My son Tim was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in January of 2003, after his first semester at Vanderbilt University. He was 18 years. His senior year of high school, Tim’s mood severely changed. He lost interest in studying and it was difficult getting him out of bed for school. It was clear something was seriously wrong. He argued with his teachers and his grades plunged. I worried if he would even graduate. Friends and family told me he was just ‘acting like a boy’ and it would pass.
Christmas vacation of 2002 was very hurtful because he started arguing with me. He was very uncooperative, disrespectful, mouthy and wouldn’t abide by any of my rules. But above all he was so very angry all the time and in deep denial. I witnessed my son become a monster. His demeanor was intimidating and he was hospitalized so many times over the last 10 years, I lost count.
When he finally agreed to taking medication, it didn’t work. He took all of the new anti-psychotics. He started drinking and things got even worse. He talked out of his head, saying embarrassing and inappropriate things. I cried so many nights and asked the Lord why did we have to suffer like this. I was so angry at God. He was an extremely gifted child with all the promise of a bright and successful future. Why did this have to happen?!
The health care agency that supplied his meds did very little else than pass him off from one doctor and case worker to another. We were even told he had no chance of recovery. I learned firsthand how poor social services are for the mentally ill. On Tim’s 28th birthday, I had to put him in jail. He was out of control. When he was released, I put him in a group home. My God I screamed, how could this be happening?!
This past February, Tim was so paranoid he refused to eat. The voices told him that the food was poisoned. He was hospitalized for a month, went from 160 lbs. down to 125 lbs. and only accepted small amounts of water and a feeding tube had to be inserted. A new doctor started him on chlozaril in March.
And today the son I knew and loved so deeply has returned and recovered! He’s level headed, smiling, extremely loving, cooperative, calm and back in college! He has less than a year to finish and earn his degree in English with a minor in Philosophy! There is hope! Don’t ever take ‘no’ for a final answer! Believe with all your heart!!