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Case study of family member with Catatonic Schizophrenia

A case study of person who’s Mother has Catatonic Schizophrenia which is also me – written in early 2009…

I have had a close experience with Catatonic Schizophrenia ever since I was born – a close family member, my Mother, has it. I have learnt a lot from my experiences of this disorder through my Mother.

Life was difficult when I was young, and as a result, all of our family have been affected in some way.

When I was younger, and at school, my Mother’s schizophrenia caused me problems – I was bullied and young children do have a habit of loudly exclaiming their thoughts. Their mothers knew, and my Mum was ignored by many of them when she picked me up, and I could not have many friends round my house, for fear of my mother doing or saying something ridiculous or nasty. My mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and that is now nearly 52 years ago. She is now on medication, and is much better, but the past caused her many problems and I do not agree with many things that went on, including her many doses of electric shock treatment. She had a lot of that during her many years in hospital and I would like to find out if they were doing it to shut her and the others up, so they were more manageable or whether it really was necessary? The thing is, she was not violent, and catatonia causes one to withdraw, not lash out.

After many years of taking sides with both of them, I realise today, that my father has been committed in his marriage to my Mother, which is worth a medal. Unfortunately, most of his ‘protection’ and ‘support’ has been with his wife and his children have suffered as a result. Although in many ways I find it difficult to understand why four children were born into this family, but I realise that my Father didn’t know better – he was told by certain doctors that having children would benefit my Mother and her disease, without a thought for the children that would be born and would discover the down sides of that decision and advice.

My Mother has suffered many years in psychiatric hospitals, due to bouts of catatonia and attempted suicide. She has not been supported enough by the NHS and we, as family members have not been supported either – I have never been approached for counselling or help as a child born to my Mother and this disease, yet I spent the first 6 years of my life visiting her in hospital at various times.

My siblings and I did not receive the attention and care that we needed, and we all went down our own paths as children, without much interaction from our parents. Our lack of knowledge of her symptoms and how to help meant that we were all living our own lives in denial. I have suffered guilt, pain, hate, love and many more emotions due to my Mother’s problems.

My siblings would have seen a very different mum to me – someone who was always trying to commit suicide, wading into the sea, rocking in the chair at home, depressed and in her own world, up and down like a yo yo. I did not get those symptoms to the same degree, but instead saw lots of anger.

When I was eight years old and sick of hearing the shouting and arguments and my Dad being upset, I wanted my Dad to divorce my Mother and I didn’t want to see her again. I didn’t see her as my Mother and I hated her. I remember when she was in a foul angry mood one day when I was eleven, and she was being so nasty to me, I Lashed out at her and broke her finger. I felt immediately bad.

Over time, I have bonded much better, and took the time out to find out about her condition and to forgive her past actions, and I now have as best a relationship as I can and go out for lunch with her and stuff. It is not her fault that she was ill, and I feel sorry that it happened to her – and all of us!

Scizophrenia – my experience of how she was treated

• Ignored by those outside of the family who knew
• I am investigating her treatment in hospital (multiple shock treatments when she was not out of control)
• Not supported by the health system
• Family not supported by the health system or taught in any way of how to deal with the issues and symptoms, leading to further problems within the family unit
• Family member embarrassment and neglect

A new government run scheme that has been long awaited by people like me is called ‘Time to change’ – www.time-to-change.org.uk It is there to try to educate people not to be biased about a mental health problem – to treat people that have one as an individual and with respect , the same as everyone else.

Mind info on Schizophrenia: http://www.mind.org.uk/Information/Booklets/Understanding/Understanding+schizophrenia.htm  

Rethink info: http://www.rethink.org/about_mental_illness/mental_illnesses_and_disorders/schizophrenia/index.html  
Symptoms: http://www.rethink.org/about_mental_illness/mental_illnesses_and_disorders/schizophrenia/symptoms_of_schizoph.html  
Causes: http://www.rethink.org/about_mental_illness/mental_illnesses_and_disorders/schizophrenia/causes_of_schizophre.html  
Treatment: http://www.rethink.org/about_mental_illness/mental_illnesses_and_disorders/schizophrenia/treatment_for.html  

Information on the use of ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) and Catatonic Schizophrenia: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a908763815~db=all~jumptype=rss  

Some more information: http://priory.com/psych/cataton.htm  
………………………………..

So go on, learn something today and help those that you might be in touch with that have mental health problems!

Do you have a story to tell? You will be helping people to understand so please tell us by emailing amanda@amandagreen.co.uk  Your details and any personal references will not be published on the site, so you do not have to worry!

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