Thursday, July 16, 2009

Schizophrenia as We Know It

I'm reading a blog that a reader here sent me a link to. It is the father of a 6 yr old girl with severe Schizophrenia. I have found great comfort reading his story. Their little girl has been hospitalized for a very long time and their struggles with insurance and finding a safe solution for their family is horrifying. He is a wonderful writer that talks about his own flaws and the many mistakes he has made along the way. He is very good at explaining what his family is going through. I have spent a good deal of time crying for his child and mine in the last 2 days. They all have such a hard life in front of them.

I have learned more about the illness through his blog than I had from our many professionals. I had held out a tiny bit of me hoping that my children were not Schizophrenic. I had hoped they would heal. Perhaps they were lying for attention. I was in denial. There is no doubt in my mind that both Michael and Patches have it.

It is different for everyone afflicted with this horrible illness. Patches has more of the other symptoms and her visual and auditory hallucinations are minimized with her meds. What I thought was her social anxiety really is that she thinks everyone is talking about her. She truly thinks that when people are laughing at her EVERY time she hears a giggle in public. Both kids have a thought disorder, actually Ruthie has many of the symptoms including this one. These children can not tell you a simple thought. It comes out all mixed up and jacked around. You have to commit to listening for a long time to figure out what they are trying to say.

Their rages are for no reason. Their reactions are inappropriate for the situation. They are triggered by nothing that I can find, most of the time. They are unpredictable. They are irrational. I talk calmly until they come back to me. The video I have shown of Patches is well into it when I am certain she is coming back to me. I haven't been able to get a decent one of Michael b/c he is so violent that I have to hold him until he calms. Ruthie is the same. Hers are not as frequent since her meds but she goes the farthest away with her fits. She is not there. I can't explain it any better than that. She becomes someone else. All three have psychotic episodes that they can not control. I can not get through to them during these. I can not rationalize with them.

They have no interest in developing friendships. They will on occasion play with others but not in an interactive way. It is a little different at home. They feel understood, accepted here and will make some effort to join in. Until they lose control and then all bets are off.

Personal hygiene is foreign to them. I try to engage them in age appropriate things like washing themselves, using toilet tissue, brushing their hair and teeth but they seem to care only in waves. When they are having a difficult time, these are the first things to go. Patches begins to wet herself day and night. She smells like she has rolled in doo doo. Her hair is not brushed and her teeth and breath are nasty after I repeatedly ask. Michael and Ruthie are a little better at this but it is an ongoing issue. As their meds and behavior improves, so does this area. I do not feel it is to upset me as it once seemed. I feel it is just truly out of their capability to care.

I received the results for Patches brain scan a few weeks ago. It proves she has damage that she was born with. She is chemically not functioning. Her brain is also functioning very slow like it is asleep. We have to speak to the specialist to fully understand what is happening but the short version is that Patches brain shows she has issues that are causing psychotic episodes. We can do some repairs to her brain but it will never function properly. She will be forced to remain on medication to control her outbursts and hallucinations.

6 comments:

Mrs. Roma said...

Thank you so much for posting this. My daughter has been diagnosed as having possible schizophrenia and there is very little information or even descriptions of the disorder in a child so young. This will really help shed some light.

Mothering4Money said...

There are several decent books out there on schizophrenia. Look at your local library - read everything you can find. Treating the illness with medication at a younger age, as soon as possible, can actually help the child have a better quality of life later on. The longer schizophrenia is allowed to run rampant without medication, the more harm it seems to do. I understand somewhat that it is hard to admit that your child has schizophrenia. My sister is schizophrenic and I have commented before about her story, I think, but our parents were in denial for far too long. My own daughter shows signs sometimes and it scares the living daylights out of me. We aim for stability, or as much as can be obtained with schizophrenia, but there are always relapses and med resistance and med side effects. I hope that your children are able to find the right medication for them and that you are able to find the services and support to help y'all get through it all. Take care of yourself too. xoxo

Mrs. Roma said...

I must have seriously been reading this guys blog a step behind you all last night. I am SO grateful you posted this- it has shed so much light on my daughter's situation. I'm going to blog about it later- but I pretty much have had the same reaction as you have- I feel mighty convinced that this may be exactly what's going on with her. Some of this little girls behaviors are identical to our daughters. Again, I'm so thankful you shared this- like you said, His writing is more helpful and informative than ANY doctor we've seen.

Nichole said...

Sorry to ask so many questions, but with Patches, what was the brain damaged caused from? Neglect or trauma? Both?

With Michael do you think it was environmental/genetic or does he have brain damage as well?

Tudu said...

Nichole, I really don't understand the results very well myself. I was told that the scan proves her issues are not from her environment or neglect. She has a genetic component to it, like a mental illness. I am not even sure that is correct, LOL. I will know more after I have a chance to talk to the doctor and our AT again.

Nichole said...

Thanks, I have heard about it and seen the signs of it in children before, but I guess it's hard to accept that diagnosis. I've always thought of it as an adult disease because you hear about it surfacing in the later teens and college years. Off to google in the meantime...