Living with Mental Illness

What’s it like when a loved one is struck by mental illness? