A recent experience with a friend on antipsychotic drugs (prescribed for the damaging effects on the neuron structures of the brain from an advanced stage of an illness) made me aware of the isolation felt by those unable to communicate.
She is a member of the community I live in, and most of us knew her before she became ill. She resides in an acute care center, but comes with her family for social events in the community.
My friend, a scientist with a doctorate degree, is very intelligent and perceptive and thrives on these short visits to the community in which she once lived. She struggles to find common ground with people she knows who have active lives in the community. As we began speaking, her thoughts sometimes veered abruptly in a different direction but she actively and repeatedly made conversation and participated in the conversation.
Throughout our time together, she remained present and connected. I mentioned to her husband that her thought patterns resembled those of my son who had schizophrenia. She said emphatically to me, “No, not schizophrenia; it’s the medicine I’m taking”.
Her husband said, “It brought her life back.”
I said, “temporarily”.
She responded, “Yes, temporarily”.
My son on high dosages of antipsychotic drugs could not communicate with us at all at times, and it was incredibly frustrating for him.
A sense of isolation from the people one loves and knows must be the greatest tragedy from having schizophrenia and other neurological illnesses, and the reason that so many young people with schizophrenia take their lives. I feel great compassion for my friend and those with schizophrenia. We must continually try to communicate with our loved ones, communicating to them that they are integral human beings whom we love unconditionally.