I just completed reading The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok which was a very good memoir written by the daughter of a Schizophrenic. The lives depicted in the book were devastated by the disease.
In 1981 I was diagnosed with severe Paranoid Schizophrenia. Over the years I was hospitalized several times and lived with and without medication. My diagnosis was changed to Schizo-Affective Disorder in more recent years. I have been fortunate enough to have family who stepped in to help me whenever I was unable to care for myself. There were times I completely lost my sense of reality, but my family acted as advocates to get me the care I needed to return to productive life. Had my mother, in particular, not stood beside me when I was debilitated by my disease, I would have probably become homeless and possibly would have died.
I managed to raise my son to become a wonderful young man. He is now a United States Marine. His childhood was mostly a happy one. There were several times I became briefly incapacitated, but for the majority of the time I was an active parent.
Now I am caregiver to my mother who has Parkinson’s Disease and other serious health issues. I am honored to be a help to my Mom who has so kindly helped me through the years.
Every day is a challenge, because even on medication, my mind does not function like that of a disease free person. There are times when I must concentrate extremely hard to maintain focus. There are moments when I fight irrational fears. I have difficulty believing in myself. At times it is very tempting to stop taking my medication, because it does somewhat stifle my creativity and expressiveness.
I thank God I have been able to live as productive and happy a life as I have.