This post is contributed by Jose Alfonso, father of Marco Alfonso.

Something to Think About

Life can sometimes be so difficult; people may have doubts, hesitations, good and bad moments. We all deal with them as they come to us in our lives, but then imagine that you start hearing strange voices in your brain, that you begin feeling weird and strange and suddenly don’t trust anyone, not even the people you love. You lose your points of reference – you feel you are adrift, and the worse part of it is – you are.

It doesn’t matter if you are a good or a bad person, schizophrenia will punch a hole in your brain and brake it just like that! Maybe, forever.

Most of us can deal with confidence issues and things related to that. But this is different, you are lost, you feel like there is no direction, your brain plays games on you and you can’t discern what’s real from what is not.

This is schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is the most cruel, relentless and puzzling of all illnesses that can affect a human being; worse than cancer, worse than death itself. It takes “your soul away”.

This is schizophrenia.

The next time your run into someone on the streets that “interrupts your day” and seems crazy, who perhaps screams at you and seems out of his mind, think for a moment about what that person may be feeling at that time. It isn’t “a choice”;  it’s a condition that we as humans should be aware of and try to understand.

You can find a way to resolve the situation if you don’t panic and react in a human way.

Case in point: In the middle of the shock of dealing with my son’s diagnosed schizophrenia and the enormous stress that brought upon me, I had to get lunch food at a supermarket one day. As i entered the deli section of the market, an argument was taking place between the clerk (who was obviously oblivious to mental illnesses in general) and a man who demanded that his left over pizza be warmed up there in the store oven by the clerk.

I immediately noticed two things; one, that the man was mentally ill and that the clerk did not obviously want to deal with the situation. So after hearing their argument for a few moments, I knew this was going to be trouble. He wanted his pizza warmed up by the clerk, and the clerk thought he was crazy and that his demands was unreasonable. I then turned to the man who was demanding his pizza be warmed up and said, “Hey, I’ve got an idea; how about I buy you some of those delicious looking chicken wings and potato chips in there and you save your pizza for later and you have a great lunch! What do you say?…

He looked at me hesitantly at first, then thought about it for a moment and said, “Sure man!… That sounds good!”…

So I instructed the clerk to give him the chicken wings, and potatoes as he wanted them, and I paid for it. The man left very happy with his meal, and we all went on with our lives.

I will never approach a seemingly mentally ill person the same way I might have done before that incident ever again. As much as we like to watch “love stories”, “feel good stories”, “Hollywood movies” and all of the things we’re accustomed to seeing, we neglect some very basic situations that happen just around us. Maybe even within our own family.

Note from Marco’s mom: If you are a parent of a child with schizophrenia and would like me to call you for support, please send your name, phone number and a good time to call in the evenings or on weekends, and email to I will call you over Skype at a designated time which will be confirmed by email.


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