THE EDITOR: Did you know that World Schizophrenia Day is May 24? I confess that before my mother died in 2017, I didn’t know that special day existed.
What’s unusual about that? My mother suffered from schizophrenia and I was her caregiver for some 37 years of my life. You might expect that I would have been more knowledgeable about a day dedicated to creating awareness to fight stigma.
Dr Xavier Amador of the LEAP Foundation says, “Schizophrenia is the ultimate loneliness.”
I guess I designed a bubble around my mother and myself; it was easier that way. I was laser focused on her health and wellbeing. My purpose was for her to live well, live free, live happily. She accepted life with great courage because she saw the value in taking her medication, visiting her doctor regularly and accepting the support of her family.
Did she hear voices? Did she see people and things that weren’t there? Did she suffer delusions and paranoia? Yes to all. However, she also enjoyed aqua-therapy classes for her arthritis, went to prayer meetings regularly, gladly participated in her neighbourhood community and made wonderful friends.
And lastly, I can testify that she loved her children and grandchildren unconditionally.
This May 24, wear purple to support schizophrenia awareness. Seek to understand and be compassionate so there is no need for loneliness anymore. Let’s be proactive and get everyone the support they need so all can live well, live free, live happily.