The Author

My Photo
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
I am overcoming schizophrenia, and I believe others can too. Here is how I am managing my condition...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Families Need Support Too

Not only does the person living with a mental illness need support but the family of the patient need support too. In my opinion, the family needs support especially in the early stages of diagnosis. Support could be sharing personal stories, gathering advice on how to cope with schizoprhenia, and networking with other families who has a member with schizophrenia.

While I was going through my episode my family played an intricate part in my recovery. My mother visited me everyday in the hospital and in jail. Again, I went to jail for stealing a military truck while having a psychotic break.

Although difficult to do, my family had the judge mandate medication compliance, because I was not eating, bathing, or speaking to anyone my illness had taken over. My mother had the support of my step-father, family, and her girlfriend, Botaya, who was a probation officer, and had experience in the mental health department. Botaya directed my mother through the steps to encourage my attorney to enable the judge to mandate that I take medication.

The diagnosis was hard on my family. I was shocked at the thought of having a mental disability too, and I did not want to take medication. My mother and other members of my family did not know what to do. So, my mother and sister attended National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) meetings and groups offered by the hospital I was staying in.

Here are some schizophrenia support groups that you could check out:
  • Recovery International at http://www.recovery-inc.org/index.html Recovery International is a Chicago-based self-help non-profit, non-sectarian, mental health organization that was founded in 1937.
  • SchizophreniaConnection.Com http:/www.healthcentral.com/schizophrenia/support-groups.html SchizophreniaConnection.com is a blog that offers support and advice for people living with schizophrenia and for people that have family and friends living with schizophrenia
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness at http://www.nami.org Founded in 1979, NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots organization for people living with a mental illness and their families.
Now I work closely with the neighborhood mental health clinic, NAMI chapter, and SchizophreniaConnection.com blog with the support of family. I hope these resources were beneficial to you, if you have other support groups that you want me to list leave a comment with the website and a brief blurb about the group, and I will update this post with your support group.

7 comments:

Wandering Coyote said...

I agree wholeheartedly with this. Mental illness is really hard on all relationships, including with family members. I always worry and feel guilty about the stress I put on my family, but I know they will never let me down. We have a support group here for people coping with a loved one with mental illness, and it's run by good folks from the psychiatric ward who know what they're doing, and I know from what I've heard that it's a great group.

HektikLyfe said...

How do you appreciate or show your support for a family that has done so much for you? That must be hard.

I know I couldn't live up to everything my family has done for me.

Ronen said...

You are absolutely right!

I also think that both sufferers and families, don't have inough information, and they need to search it on their own...

Ronen said...

You are absolutely right!

I also think that both sufferers and families, don't have inough information, and they need to search it on their own...

Vivienne said...

Hello lovely Ashley, I have tried to post a link on the comment field but it won't let me so if you have a quick second drop by my blog and have a look. It's an Xmas message from moi to you :) And it'll make you smile.

Dano MacNamarrah said...

Valash,

It says a lot about you and your family, in your honest post. The fact that they stood by you, even to the point of court ordered medication, shows incredible integrity, strength and love.

It is important to speak clearly about our experiences. The more we do, the smaller the stigma attached to a mental diagnoses becomes.

Knowledge is power.

~CLL said...

Firstly, thanks for your blog and the insight you provide. You are definitely helping in the fight against stigma.

My father has been mentally ill for a number of years now. He has been diagnosed and treated in the past, but is so quiet about the subject that my siblings and I never knew the diagnosis. As an RN, it seems to me he likely has schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.

He has not taken meds for a number of years and his paranoia and delusions go in cycles of a little better or a little worse, usually influenced by stress. Right now he is especially paranoid and his delusions are more complex.

My siblings and I do our best to support him and encourage him to seek professional assistance, but he thinks there is nothing wrong and will not listen. We feel that other than our encouragement we have run out of options to help him. Is there anything else that we should try in order to help him see that he is mentally ill, and that he can live a much happier and healthier life if only he would accept treatment, or even that there is something wrong?