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Friday, January 7, 2011

My Cousin Helen


I first published this a few years back.  Today, collecting Sweet Sam from his "socialisation group", I saw a young girl there who brought this post back to my mind.  I apologise to those of you who may have already read this, but I wish to re-post it in dedication to ALL of those who must daily do battle with mental illness, including those, the relatives and carers, whose lives are often also severely impacted, when a loved one is afflicted by such a debilitating condition.   

Although we were born less than two weeks apart I didn't know her well, and to be honest, I liked her even less. On the rare times she did visit, she just plain scared me.


The middle of three girls, her parents had separated and divorced before she was barely a toddler. It was only on the rare access visit that Helen ever came to call.

Looking back, it's little wonder she resented being passed off on to us, in lieu of spending quality time with her father. Uncle Jim's new wife had a perfect family of her own, one that didn't act out or challenge against authority, it hadn't taken long before Helen found herself no longer welcome at her house.


Helen usually greeted me with, "You don't like me!" hardly making for much of an auspicious start. I mean, yes, this was true, sure enough, but did she have to go and broadcast it to all and sundry? It's not like I ever told her I didn't like her, is it?

She just knew.

Thing about Helen is, she always cut straight to the chase. She didn't discriminate either, adults were equally as likely to receive the sharp edge of her latest gripe, and she certainly had no shortage of gripes to pull on from.

I'd never met her mother (it was only at my own mother's funeral, when I was thirty, that we eventually met), but when families split, right or wrong, sides tend to get drawn, often demonising the other party.  From the rumour and innuendo, I took it Helen was her mother's daughter.

Looking back now, it speaks volumes Helen always arrived minus her sisters - I think they, as well as her mother, needed the odd respite from coping with her.


Eventually, in the late-sixties Uncle Jim and his second family decided to emigrate to Australia, and that was the last we ever saw of them after that (probably the last Helen did of them, too).

Over the years I caught snippets through the family grapevine about Helen.  She'd had three children, was single and finding it a struggle to make ends meet. Not that it ever crossed my mind to look her up. I had my own fish to fry, too busy building up my business, I hardly gave her a passing thought.


It wasn't until after ma died that I learned the full story.


I was still in shock over ma's death. Having no one other than my husband to care for our newborn, I'd elected to travel the three hundred odd miles alone to her funeral. After the service, relatives and friends came together under the one roof in order to bid our ma her last goodbye.

Mid-way through, I started to feel less than comfortable, people I barely knew were staring, pointing at me, and well, just looking. Sure, I was the child of the deceased, but then so were my other two sisters, not to mention my brother. Why all the creepy stares?
I attempted to mingle, thank folk for coming, introduce myself to those I was unfamiliar with. The middle-aged lady in the corner, never seeming to rip her eyes from me, stood as I approached.


"It's okay, it's Carol isn't it?"


I nodded, yes.

She said she would have recognised me anywhere. I was initially puzzled as I look nothing like my mother. But that wasn't what she'd meant. This here was Helen's mother standing before me, and she asked me to sit with her a while. When she produced a photo, I finally understood. It was a picture of her own Helen, and from what I saw, she and I could have easily passed for twins. We were doubles alright, even down to the way we wore our hair.


Uncanny.


So naturally I asked how Helen was, what she was up to these days?


I'd had no idea of her suicide nine years prior. Seems Helen, like my mother, had suffered from the crippling mental illness of schizophrenia.


I no longer wanted to sit with this woman, she had had over nine years to deal with her daughters suicide, but here it had been less than a week since my own mother had taken her life. I just wanted to flee, refuse to process what she was telling me right now. But tell me she did, anyway.


Seems when the voices and the hallucinations all became too much, Helen caught herself a cab to a lonely high bridge, paid off the driver, and to silence the pain, threw herself away.


It wasn't until later I learned schizophrenia has familial links. If a member of your family suffers from this, there is one in a (pick a number from ten to a thousand, opinions vary) chance this may be passed on. The odds are good it will skip, but the possibility of it striking is far higher than it is out in the general population. Full blown schizophrenia rarely exhibits until in the late teens or early twenties, as was the case with my mother. Up until then there are usually few signs displayed of this debilitating illness.


