Caregivers Articles

Schizophrenia: Delusions, Voices, But Not the Memory Loss

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

beliefs about memoryWhen you hear the word “schizophrenia” a lot of symptoms probably come to mind. Some of them, unfortunately, are sensationalized or completely inaccurate, like “split personality.” You might have said hallucinations, hearing voices, being paranoid, and thinking you’re God. Sure, that could be schizophrenia. But what about memory loss?

My brother Pat was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2006. For a year he thought people were surveilling him, coming into our home to install cameras, listening to his conversations whenever he was outdoors. He didn’t have a reason for it. He didn’t thinking he was a god, a king, or the Second Coming. He believed he was a target for the government — this was around the time the media began to cover the privacy violations stemming from the Patriot Act.

How to Co-Parent Successfully after Divorce

Friday, March 13th, 2015

self-compassionate-parentingThere can be few experiences more painful in life than divorce. Divorces involving children are particularly fraught, with the tradition dictating that the mother is granted custody while the father gets visiting rights. However, recent years have seen the rise of co-parenting — a far more balanced approach which emphasizes the role of both parents in the children’s upbringing.

The sudden breakdown of the family structure after a divorce can be traumatic for children, who commonly experience feelings of abandonment, confusion and loss. Sadly, parents who remain adversarial may compound this trauma.

Top 10 Asperger’s Blogs of 2015

Friday, March 6th, 2015

job-question-woman-typing-laptop-computerAsperger’s is a curious syndrome, showing itself differently between individuals. One person may exhibit repetitive speech and one-sided conversations, while another will have challenges with nonverbal communication and have awkward mannerisms. Others may not engage appropriately in social interactions, may appear self-centered, lack empathy, or be obsessed with a particular topic. A person with AS will not usually show delays in language or cognitive development, and this is what sets it apart from autism.

There is heartfelt discussion of the impact of diagnosis in the AS blogosphere. The American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic reference book, the DSM, added Asperger Syndrome to its fourth edition in 1994. 

6 Things I Learned about Serious Mental Illness While Caring for My Brother

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Flickr Creative Commons / Vinoth ChandarOver the past year since I published my memoir about caring for my brother Paul, who suffered from schizophrenia, I have encountered several misguided but firmly held beliefs that get in the way of understanding our fellow humans who suffer from a severe brain disorder. Here are just a few:

Take, Take, Take and Never Give

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

money 2 billsMike was grumbling about his daughter Crystal.

“She told me she was in ‘desperate need’ of a state-of-the-art computer only six months after she ‘needed’ a ‘loan’ because the lease on her Lexus had expired. Crystal wasn’t even apologetic when she asked me to foot the bill. She just rattled off a bunch of reasons about why she couldn’t pay for them and why I should.”

Mike continued. “When Crystal was younger, I used to think she’d outgrow this pattern. But she’s 25 years old now and I don’t see anything changing. She wants what she wants and doesn’t care how her wants affect me or her mother. We try to reason with her or tell her no but she’s an expert at wearing us down.”

4 Ways a Child with Autism Affects Family Life

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

family grass blue skyAn autism diagnosis not only changes the life of the child diagnosed, but also that of family members. Parents of an autistic child have to bear a lot of stress owing to complicated therapy schedules, home treatments, and juggling job responsibilities and family commitments. There is also financial stress coming from the expensive therapies and treatments.

Such stress may affect family life in various adverse ways. Parents of autistic children need to meet the needs of their children, as well as address the needs of their family. Coping with the stresses involved in being parents to an autistic child can strengthen families and marriages, but this requires a great support system and a lot of hard work.

Transference in Therapy

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

therapist_negativeI dreamed of giving him my bone marrow. I offered him poetry, homemade cupcakes, passionate sex and a basket of Honey Peanut Balance bars, his favorite. I even proposed to repaint and decorate his waiting room — at my expense.

I was in love.

His name was David. David was my therapist.

