Even when having schizophrenia is the hardest on me, I try to present it to others as an illness that isn’t as difficult as it is. I don’t know why it is vital for me to show it in a more accessible and more positive light. I guess because I want people to treat me like they would anyone else. I want to belong. I want a community. I don’t always want to be an outsider.
The truth of schizophrenia can and is devastating. That doesn’t mean there is no hope or that some people don’t thrive despite the illness. A mother, whose son, Nick, has schizophrenia, sent me her memoir to read, and I found her story, her family’s story heartbreaking. Not only did schizophrenia threaten to tear all of their lives apart, Miriam, the author, exposes her feelings of guilt, of failing, or not making the right choices for her son.
At one point in the book, Miriam cries out to God to give her a map for handling the treatment and care of a child with a severe brain illness. At that time, she desperately wanted direction, guidance, knowledge and frequently found herself in a position to act alone.
I think, as a community, we need to embrace and accept every person’s experience with schizophrenia because no two stories are the same. I would like everyone with the illness to find meaning, hope, and some form of fulfillment in their life. I don’t get to choose how the disease impacts every life it touches, none of us do.
I hope you will read Miriam Feldman’s book He Came In With It: A Portrait of Motherhood and Madness. I know even if it doesn’t directly follow your or your family’s experience, your heart will go out to her family, you’ll identify with all of their humanity and will root for Nick to find some sense of normalcy.
The writing is superb. The sentences often sing.
Let’s support one of our own by buying and reading a book that shows a glimpse into the tragedy schizophrenia can be for many people and those they love.
* How can we help this writer? By preordering her book. Preorders mean almost everything in the publishing world. Here is the link on Amazon.