There is no test for it, no vaccination, and no cure. The prognosis remains chillingly poor, with most folk tending to end their own lives. I daresay one day we will manage to isolate this defective gene, and there is also no doubt environment and physiology plays an important influence over whom it singles out.


There is a lot of talk about drugs, "skunk" in particular, having a trigger effect on those already prone to this illness.


For the longest time, when asked, I told my children their gran died because of her heart. I felt it held an element of truth. Her heart gave up years before she drew her last breath. A little time ago I sat my eldest down and gave him the full unabridged story as I always knew I would. When the time is right, I will fess up to the others too. I must hammer home to them how much more vulnerable they are to the dangers of drug experimentation.


My kids are fine. Truly. They are.


But I watch.


I watch them all the time.

82 comments:

Akelamalu said...

What a terribly sad story, about your cousing and your Mum. It must be so worrying for you but hopefully your children will not have the gene, you do right to watch them though m'dear. xx

TheWritersPorch said...

Shrinky.......Thank you for your candid honesty in this beautifully written story. It is an illness that devastates many families and is so much more prevalent than most people know.
xoxo,
Carol

FrankandMary said...

When I worked with neuro illnesses the chances of passing on seemed to be a quite higher % family-wise. I've personally known a few with this illness as well, and I don't know what to say other than it is so very painful....but I did see some effectively treated with meds..~Mary

Shrinky said...

Akelamalu, isn't that always what parents are compelled to do, anyway? We always watch, it's instinctive, isn't it?

Thankfully Carol, mental illness is no longer a taboo subject. My mother suffered terribly, because my father refused to acknowledge her illness, preferring to punish her instead. Things have, and still are moving on.

Mary, incidental to my family history, when my som was diagnosed with celebral palsy/prader willie discease/countless other life threatening and wrong diagnosis - before finally settling on Autism with severe delayed developmental problems (of which the jury at Cassa Shrinky is still not fully convinced of), we were given the full spectrum of genetic councilling. I am happy to say, it IS only a one in thousand chance of my mother's condition being passed on to my children.

Shrinky said...

OOps, Mary, forgot to mention the meds - meds to stop the brain hallucinating and to still the voices turn the person who is suffering these into nothing more than a zombie, which is why, unsupervised, most patients prefer to plough through without them. The meds make these folk tamer for society to deal with, it does nothing for the patients themselves. They want desperately to be cured, but the present day meds are just a clinical lobotomy that renders them numb and unable to participate in their lives.

CHEWY said...

Shrinky,
Skunk? I had to Google that one. I found "potent cannabis", very dangerous to one's mental condition. And it's much stronger today than ever before.

Sandi McBride said...

It's hard to know what to say, but one thing I do want to say is simply this...I admire your strength. I know your plan to watch over the kids is simply to watch over them...this was such a sad post Shrinky...I wish I could hug you.
Sandi

canadianfermentation said...

Thanks for sharing your personal experience with such difficult situations. I enjoyed reading it, but I have to say that your opening paragraph was gripping and pulled me in.

Best to you.

Margaret's Ramblings said...

My heart feels heavy for you. What a heavy burden it must have been. But I sense you are a strong woman. Yes watch your children but love and enjoy them as well. Take care and know there are many out here in blogworld that think a lot of you.

Margaret

RiverPoet said...

Carol I'm so sorry about your cousin. As I was telling someone today, mental illness can kill just as surely as can physical illness. The report that came back from the psychiatrist on my daughter (so she can get health insurance) said, "History of severe depression with 10+ hospitalizations and very serious suicide attempts...Prognosis for recovery guarded." It hit me right in the chest. I knew it, but seeing it in black and white really hurt.

So...I'm right there with you. Worried. Watchful. Hoping my son never shows signs of the same devil that has his sister.

Peace - D

The Things We Carried said...

