Sunday, February 18, 2007

Life Interrupted

What happened to this week? I mean, really, I have no idea. I know I have added nothing to this blog (and possibly the world) during the last (gulp) 10 days...

It was not because something of massive import occurred in this neck of the woods - a bit rainy, a little bit of work on, a few appointments but nothing special - nothing to say THIS is the reason for slackness...

I would like to lay some blame on my organisational skills - not because they were so slack and therefore I never got around to the "blog" tickbox - rather because they were so good I got organised out of getting around to the "blog" tickbox!!!

Last weekend (seems so long ago now) my sweetheart came to visit - as with most of our weekends together, this was a pretty blissful 44 hours - especially as it was 48 hours, as nature gave him an early mark on the Friday! But additionally, we actually gave ourselves a goal of finishing 2 projects - and achieved them!!!

The week was fairly trouble free - I do some freelance work from home, and apart from the time factor, the sporadic phone calls from people who have no idea what I do, what I did, howI do it or why - only that it was once done and they want it done the same way again (they would be called clients) and the pulling my hair out when something very logical falls over this inconveniences me in no way.

As I had the "never got around to stuff last week" blues, however, I gave myself a timetable... And therefore, I was only allowed to "browse" for a very small portion of the day - and that limited time was further curbed by my internet connection deciding that, as I was not going to pay as much attention to it as I had done so in the past, it was going to sulk and work really, really, REALLY slowly - well, not so much slowly as not at all for whole 2-5 minute periods of my life - which led me to frustration and when I am led to frustration I do not cope with irritating factors in my life.

Anyhow, that was not really what I wanted to blog about today, and it offers me a nice segue into what I really wanted to blurge.

On the weekend just gone, I did indulge in a little reading (as I finally got to the library last week). The book I read over the weekend was Anne Deveson's "Tell Me I'm Here" - about her son's battle with schizophrenia and about her battle with trying to get help for her family and her son during that time.

It was a fantastically written book, and so very real for me. Five and a half years ago, my daughter's father died as a result of schizophrenia, and the nightmare that he had to live through due to the illness, and the nightmare that his family and my family had to live through due to the complete lack of support was a very horrible reality.

The worst part of the nightmare, really, is that it is an ongoing situation for many families.

You cannot get any support or care plans in place as they are adults who tend to refuse consent to getting treatment. Imagine for a moment that the thing you trust most in the world - your own mind, the organ that makes sense of the outside world - tells you that your family, your loved ones, the medical institutions - are all trying to poison or alter you. And then these people tell you that you have to trust them and allow them to do so.

You cannot get any support from health practitioners. For a start, it is amazing how lucid and sane a sufferer can seem when presenting to a doctor. Generally, people who suffer from schizophrenia are quite intelligent and sensitive people - and they can slip on the mask and twist a story to make it seem like you, the loved ones, are the ones in mental anguish - which you are by that time! This intelligence stands them in good stead twisting their reality to seem quite logical.

Generally it takes a sufferer to become a risk to themselves or others before they will get any treatment whatsoever.

Even if you do get some support from your local GP or your loved one is collected by the cops and taken to a mental health unit, underfunding and lack of a cohesive system of communication in the health system means that the hospital want to release a patient as soon as possible. Quite often patients are released into the "care of the community" without even notifying family of their prognosis, their treatment or even their release.

The complete lack of knowledge and understanding in society also affects a family's ability to reach out for any help. It was not until her son died that my daughter's grandmother said "if I had known he could die I would have done more" - the worst bit is that there is not much she could have done anyway.

There are still people in society that believe it is "acting out", "bad breeding", "drug induced" or even the result of "poor parenting". While a lot of mental illness does have an element of drug abuse in it, it is quite often a chicken and egg scenario - are the drugs used as self-medication, or did they trigger the illness? And while a child of a sufferer is 10 times more likely to be at risk, there is still a chance that 1 in 100 people in the general public will with no genetic predisposition.

A lot of people have many misconceptions about the illness. About violence associated with sufferers. About it rubbing off onto them. About it not really existing at all. Schizophrenia is real - and its probably happening in a family near you.

There is no real point but a ramble to my blog today. I know another family going through one of their loved one's episodes at the moment and wish them my heartiest support and sympathy and hope. And I truly truly wish there was a cure, that everything could be okay and that I could help in any way.


strauss said...

I am glad you have been having a good week Jeanie, I have been checking frequently. Nothing like an eager audience to add to your life ;)
Your post about schizophrenia was very interesting. I have worked with teh mentally ill and the support patients with a mental illness receive is erally quite terrible. Having said that, as you say, the misconceptions about mental illness ensure many families keep the condition under wraps until the situation gets out of control.
Thanks for sharing that. I feel for your family in having to endure that illness, the symptoms can be so terribly self-defeating.

Anonymous said...

I've heard how frustrating it can be to get help for schizophrenia sufferers and the lack of mental health support in Australia is just disgusting. Very short sighted of the government!

Tracey said...

Ditto to the above. I too have been checking you daily and missing your posts.

But then you come back with a really powerful one about something that is so misunderstood, and which, of all the various mental illnesses, still carries a big stigma, so noone talks about it, and so, the battle for so many continues.

Jay said...

Any time spent reading is naturally exciting to me (am I a book worm or what?) but I was glad to see that particular title. I read it not long ago myself, and thought it was pretty great. It's hard to write so honestly.