£551.03 Total Raised

My brother Paul’s life was blighted by schizophrenia which started to display itself in his early twenties.

My brother Paul’s life was blighted by schizophrenia which started to display itself in his early twenties. Until then he had a full life, was academically bright, had many friends, had been engaged and had been in the merchant navy, travelling around the world twice.

Although his odd behaviour started then, he was not diagnosed until he was over 40. Our family knew nothing about schizophrenia and he was viewed as a lazy man with long hair who stayed in bed all day. When he became violent in the home, our family turned to the Police rather than doctors. His diagnosis was the result of a probation order after a totally misunderstood incident ended up in a court case for assault. He was prescribed medication but this not help the OCD or irrational thought patterns.

At 63 Paul had a massive stroke from which he recovered extremely well physically, but the ongoing schizophrenia plus complications from the stroke meant he could not live independently. With difficulty Paul went into a nursing home populated by much older people often with dementia. Staff and carers had to learn how to deal with a relatively young man who had many routines and obsessions, who denied that anything was ever wrong with him and craved independence.

Paul did not survive the second stroke and died two days before Christmas. However he died in a home where people understood him and cared about him and where, as far as he could be – he was content.

I was a member of the National Schizophrenia Fellowship (which became Rethink Mental Illness) for many years when Paul’s behaviour was becoming very strange. I phoned them on several occasions and the people on the lines were so helpful and pointed me in the right direction on many issues. They have always had time for me and have been a wonderful support.

I cannot think of a more appropriate or deserving charity. I felt very alone when I first started to realise what may be happening to my brother and this charity was the only place where I could get answers and practical advice.

If you feel you want to donate, thank you so much.

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