Thank you for sharing this. So many people are left in the devastation of mental illness. We both have been thinking of our mothers.

~Babs said...

It's so frustrating to me to see all the waste in spending,,,when so much research into illness is needed. I just KNOW there are cures out there, waiting to be discovered,,,with no funding available.
Of course you watch,,,with the eye of an eagle,,,,and the courage many of us wouldn't have.
God bless you Shrinky!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Oh, Shrinky...I am so sorry...I think I would respond in the same way...how could anyone feel otherwise? It is so hard. XO Janine

Hilary said...

I'm so sorry for the sadness you've endured. Your strength is incredible and I have little doubt your children will continue to thrive under your loving, watchful eye. They'll understand the importance of your concerns.

Hugs to you, dear Shrinky.

Jeni said...

Mental illnesses are still grossly misunderstood by the medical community at times and very much so by so large a part of society, regardless of how much effort is put forth to try to develop more and better understanding of how the mind works. Depression, bi-polar, schizophrenia and other issues tend to still evoke joking, as well as bully type tactics too with compassion often left out in the cold. My ex-sister-in-law's brother was diagnosed in his late 20s with schizophrenia. At times, he functions relatively well, but he also has some issues with hyperactivity and alcohol abuse too. Fortunately (I think), depression doesn't seem to be present or not much anyway. But I wonder if perhaps my nephew who has major issues with alcohol/drug abuse and anger management along with hyperactivity, might also have been touched by the same brush as his uncle was. Suicide, under any circumstances. is such a terrible thing for family and friends to cope with. Thank you for being open in writing about how all of these factions have impacted your life. I think each time any of us tries to address things like this, even if it only opens the eyes of one reader to understand mental illnesses, to help someone deal with a loss from a suicide of one close (friend or family), it serves a good purpose then, helps provide even just a little peace somehow, somewhere.
Peace and God bless.

Sridhar said...

Having a mentally ill sister we have had to deal with all kinds of reactions from people. Not to mention how difficult at times it is for those who lived with her. They have never really been able to give a name to her condition.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

"Life comes at us dressed as reality, and we scream, "Who are You?"

Unknown

Shrinky said...

So I take it you don't do skunk then, Chewy? (Giggle).

Aw Sandi, scratch the surface of any family and you'll find the lumps beneath. Few of us sail through life unscathed, do we? (x)

Hi Canadianfermentation (what an interesting blog name!) thanks for stopping by. So good to hear I got your attention - that's enough to wrap a smile around any writers heart.

Oh Margaret, what a lovely thing to say! It's you and the others like you in here that makes our little community such a special place to be. (Hugs)

Oh Doris, as if you haven't enough to cope with, without the added worry of medical cover. I can't imagine the stress that must pile on to what is already an unbearable situation. Living constantly on alert takes a heavy enough toll - I despair of a country so willing to toss their most vulnerable to the wind. My thoughts are with you hon, I hope you find the support your daughter must have. ((hugs))

Meridith, reading your touching post brought Helen to my mind, so I have you to thank for inspiring this piece. I am so glad to have found your blog, you are a remarkable writer.

Hi Babs, yes, there is lots of frustration and never enough money, so true. But there is also a lot of hope out there, attitudes and treatments have dramatically changed since my mother's day. One day we will find that magic bullet, it's not hopeless, just a question of pacing time. ((x))

Hi Janine, we all worry for our children, we worry they will step out under a bus, contract one of a million possible fatal diseases, or one day meet up with a knife-wielding maniac! We generally manage to stifle the panic - guess we have to. It's all about treading water, isn't it?

Hello Hilary, oh bless your cotton socks, we all have our own curve balls to catch, and we get better with the practise, don't we? Seems to me each and every one of us have a demon or two to slay, it comes with the territory (smile).

