The Corner

“My Heart-Break Is a Constant Pain”

One thing I’ve come to realize in the last few days in the e-mails I’m getting about my mental illness column is how many parents are tortured by knowing their son or daughter is sick, knowing what will help, and being prevented from doing anything about it by the state of our laws. Here is a mother’s e-mail:

“I have a son who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia over 9

years ago. He is now 30 years old. In that time he

has been on and off medication (mostly off). He has

lived with my husband and I, and other siblings until

it became intolerable. He has lived in a park, has

been in jail and spent short periods of time in the

hospital. He is now living in a slum, drinking

heavily, not able to hold a job. He pays his rent

with his disability income and uses the rest for

alcohol. I don’t even talk to him anymore about

taking medication because he just gets angry and

threatens me. My heartbreak is a constant pain.

Everyone tells me that I have done all I can and

nothing else can be done until he decides to help

himself. Yet he can’t help himself because in his

delusional thinking, there is nothing wrong with him –

it is just bad breaks and other people that have the



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