Falling Through the Cracks: My Son's Battle with Schizophrenia


This three-part article was written exclusively for Schizophrenic.com by Elise Amiet, a member of SupportGroups.com. Elise became an outspoken advocate for better health care options for schizophrenics after the death of her son, Damon.

In this article, she discusses her family's struggle to deal with Damon's schizophrenia, the inadequate health care he received, and what she hopes people will learn from her story.

I write this on behalf of my son, Damon, who ended his life on April 13, 2013, and also on the behalf of the families, friends and loved ones who suffer alongside of those who struggle with mental illness.

For those among us who either live with schizophrenia or are akin to this ailment that besieges the mind and soul, I reach out to you. I do not compare my pain to those who wake each day to the sadness that must consume the mind and body; I am just a grieving mother.

I not only watched my child suffer from his illness and paranoia, but also saw as predators took advantage of his open heart. It seems as though, for schizophrenics, the need for love and acceptance often overrides the ability to detect the good from the bad. Often when people like my son begin to trust someone, that trust is betrayed, and this can crush their sensitive soul.

The Misconceptions

Schizophrenics are judged and isolated from society, which causes them to feel as though they are not accepted as part of the “norm.” Please, if you are suffering from schizophrenia, know that this doesn’t mean that you have no worth or have nothing to contribute to society. Know that this world has its eyes half shut to those who vary from the norm, and you are not alone.

The fact is that our health system does not provide the necessary services and safety accommodations for those in desperate need of assistance. Damon went through hell over the years trying to find a place where he could feel safe.

Finding a Safe Haven

Around the age of 16, Damon was no longer able to stay at home with me due to his bouts of psychosis, drug use and the effect that this behavior was having on his younger brother, who was only 9 years old. My then-husband tried to help and even moved into a caravan park with Damon. We thought this might help to hold the family together, but it did not work. Unfortunately, the confined space caused Damon more tension and anxiety.

In Part II of this article, Elise discusses how her son struggled to find a place where he could be treated properly, the unfortunate experiences he encountered at boarding houses and her own struggle to find a place that would accept her son who had taken up drugs and alcohol in hopes of finding relief.