Watching Family Suffer With Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia - schizophrénie

Schizophrenia – schizophrénie (Photo credit: http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca)

Here is a journal entry I wrote last night.

I hate having to watch my brother suffer. He developed schizophrenia about 6 years ago and it still affects him today. I don’t think people realize that. It was extremely tough back when he first got it because we weren’t exactly sure what was going on with him. We knew he wasn’t himself and wasn’t “in his right mind”.

He had been at a sports camp because back then he was really into running and competing in road races and track events. He still runs but his mind doesn’t seem to allow him the joy like he used to have. My parents picked him up early from camp because he had called and hadn’t been having a good time.

It was scary that first night he came home. He was crying and thought he was going to die. Looking back I think he probably had a panic attack but it was really scary at the time. My whole family was crying and not sure of what exactly was all going on with him. My dad called 911 and they took him to the hospital. The hospital didn’t see anything wrong with him but kept him overnight for observation.

The next day he came home. Because this was during harvest season and my dad was a farmer, he was on the field and my mom and oldest brother were at baseball or something like that. (I don’t actually remember where my mom and oldest brother were at this time. They may have been on the field too.) So it was my brother who came home from the hospital earlier that day and my two younger brothers at home.

I remember some of the details of that day very clearly. It was July 27th (it was my oldest brother’s birthday the day my second oldest brother came home from the sports camp). I was sitting on the couch watching a Winnipeg Blue Bombers game. Not long after Milt Stegall broke the CFL’s touchdown record, my brother started acting strange. Strange because it wasn’t normal for him.

Wrapped up in a blanket, he got up from the seat he had been sitting on beside me and walked out the door. I followed him because I was worried about him. He got into one of our vehicles and was going to drive to church because he wanted to be baptized. I tried stopping him and thankfully my mom thought ahead and hid all the keys to the vehicles. That didn’t stop him. He decided he was going to walk to church. We had a two-way radio in our house so we could communicate with people on the field. I quickly radioed my dad and told him what was going on. Then, I ran outside to try and stop my brother.

Just before he could cross the road, my dad drove up in a grain truck and got him back to the house. Later when my mom came home, they brought him to a hospital farther away but was more prepared to handle situations like my brothers. From there he was transported to the mental ward of a hospital in Winnipeg.

It took weeks to diagnose what he had as schizophrenia and it took even longer than that for them to get the right combination of meds to combat his symptoms.

It was a long process for him to get where he is now where most people wouldn’t realize he had schizophrenia unless someone said something about it. Even now when his symptoms start to rear their ugly head most people wouldn’t even notice. However, I know him well enough and am perceptive enough that I could tell they were rearing their head at supper time. He is aware of the symptoms and often takes meds when he needs to.

I’m glad he’s aware of them because otherwise he might have another relapse and that would be difficult for our family as well as him.

It’s difficult to see him suffer. I just wish I could take it away from him. It also occasionally wants me to make those who abused him at camp pay for how they treated him. (I don’t want to necessarily get into what they did as I don’t entirely know all the facts and don’t remember all of the details I had learned back then.)

It’s been about six and a half years since he first was hospitalized because of his schizophrenia and he’s never been the same since. My dad made a comment to me a little over a week ago that character/personality wise he was very close to being the same as he was before he got sick.

I’ve seen it at times too. However when things like this happen, I hurt for him.

Here I am, with tears in my eyes, wishing he didn’t have to deal with this illness.

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Back to School Anxiety and Adjusting

English: An anxious person

English: An anxious person (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Right now, I’m sitting in a classroom waiting for my class to start. Today is the official first day of classes while yesterday we had an orientation. I think I’ll enjoy the program but I know that my anxiety will but a shadow on the classes itself.

I’ve wondered what exactly is causing my anxiety so I can better combat it. I think the part that gets me anxious the most is the busing to get to school because there is so much to know and look out for. I need to be aware of which bus I need to take, what time it will be arriving at the bus stop so I can be early, when I need to get off, where I’m going once I get off the bus, etc. It can all be a bit overwhelming for me. Because of it, I haven’t been able to eat much the past couple of days and I’ve actually gone to bed really early.

