died of a pulmonary embolism as a result of breaking his hip in a fall off of a sidewalk 6 years ago. He was 37.
    My aunt is active with the NAMI organization in the St. Louis area. We'll never forget our beautiful cousin/son/brother/nephew/grandson.
    And you're right... F@ck you, Schizophrenia!!!

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    1. Oh, Beth. This is heartbreaking. I am so sorry.
      My mother is very active with NAMI also. They are doing amazing work.
      Small world- I live near the U of I.
      Thank you.

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  39. Hi Kerry!!

    I so sorry to hear about your beautiful brother. As a person who is on antidepressants, who tried to ween herself off because people around her were saying how bad being on them was. W E L L...When my husband came home he found me in the shower fully clothed and wanting to leave life. I explained to him what I was doing and he said F#&k them. If you feel better being on them, then take them. It's an illness and you're taking care of it.

    People have to be made aware that having a mental illness, like any illness, is not by choice and that they need understanding. I'm sorry about your brother Kerry and the heavy heart that schizophrenia has left for you. I hope that in the near future that they can find a cure that brings back your brother. Wouldn't that be something!!!

    My heart goes out to you and all the women who left comments that have this horrible disease in their family.

    Pam
    xox

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    1. Thank you, Pam. I am so sorry you had to go through that. Whatever you need to do is YOUR choice - your family needs you. You are worth taking care of, meds or no.
      I love you even more.

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  40. Oh Kerry, this made me cry. I worked in various group homes for adults with mental illness so I have a giant soft spot. Thank you for sharing your story and i'm so sorry your family is going through this. I know this doesn't really compare but I can kind of relate on a much smaller scale. I have a brother with Klinefelters Syndrome which is a genetic disorder that can cause behavioral problems. My brother's life has been rough (especially since our mom died when he was only 14) and I dread it when friends or family who haven't seen me in a while ask me how my brother is doing or what he's up too because usually it's not good.

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    1. When you love someone with mental illness, it certainly gives you a soft spot, huh? I'm sorry about your mother, too. What a traumatic thing to happen so young. Thank you for your kind words.

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  41. thank you for saying what a lot of us are too choked up to say. my oldest brother is schizo (I still can't spell it), too. and you've hit the nail on the head. my heart broke as I read this. tears are running down my face. and I am saying a silent prayer for all of us.

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    1. Thank you, Monica. When I look I childhood pictures, it's hard to remember that it is the same little boy. Is your brother near you? Is he in a home or living independently?

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  42. Aww dammit. I got on here to quick check my inbox, then I saw you wrote ANOTHER post and I haven't had time to read your other wonderful posts yet because life is making it difficult for me to sit on my ass and read blogs all day which is what I REALLY want to do...so I said, "Self...it's just one post. Go ahead and read it even though you should be getting snacks ready for the softball game and taking the dog out to shit..." And now I'm crying for you and your loss...I totally get your anger and fear for your children. And your inability to totally accept it. I get it. *hugs* :( Now...where's the dog. Probably shitting in my bedroom.

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    1. Fitting that I read your comment at a softball game. That "just one post" will get you every time! Thank you for your kindness, Adrienn.

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  43. Thank you for sharing your story. I know the trials of schizophrenia well, because I was diagnosed with it when I was seventeen. I've been on medication for 13 years now, and I will be on it until the day I die. I can honestly tell you that being diagnosed was not the end of my life, but the start. The deluded, lonely and depressed girl has gone and made way for a confident, sane and smart woman. No I can't work full time, but I have a part time job I love. I met and married a wonderful man, and through careful planning we have a beautiful daughter.

    If you want help explaining your brother's schizophrenia to your children (and to the cluckers) there is a wonderful book called Mummy has a broken brain - schizophrenia is too big a word.

    I know you must worry about your children developing schizophrenia, I worry about my baby girl too. But you are in the best position to recognise the symptoms and get them treated as early as possible.

    Your brother is not lost. The person you mourn for was not who he is. He had a chance for a happy future now. Get to know the new one, and help him find it.

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    1. What a wonderful way to start my day. Your note so touched me and is so inspiring. I am so happy that your medications are helping. Thank you beyond the mountaintops!

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  45. OK, wiping all the tears away now.

    I was 6 when Schizophrenia took my mother, my brother was 14 months older than me and Schizophrenia took him as well. He passed away, alone, a couple years ago. I found out the day they cremated his body since nobody knew to claim him and properly say goodbye. It was such a odd mix of emotion when I was making peace with his death. I was relieved and happy that he was given a reprieve to his horror. However, I found I had to finally spend the time to grieve the little boy who was my best friend who was lost years ago while I was grateful he had found peace.

    I hope your brother can find peace. And I really fucking hope they get some research done and figure out how to protect all our children before the Schizophrenia switch has a chance to flip on and take them to a place worse then death.

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    1. Angie, I am so sorry. A double "fuck you" to schizophrenia. It is cruel to everyone it haunts. I'm sorry for you, for your mother and your brother. May you find some peace.
      Thank you, Angie.

