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My child has schizoaffective disorder and has been so sick with the illness that, at times, he hasn’t recognized me. Before he was properly diagnosed, there was agony, fear and denial, worry, self-blame, and exhaustion. But now, with ongoing treatment and support, we still worry but we also have hope.

When my child was 15, he started having outbursts at school. We were told we needed to be better parents. We were told it was Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Even though he tried medication for ADHD, his outbursts continued and soon after, he started abusing substances. I got him into outpatient and in-patient treatment for the substance abuse. After one hospitalization – and two weeks of increasingly bizarre behavior – I was told that there was nothing that could be done. I took my psychotic son home. I was terrified.

I continued searching for an answer. After seeing around 20 mental health professionals, we found the one who gave us hope. He made the correct diagnosis and prescribed medications that settled down the psychosis. That’s when our healing began.

Today we manage this illness together. He’s in treatment at a nearby clinic. He gets the services he needs, and I have other parents I can talk to. We’ve both learned so much about his illness. With this support and treatment, he’s been able to resume his education at a local school. He has good days and bad days, but he’s involved with his life and he has goals.

If I could say anything to a parent facing a similar experience, it would be to never give up. Recovery is possible, even with a mental illness.