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What if you couldn't trust your own body to tell you the truth about reality? When your imagination runs wild, there's no check to say, "But really—that won't happen." It just keeps going, telling you sad, scary stories, implying you're being hunted, lied to, and tricked. It keeps you from trusting the people that love you most because they might be part of the collusion, leaving you all alone. It makes you hate them for hurting you (even when they haven't).

I'm not sure what is worse… having this disorder or parenting a child who has it. I've seen both in my office and the pain is devastating. The patient struggles with confusion and hurt. The parent has to watch from the other side of an impenetrable wall while their child suffers from a hateful enemy.

Parents often delay getting help for children with schizophrenic symptoms because of the stigmatism associated with severe mental illness. But your child isn't bad or wrong. You haven't failed at parenting. If your child is struggling, please get help—we have successful tools available! The brain just needs help sometimes, like every other organ.

Unsplash photo cred: Pawel Czerinski

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