Hi Jeni, thank you for your thoughtful comments. My mother suffered horribly with her illness, a large part of that was due to the lack of understanding and awareness of her condition. In her day, mental illness was something shameful and hidden, she was often accused of being selfish, self-absorbed and self-indulgent. When her mind was at it's most confused, she was taken away and forcibly given electric shock therapy, or (of all things) submerged in ice cold baths. Things are so much more improved today, and although there is still a long, long way to go, I do feel we are going in the right direction. Attitudes are changing, the prejudice and fear is slowing turning to better understanding with wider media exposure and education. And yes, we all need to speak out about mental illness, sweeping it under the carpet does no one any favours, denying it exists does not make it go away. I do hope your nephew is able to access the help he needs.

Sridhar, I think having an undiagnosed illness is far heavier to bear than having a peg to hang it on. Without a name, it is difficult to explain and even harder to treat. Having a sibling with a mental illness has a strong impact on the family, I know my own children have very often needed to step down for Sam (with his autism). There is a plus to that, incidental as it is, I believe you develop empathy and far more insight than the average kid does growing up. (x)

CHEWY said...

Shrinky,
Skunk? No waaaaaay! Back in the day, regular pot made me paranoid. Didn't like it at all. I can only imagine what skunk would do to me. No thanks.

jinksy said...

Thank goodness the ways of the mind are still being explored and new knowledge gleaned...

Kit Courteney said...

Beautifully written.

Shrinky said...

Aw, c'mon Chewy, admit it, you were BORN paranoid (giggle), we know this!

Shrinky said...

Jinksy, yes, thank God for the leaps in medical discovery - there is huge cause for optimism, isn't there?

Hi Kit, aw thanks love, you've made my day! (Hugs)

PRH....... said...

Bittersweet story there Carol...written with your usual passion. Good Stuff!

Suldog said...

What can I say, but "Sorry"? Sad stuff, but you seem to have your priorities right in regard to it. God bless.

Daryl said...

Sad stuff eloquently said ... suicide is ugly and hurtful to those left behind .. I ache for her mother and for you ...

C. Michael Cox said...

You are faced with a difficult situation and a very real fear. This is an area that the general public is very uncomfortable discussing - there is just so much that is unknown about the brain. I applaud your courage in bringing this issue forward so honestly, and I pray you will continue to be so courageous.

skywind said...

Meditation wizard.
Health information
Humor & Fun World

Alex L said...

Very sad story, but hopefully your little shrinky's a spared the diseaes. I can't imagine what a family member must be like but one of my friends took their life a few years ago, that was hard enough.

Ian said...

Your sentences flow effortlesly. The one word that seemed to jar was 'hubby'. 'Ma' seemed to fit, but 'hubby', for me anyway, didn't.

I'll be back. It's nice to come across someone who writes as well as you do.

jay said...

That's just so tragic. I don't think you can blame yourself in any way for not liking Helen though. You were a child yourself, and clearly had no understanding - and if the adults in her life couldn't cope, how could a child be expected to?

I do see how disturbing all this is, though. Especially when you know about the genetic link. You're bound to watch your children, it's what any of us would do. Hopefully they are indeed fine, and this branch of the family will 'lose' the faulty gene.

Shrinky said...

Hi Pat, aw, thanks hon (hugs).

Cheers suldog, it all happened a long time ago, I feel pretty confident things are working out fine now.. fingers crossed!

Yes Daryl, there are huge ripple effects when a family member takes their own life. Time does heal, and distance sometimes helps to make sense of the non-sensical.

Hello Michael, I think most people have, if not a family member, then a friend they are aware may be suffering from some form of mental illness, it is so common, yet rarely spoken about. Thankfully, it is becoming less of a taboo subject these days.

I am slightly confused at your comment Skywind, but thanks for dropping by.

Hi Alex, I am sorry to hear of your friend, that must have been a very difficult time for you. It's so easy to see signs after the event, believe you should have known, done more. The cold hard truth is, if someone is set on that course, nothing you could have done or said would have altered that.

Hello Ian, what a pleasant surprise to have you drop by, and I feel flattered at your comments. Thanks for the gentle suggestion, you may note I have taken it on board (smile).