      Delete
  46. Not schizophrenia but bipolar in my family. My Mom, my brother and me. I know how you feel with watching your kids praying they won't be affected. I hide inside myself, because there is nothing else I can do. The world sees happy calm woman and inside I am screaming. I'm still here but the person the world sees isn't me. It can never be me. I as I am inside my head isn't good for me, my family, or the world. I struggle daily with bad things inside my head. Thank you for this post. It helps.

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    1. Thank you for your honest, raw words. I am so sorry for your battle. You are so brave. Do you have a support system that you can trust?
      Sending you big love.

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    2. Yeah, and all of the examples of what not to do. Remember we are still in here, maybe not the same, but we are still here. When I sit back and watch myself become crazy mom/wife/sister I am still inside. I know its wrong even, but I can't do anything about it except trust my husband when he says to go take a break. Just the perspective from the other side of it.

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  47. Wow this was an amazing post but so understandable.. Schizophrenia is so incredibly hard to deal with. I knew someone who's young son has it and what they both go through on a daily basis is a living hell.. I truly pray that you and your brother can find some peace through this incredibly difficult maze...

    Much Love
    Robyn

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    1. Thank you, Robyn. You chose the perfect word- it is a maze.

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  48. You described the feelings perfectly. My brilliant, tender husband became someone else while I was in labor with our first child. His bipolar disorder just eclipsed him. After a while he was not safe to be around anymore, and he is now lost to the world of jails and hospitals. He has access to treatment but refuses to participate. Our son is now 8 years old, still struggling with the pain and puzzle of losing his father, and I so desperately wish I could have some assurance that this won't happen to him. And I still wonder... beneath all the venom and vitriol, the threats and blame, is the man I married still locked inside that body? Is there something I could have done to change this outcome?

    Thanks so much for writing this out. I know it can be really hard for people to understand, especially when family members have to protect themselves, when they are powerless to help the person who refuses and may blame the family for their problems. There are so many emotions that come with this territory--the grief you express here, complicated by anger, guilt, shame, and fear.

    It's true, as others have mentioned, that mental health access and funding are insufficient. But there are also legal issues that prevent any meaningful treatment for those whose illness convinces them they are not ill. This is a terrible tragedy. Even minor attempts to address this problem, like Laura's Law in California, have not been implemented, but the discussion continues.

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    1. As someone with bipolar disorder yes he is in there, or at least the person he was trying to be is still in there.

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    2. I am so sorry you and your boy are going through this. I'm sorry for your husband's battle. Mental illness is cruel.
      Thank you for your words- well said and from the heart.

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  49. I'm late reading this, Kerry but I'm so glad I got here finally. This is just heartbreaking and I thank you for sharing. I haven't had this experience and I appreciate the chance to gain some understanding so I can support others. I'm so sorry.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. It is a hard conversation to have.

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  50. Thank you for sharing this, Kerry. Just stopping by from the Honest Voices linkup, with some tears and prayers for your brother.

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    1. Oh, how I love Honest Voices! Thank you, Maggie!

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  51. This just tore my heart out. I know all those feelings.

    But in my case, it's not a sibling, but the love of my life, the father of my children, who I now live thousands of miles away from because I'm scared of him, even though I still love the him-that-used-to-be with all my heart.

    And of course, there's the fear for my kids too...one chose at age 18 to go live with him because "he needs help" and "he loves me, mom! He wouldn't hurt me!" (forgetting the childhood broken bones that he caused????) and the fact that both of them are at higher risk of following down the same path as their father.

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    1. Oh, no. This is heartbreaking. No matter what, no matter how old we are, we still want our parents approval. I am so sorry that you are going through this. It must be wrenching as a mother. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  52. I have lived with a mental illness diagnosis for 10 years now. I started out for the first 9 years with the diagnosis of schizophrenia, and over the past 1 1/2 years or so, I have had the diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder. I have participated in over 100 studies to improve the mental health system. I am struggling, every day, to survive mentally and emotionally, I still have memories of the "Real Me" before I got sick. I was the same way. I felt attractive, and I had a rather sound self-esteem, I had talents, had begun a career path... the illness, the medications, took that away from me, and as much as I fight, they continue to take that away from me, continue to tear me down. It's like you're always given the choice, "Life? Or death?" I choose life, but it is at great cost. I am writing from a mental health facility. I am in my late 20's. I wonder sometimes if my life is almost over, or towards the end. I haven't dated much, never been married, I'm not sure that I will have any children. Trying to get a job that I can handle long term is challenging. I would like to be able to support myself financially, and before all this I was on the right track.

    I am trying to survive this. There is help sometimes, when you're about spent, and then it starts again. A lot of times I feel like the rocks are slipping underneath my feet as I try to walk up this seemingly endless mountain. I did not ask for this. When people say things like, "Well, it sounds like you have an exciting and eventful life," I want to punch them in the face. Because there are people out there who are bored. You know what? If you're bored, go into the mental health field. We could really use your help.

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