All the changes and new things I need to get used to, all produce anxiety to some degree. I have to get used to living in a new place, sleeping in a new bed, the noise levels, the unavailability of wireless internet connections, the food, busing, new people, new schedules, a new building and having to find my way around.

I seem to be fine once I get in the classroom with the people in my program, though. So I’ll have to see how it goes. There have been times when I want to quit but I’m not a quitter. I’ll at least stick out the week and see how it is after that.

I know it may take a while before my anxiety is under control for this year because when I first went to SBC, the school before this one, it took at least a week and I seem to think it may have taken a couple of weeks.

I’ve been so tired these past two days, it’s been ridiculous. On Sunday, when I arrived at my aunt’s (who I’m staying with for the school year), I went to bed at around 10:30 which is early for me. Yesterday, I took a nap after I returned from orientation and I rarely take naps. I’ve probably doubled my naps this year. Then, in the evening, I felt really tired again and was in bed before 9:30. When at SBC, I would never go to bed before 11:00 so this is very uncharacteristic of me. It might have something to do with waking up every couple of hours in the night and waking up early. Yesterday, I got up out of bed at 6:30am so it kind of makes sense why I’d need a nap in the afternoon.

Anyways, enough of boring you with the changes in my life and my sleeping patterns. Hope all of you enjoy your days.

The Possibility of Meeting with an Anxiety Group

Anxiety - Stress ... Time management vital for...

Anxiety – Stress … Time management vital for finals — cancel your Netflix subscription (7:45 PM, Nov. 28, 2012) …item 2b.. Muddy Waters – After The Rain – Full Album (1969) … (Photo credit: marsmet481)

The other day, I received a letter from a hospital in downtown Winnipeg about partaking in one of their anxiety groups. At the beginning of last summer, I attended two sessions of a quick start to overcoming anxiety program at the hospital I had been referred for by the psychiatrist who works with my mental health worker that I had been seeing last year. The letter I received from the hospital said I should contact them if I want an appointment to see if I would be a fit for one of their anxiety groups. Part of me wants to just let the deadline they set for contacting them pass without calling them so I don’t have to go.

I mean, I’ll have to meet with people I don’t know, which I don’t enjoy doing. I’ll have to go to downtown Winnipeg, either by driving or by taking the bus. Both don’t excite me and I can’t always have my mom come with me which is what I normally do in these types of situations. I’ll have to go downtown by myself and I could totally make a fool of myself at any time.

I’ll have to talk about my problems face-to-face with people I don’t know which scares me. I will undoubtedly feel anxious and may even throw up because of it. (Nausea is one of the symptoms I get when I am anxious and I have thrown up numerous times because of it.)

English: Signs & Symptoms of Anxiety

English: Signs & Symptoms of Anxiety (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t need to go, right? I’ve improved enough in my anxiety disorder I don’t need to go, right? I can handle this on my own. It may be beneficial but I don’t need to go.

Oh, who am I kidding. The very fact that I don’t want to go should be evidence enough I should go. Anyone could read what I’ve written here and know that I should probably go.

But it’s so scary. I know a lot of people won’t understand this. Making the phone call itself scares me.

Why can’t I be like most of the people I know? They seem so sure of themselves. They do new things all the time without a second thought.

Why can’t I strike up conversations with people and make it look easy? Why can’t I make and answer phone calls without dreading them? Why can’t I do things without worrying about everything?

Why do I have to get anxious and feel like I’m going to implode? Why do I have to get nauseous, light-headed, sweaty, have difficulty breathing because of rapid breathing and my heart’s beating a mile a minute?

Why can’t I be like the normal people I see around me?

Because I’m not. I wish I was but I’m not. I’m the loner who stays to herself because it’s safer (although I do also enjoy, sometimes). I don’t feel like my body’s going to implode when I stay in my bubble. I may occasionally get depressed because of it but that’s still better than the feelings of discomfort and panic that occur when I try to step out of my bubble.

Maybe I will not contact the anxiety program at the hospital. My body will most likely thank me for not putting it through the symptoms that come with my anxiety. I know my heart-rate and breathing are already slowing down just thinking about not phoning them.

Besides, when I am at work, I see the growth I have accomplished with my anxiety disorder and maybe, just maybe that growth is enough I don’t need to call them and can continue to grow in it by myself.