Hello Jay, yes, I agree with you, Helen was a disturbed child. Her greatest tragedy was how instead of being given help, it appears we all alienated her, it was the easiest option for all - well, except for her, of course.

CHEWY said...

As I see it: Skywind is a come on... just wants you to click on his/her ads to make money.

Shrinky said...

Reluctantly Chewy, I tend to agree with you - I welcome any blogger to my site who wishes to contribute to it, but I sense skywind is rather self-serving, and have decided not to return his visits.

Ian said...

Shrinky and Chewy, reflect on this: Skywind is sitting there all day waiting for us to click his link. If none of us do, EVER, he will go slowly mad. So what do you think? To click or not to click?

Shrinky said...

Oh Ian, (evil grin) poor Skywind - maybe we should form some kind of a support group for him, huh? Something along the lines of, "Click generously, the net owes this blog-whore every free ride he can turn".

CHEWY said...

Been there, done that. (both blogs) Once was enough for me.

Jules~ said...

What a hard story. I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing this honest and transparent part of your life.

God's blessings be to you today.

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

Oh deer wat a sad, sad tayle. I'm very sorry....

Shrinky, can I add a comment that mite cheer yu ap an mayke yu smile, eevn tho it issent reelly fittin for this post?

I'm goin to hav a pawty this weekend to sellybrate my 500th post :@}
Festivitys kik off tomorro at noon UK time an larst till midnite Sunday-pleez come by!
Leev sum jokes in the comments sekshun ov Friday's post fer evrywun.
Weel be havin cayke, ginger beer, scooby snaks an a serprize speshul gest!!!!!
Pleez come it won't be the sayme wivowt yu!

imbeingheldhostage said...

Oh this is so sad. It's frustrating that in this day and age, we still have nothing to help people with mental illness cope (the zombie option is NOT a life). Thank you for this post.

Mushy said...

This is when you are at your best.

Scott from Oregon said...

.I have a cousin who is amazingly smart.

Damn those thousand to one odds...

As a mother, I know you rightfully worry.

Just don't miss all the great days worryin'.

Robin said...

how terribly sad for your mom, helen and you.

mental illnesses suck, but i do believe people are getting diagnosed earlier and getting more help than in the past. every little step helps.

watch your kids, but rejoice in them more.

hugs!

Shrinky said...

Yeah Chewy, me too!

Oh Bob, a party?? Wow, how exciting, wild horses couldn't keep me from coming - hugs.

Hi Jules, ah 'tis life hon, isn't it?

Hi imbeingheldhostage, there are a multitude of bullets for us to dodge, aren't there? From Alzheimer's, Cancer, Muscular Dystrophy, you name it - if we thought too long and hard about it, we'd probably all end up as basket cases. I guess that is the secret really, just to plough on and keep your fingers crossed - I think we all do that in a way.

Mushy, my friend - so brilliant to see you again! (Big, big smiles). I must come over and catch up with you.

Hahaha, oh scott, you do make me laugh (hugs)! And yeah, don't worry, I enjoy far more than I fret, truly!

That's sound advice Robin, and one I try to take on board. And yes, there is good reason for optimism, things are improving every year.

Anna said...

Shrinky this is sad story about yor mum and cousin, and on the other hand very interesting. I am sure your children are fine and will be fine. Again, this actually well written 'your' story. Thanks for sharing. Anna :)

Shrinky said...

Hello Anna, thanks for dropping by, and yes, I am sure they are fine, too (smile). Thanks for your lovely comment.

San said...

Shrinky, I can't quite imagine how painful it would be to lose one's mother in such a sad way. Or to learn, years after the fact, about Helen, to look at her picture and see your own reflection. The reflection is only skin deep, my dear. Clearly, you are sane to the bone, and stronger than the rocks of the earth.

I can understand why you are on the alert about your children. We mothers tend to be hyper-vigilant lest "something" happen. The hyper-vigilance is in our job description. Or it's passed down in our own DNA.

david mcmahon said...

Applause for you and the power of your understanding.

Shrinky said...

