The first meeting of our support group went really well. We had a great group. One parent has two sick children--two of her three had serious mental illness, and one has died of his disease. This parent reports:
I consider mental illness a terminal illness. My son committed suicide, but he died of his disease. If my son had had any other disease, cancer, etc., I wouldn't ask him to stay here and suffer. That's how I consider mental illness. NO matter how it ends, it's terminal. And none of us would ask our children to stay here with us and suffer.
Another mother from Annapolis had great ideas about some alternative methods of treating serious mental illness that neither of us had heard of. Her son suffers from schizophrenia, as mine did. He was older than Zaccaria at the onset. We discussed what can impact our children's progress and prognosis. We discussed re-diagnosis, which happens very often (VERY) and sometimes with adverse consequences.
Out of three of us present, two of us have children who are deceased. What's interesting is that one mom had a "one and done" episode in her history, when she was a young adult. Certainly I've had my own share of mental health diagnoses since my son Zaccaria was stricken in 2008. First I got panic attacks. They soon became crippling, 4 or 5 a day, with vomiting and sobbing. I took Klonopin to relieve them, but I couldn't stay on it all day every day because I was lethargic and sleepy. The panic disorder became an anxiety disorder, and the vomiting with the panic attacks became anorexia/bulimia. If I ate, the food tasted like metal and I had to spit it out. If I did accomplish eating, I threw up. Soon the throwing up became an instant, unavoidable response. With time, care and medicine, and lots of therapy, to the tune of nearly 12 thousand dollars in uninsured therapy appointments a year, I overcame these issues. When my son died this January, I finally felt free of depression.
We talked about a little bit about cognitive deficits, and for the next meeting, I'm supplying information on Cognitive defects and problems in psychotic illnesses.
We felt a kinship with each other and we opened up about our stories, even the parts that are hard to speak to. And we had a few snacks a glass of wine. We want to extend the invitation to all of you. Come to the next meeting. Find Friendship and Comfort with other Care Givers. We promise you'll enjoy yourselves!