I started treatment with him after my mother’s death from a six-month bout with cancer. Her death left me broken open, bereft. My three-year-old marriage hadn’t quite found its footing and I felt alone in my grief. So I began therapy with David expecting a psychic sanctuary.

Why Do Therapists Charge So Much?

Monday, February 9th, 2015

therapist_negativeThe world can be a stressful place. You are feeling overwhelmed, and nothing seems to be working consistently. You’ve reached out to friends and family. They may have helped a little, but not enough. Perhaps friends or family are somehow associated with your stress, which leaves fewer people in whom to confide.

The day has come when you finally decide to seek help to get where you want to be. As you type “psychotherapist” into your search engine, you feel a strange mix of anxiety, apprehension, and determination. Next, you find someone who seems to be a good fit for what you hope to accomplish in therapy. Finally, you’ve gained the courage to call or meet with this so-called expert, who has brought you at least some relief through validation and, perhaps, recommendations. As you get to the end of the free consultation, you ask about fees.

Siblings with Severe Mental Illness: An Evolving Relationship

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Siblings with Severe Mental Illness: An Evolving RelationshipThere is an undeniable connection between siblings. You came from the same family and grew up in the same environment. There will always be a shared past between siblings, whether they are close or not. But when your sibling is diagnosed with mental illness the personal history and the things you had in common can seem to disappear.

Life seems to stop and be consumed by their illness. An intangible connection can be seemingly swept right off the page. Something that therapists never told me was that one day I would just be happy to take what I could get.

Partner Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder? 10 Truths You Need to Know

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Therapist listening to the couple sit on the couch in front of h

I was 18 years old, pregnant, scared and lonely when I met my now husband. We became best friends and two years later, he married and had a baby. Fast forward six years, we were madly in love and engaged, then married.

One year after that, my husband came home after work, sat down at the kitchen table and told me he wanted a divorce. I refused. Not very nicely.

A few months after that, he was diagnosed with Bipolar 2, and our marriage was in for a hell of a ride. Ten years later, I’ve had a book published about our marriage, a lot of sleepless nights, and a heck of a lot of a lessons learned about loving someone with bipolar disorder. Here’s a few biggies:

Helping Someone with Asperger Syndrome Bridge the Gap between Cognitive and Emotional Empathy

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Helping Someone with Asperger Syndrome Bridge the Gap between Cognitive and Emotional EmpathyEmpathy is a controversial subject in the field of Asperger Syndrome/neurotypical relationships. The theory of mind postulates that people with Asperger Syndrome have some degree of mind blindness, or an inability to fathom the motivations and feelings of others. Aspies don’t seem to read the social clues that tell NTs (neurotypicals) what is going on.

For example, Aspies are notoriously poor at recognizing complex emotions in others. They struggle to understand that someone may be stretching the truth for emphasis or as the punch line to a joke. They are confused by irony, pretense, metaphor, deception, faux pas, white lies and so forth. This is why NTs find Aspies to be clueless in social situations and why there are all types of curricula on the subject of teaching Aspies how to navigate the social world.

Before Children, After Children

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Before Children, After ChildrenYou can be so smart. You have a college-educated pedigree. You are a mature person with sophistication and depth. You know what you want out of life. You know how to maintain a loving relationship. You have well-thought-out ideas about how to raise your children.

You surely must be living in the B.C. (before children) era, for you are blessed with ignorance. Lucky you!

Now that it’s the A.C. (after children) era, you acknowledge that things have gotten more complicated than you ever imagined. But you have learned a lot.

Recent Comments
  • doris: Ho my goodness my eyes are now open wide to the relationship that i have been in for 8 years everything that i...
  • Learnthehardway: Terrible that people are like that. My ex husband was/is one combined with a nasty vindictive...
  • CA: I responded to some posts last year. My husband of 15 years left me because he was depressed and disconnected...
  • CA: Anne, I’m feeling for you. I hope you are hanging on and that a way out reveals itself.
  • chely: I agree with your comment. Since I have learned to not get sucked into it when he starts on one of his rants,...
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter


Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 8849
Join Us Now!