When we have children, we imagine the life that lies ahead of them. We imagine who they will become, what life they will live, and the future accomplishments they will achieve. We never imagine that they may possibly suffer from a mental illness much less be diagnosed with a mental illness as a child.
Michael and Susan Schofield live this reality. Not only do they have a daughter who?has been diagnosed with schizophrenia but they also have a younger son who?is currently diagnosed with autism.
ABC News reports:
?Susan and Michael Schofield have no letup in their grueling day ?- 11-year-old Jani is one of the youngest children ever to be treated for schizophrenia, and now her 6-year-old brother Bodhi, though not officially diagnosed with the same disorder, has violent outbursts and self-harming behavior that suggest he might also have the disease.?
The Schofields struggle to ensure their children’s safety and well being, especially Bodhi?s.
?The first challenge is you’re not sure your children are going to make it. Right now, we are afraid Bodhi will crack his skull open or at least severely injure himself. With Jani, there was the fear of suicide after she made a couple of attempts. It’s a threat to the basic survival of your children.?
Due to the full-time care they must provide their children, the struggle has placed a strain on their marriage. Along with the financial burden of caring for their two mentally ill children, they have very little help when it comes to their own well being. As a consequence, Michael was unfaithful to his wife.
?We have begged the regional center for respite care to give us some time off. For just two to three hours, we could go out on our own? With hardly any respite care, they have been problems in our marriage. We haven’t been out on a date in 15 weeks. There just isn’t enough support out there.?
The Schofields will be featured on Discovery Fit and Health network in ?Born Schizophrenic: Jani and Bodhi’s Journey,? on May 26th.
As a mother who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I live with the fear that my infant son will develop a mental illness. I, however, will never be prepared if and when this distant fear becomes a reality. I cannot imagine the strain it would place on my family. My heart goes out to the Schofields, and I hope they are able to raise awareness not only for those who suffer from mental illness but for the family members that care for those who are mentally ill.
Here is a video with the Schofield family.