Hello San, thank you for your kind words. You are so right, as parents we always peer around the corner looking for potential disasters, don't we?

Hi David, now you've gone and turned me ears all pink again! (Grin)

Lola said...

What a powerfully, well written personal account of a sad and delicate matter. Thank you for sharing this incredible story. As a mother, I can understand your fears, but I'm also optimistic about the leaps in medical research.

Renee said...

I am sorry for the loss of your mother.

Thank you for this post, I think that it is a very important one.

Renee xoxo

Margaret's Ramblings said...

Congratulations on making Post of the Day. You deserve it, your words are powerful.

Margaret

Sniffles and Smiles said...

This is one of my all-time favorite posts...worthy of David's POTD...authentic, honest, true...and absolutely beautiful...like you. ~Janine XO

French Fancy said...

Came here via POTD and can see why your words moved David so much. What a sad tale.

Cheffie-Mom said...

This is a very powerful post. Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing and congrats on the POTD Award from authorblog.

Eddie Bluelights said...

Congrats on POTD and I am saddened by your post. It is dreadful to lose someone this way. My family have lost two through depression.
Eddie

Lew said...

Wonderfully written bit of family history. Mental illness has for too long been the family secret hidden away. And ignored also by our governments who could fund the research to counter these diseases. I think we as a society do not know how to handle the situation, whether it is schizophrenia or autism. Another sad part of your story is the drifting away of families. I haven't seen my cousins in quite a while.

Anna said...

Hey no problem. Anna :)

Shrinky said...

Oh my, I can't tell you how surprised and warmed I've been by all your lovely words - Lola, it's so good to see you in here, Renee, I am very glad to have discovered you (smile), Margaret, you have the knack of always knowing exactly the right thing to say (thanks), Janine, I was so touched by your comments (hugs), French Fancy, welcome to my site, I look forward to dropping over to say hi in person, Cheffie-mum, hi there! Thanks for dropping by, I'm trotting over to see you as I type. Eddie, I am so sorry to learn you too have been touched by the loss of someone precious to suicide, it is a hard experience to endure (hugs). Lew, hello, thank you for your warm words, I look forward to visiting with you soon. Anna (hugs)!

Pouty Lips said...

I had an experience when my middle son had a brain injury and experienced a short-term psychotic episode (short-term meaning 10 days. The doctors said it was very similar to schizophrenia. The level of support needed for him to get through it was unfathomable. It is no wonder so many people decide they cannot cope and end it themselves.

Lover of Life said...

I am so sorry for your family. Schizophrenia needs not only a genetic link but an environmental one as well. That's why we see more of it with teenagers and young adults - it's often when people are under tremendous pressures.

Stopped by from Hilarys blog. I really enjoyed your posts. Thanks.

Cath said...

Oh my goodness Carol I bet you do. I bet you do.

I have nursed the tragedy, seen the pain, triumphed with the victors. And there are victors. Some.


Many many ((((((hugs))))))

Marypoppins said...

Good writing on how the "crazy" person looks to the uninitiated. Simple observation and not overdone. I like it.

Shen said...

Wow, that's a very well told story... and scary.

I too worry about my children. I believe my father has borderline personality disorder and narcisism, but I wouldn't rule out a genetic piece to this, or schyzophrenia. The facts that he is just like his mother, and that I have DID and that bipolar is all over the place in our family make me watch too...

I'm so sorry about your mother. I know it must be awful for you to know how painful it was for her in order to push her to that. Even so, I also feel like it's important to know that sometimes having these people in your life is just as hard as having them throw themselves away.

Paul C said...

This personal essay touches most people who know of someone who is or has struggled with this challenge. There is a lot here to think about. You have helped us become more sensitive and caring.

Grayquill said...

Profound and so sad. Loss is no stranger to you. I am sorry.

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

you have mental disease in your family and in mine it's cancer..i check for lumps, body changes in me, my daughter my sons, my granddaughters...like a hawk..

Shrinky said...

Hi Shen, I do feel for you, hon. There is a wide ripple effect within families with mental illness - from my experience there appears little outside help on offer to help with much needed support.

