I always turned to my brother whenever I had any significant decisions to make in my life.When my brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and he fell ill I was very sad as I could not turn to him for advice any longer as he had stopped responding to my calls or text messages. My brother played my best friend’s role in my life and now that is missing.
I was his little sister or baby doll as he used to call me who always looked to him for advice and answers. Now it all has changed a lot for me, I suddenly feel like the big sister who has to take care of all his basic needs. He still recognises his loved ones; he always finds a way to make us realize he existed when his voice isn’t being heard. He knows that I understand him.
When we talk about Schizophrenia, I can see a cold approach towards the disorder. That may be because they assumed no one had personal experience with it. One needs to have a firsthand experience to understand how it affects the family more than the person suffering from the disorder.
Watching a loved one struggle with severe schizophrenia is stressful and painful. The stigma surrounding the mental illness is a concern. Families have to face all the discrimination and stigma surrounding the disorder which often forces the family to internalize this as guilt or resentment.
I later began to realize that I was dealing with something much bigger than anything I had ever known. I was going into something which was very unknown and unprepared. Under the suffocating blanket he often covered himself to get away from all of us, in fact he was trying to hide himself all the pain and suffering he was going through internally.
I found myself stumbling, yet finally bounced back on my feet as a sister for my brother as much as possible. I found that strength this time though with others who have had similar experience through groups. Having close interactions with these groups, I seem to have gained the strength to start begin telling their stories too. Out of the darkness which covered the disorder with stigma, we are all here now, each of us with our stories to tell each other. We became close to each other to gain strength in order get ourselves prepared for the unknown future.