Born Schizophrenic: A Mother’s Search for Her Family’s Sanity

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Every family has their own struggles. For the Schofields, it is getting their children mental health care. In Michael Schofield’s book “January First,” we followed their journey as their daughter’s mental illness worsened until she was diagnosed with schizophrenia at six. When “January First” ended, they were living in two apartments and their life was reasonably stable. “Born Schizophrenic: A Mother’s Search for Her Family’s Sanity” is a semi-sequel to that story. “January First” focused on the family’s realization that Jani was mentally ill and getting her the help she needed. “Born Schizophrenic” starts with Susan and Michael meeting each other and follows them from their marriage through divorce, up to both of them being happily engaged to other people, but it is all viewed through the lens of their children’s struggles. “January First” describes Jani’s early struggles. “Born Schizophrenic” picks up where that lets off and follows Bodhi’s struggles with mental illness and getting the diagnosis and medication he needs. Bodhi is diagnosed with autism at two. In a twist of fate, Bodhi is now attacking the teachers and aides in his autism preschool while Jani improves enough to return to a special needs classroom in a regular school. It was a crushing blow because he was supposed to be Jani’s savior when their parents were no longer around and now Jani is helping Bodhi. Even worse, Susan and Michael disagree about Bodhi’s condition. Susan believes he is on the path toward schizophrenia and wants to stop it as soon as possible, while Michael believes he is severely autistic. Because Bodhi has an autism diagnosis, he receives benefits (therapies) Jani was never offered. It’s great when his medication is working, but when it isn’t, all the behaviors come back. By the time he’s six, he’s been hospitalized nearly as often as Jani but he isn’t improving the way she did after she received Clozaril, a medication that is never tried on Bodhi. As Susan and Michael continue to clash over their children’s care, their marriage reaches a breaking point. Michael has an affair, then another, until they are forced to admit their marriage is over. Even then, they stay together while false allegations of child abuse, neglect, even rape, bringing the CPS and the Police banging on their door in the middle of the night. When Michael and his ex-girlfriend rekindle their relationship, divorce is inevitable. Susan must now conquer her greatest fear: raising two special needs kids, alone. Once she is confident in her new role, her true love finally walks into her life.

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