Shrinky said...

Paul, you are one of the most sensitive and caring people I know, it is only recently society is becoming more aware of how prevalent mental illness actually is - as uncomfortable a subject it may be, at least it is no longer seen as a taboo subject, as it was so much in my parents generation.

Shrinky said...

Hi Jackie-Sue, any hereditary disease is an evil curse to live under, I well understand your fears, how can you not be vigilant under the circumstances? It's a shadow we simply learn to live with.

Shrinky said...

Grayquill, there is no doubt loss touches every one of us, sadly it's part of the human condition, isn't it? The trick is to find the good bits in between, and to enjoy them fully!

The Blue Zoo said...

What a very sad story. I hope they find a cure. Or at least a medication that doesnt turn the person into a zombie.

tattytiara said...

I so hope this illness doesn't reappear in your family, or at least not until they have an effective cure or treatment for it. It's such an incredibly difficult illness for both individuals and families to live with.

Skunkfeathers said...

Worthy of a repost, Shrinky. Happy New Year!

Middle Child said...

A sad story - here is something that has been coming out for some time

http://www.kryptopyrrole.com
go to this link - apparently those who can not process Zinc and B6 effectively often have emotional disturbances ranging from mild - or being melancholic to Manic Depression and Schizophrenia. The normal levels can become elevated by stress such as a death in the family or any major stress - but the tendency is genetic - usually from the mothers side and most often found amongst those of Celtic and or Northern European origin.

My mother became manic Depressive after our dad was killed when i was 15...she was lovely in spite of the bad times - the good times made up for that...
not too long before her death I had some tests done and she showed up as being very zinc and B6 deficient - but I did not know about the kryptopyrrole issue.

Later our youngest went through shocking times and became very over emotional - luckily a doc diagnosed her by using this test and gave her very potent doses of Zinc and B6 - she would be one of the most level headed of people I know -
Many docs do not recognise this but it has been proven to - if not get rid of the condition it can ease it just a little and easing it can be half the battle. I tested normal but I have a sneaking suspicion some of my sisters may have a level of it - but it is only mild.

If any of yours develop symptoms...at least have these tests done to eliminate - and hopefully things can be headed off before they get too out of control - but lets home that as the generations pass it gets less...

not medical advice - just my own experiences with my family

Shrinky said...

Therese, thank you so much for your helpful and useful comment, hon, I really appreceiate it, and will look further into this - everything is worth exploring, and it may well prove a positive armour to utillise! ((x))

Parabolic Muse said...

I put off commenting on this but finally decided I must tell you it moved me and meant a lot to me. I can't handle it, though. It's not your fault. I've always been this way. I have a sister who has issues. I haven't seen her for 40 years.

Grandma's scrapbook said...

Good morning from the snow sprinkled Slavonia

Land of shimp said...

Oh Shrinky, it is a dreadful burden for the people suffering from Schizophrenia and their families, isn't it? Not only do they suffer, they have something people interpret as being frightening.

Rob, who remember is Flint's stepfather, not dad had a grandmother who had more than one mental illness (never properly diagnosed) and now four of his six siblings manifested varying mental illness but he's fine and so are two of his other siblings.

I am so sorry that mental illness has been a part of your life. It is very difficult, even when you aren't the person dealing with it.

It's amazing, that something we take for granted -- essentially not being attacked by our own thoughts -- is an unattainable dream to others.

I'm sure your kids will be all right. In Rob's family, there were problems on both the maternal and paternal grandparents side. Just one of those genetic flukes that sometimes happens.

I'm so sorry you've been through so much, by the way.

Shrinky said...

Aw Chrissy, family mental health issues are always more complex than they present to the outside world (hugs).

Shrinky said...

Hi Grandma's Scrapbook, good morning to you, too!

Shrinky said...

Alane, I can see you have your own experience of some of what I talk of - thanks for your lovely, supportive comments - I am so glad to see you back again, I've truly missed you, my friend (smile)!