Life may have been different if my dad had help

Kerri Lynn
This is my story.. My father was diagnosed with schizophrenia in his 20s. I never really understood "what was wrong with him" when I was young. I didn't really have friends over to the house - back then I felt ashamed or embarrassed. All I could think was what if he starts laughing or crying for no reason in front of them. Or what will they think of me having a dad who hears voices. I kept quiet about my dad's "disease" to most. Only a few very close friends knew. This was the late 80s and the 90s. I slightly remember my mom bringing me to see a psychiatrist for 2 appointments to try and understand what my dad has. My mother and father divorced when I was around the age of 11. She could not live "like this" any more. She did not have the resources or help back then. My father would not take his pills and my mother believed the voices he heard did not like her and that if she stayed he could harm her. Now with that being said not once did he harm her while they were together physically. I visited my father regularly as he had to move back in with his parents at this time. Around the age of 17 I decided I wanted to find my dad a place and for myself to move in with him and help take care of him. I did my best to make sure he took his pills everyday and that he attended his doctor appointments. I started to understand more and more what my dad had to go through everyday living with this disease. Sometimes he would turn the tv up really loud and I believe he was trying to drown out his voices. I heard conversations that he had with himself and some were scary to listen to. He would argue with the voices. Where as other times he would laugh uncontrollably really loud. I also remember reading notes on the table that he wrote but they didn't make sense to me. My dad always kept to himself. Didn't have friends he could go out with but he preferred that. When I was 20 I had a son. I was no longer able to stay living with my father as I had to start my own family now but I would still visit everyday and make him meals. When living with him I could tell when he did and didn't take his pills. I found after I moved out it was too hard to try and take this "situation" on myself. I reached out for help to his doctor but there wasn't much he could do for me. It was until I found a letter that had a "threat" in it towards his doctor. My dad was hospitalized but after that then what..It was a struggle to find help for my dad. Until the Civic Hospital in Ottawa. With the help of my mom and my aunts I was in touch with them where my dad stayed for a little while and then they helped me place him in a great place called "Carefor" health center in Pembroke. Where he is now to this day. He is involved with an act team that gets him out and about. He's always taking his meds now and not refusing. I think mental illness awareness has come along way since I found out about this disease. Life may have been different for my dad if these resources were available when he 1st was diagnosed. But we are headed in the right direction now. Thank you for letting me share my story.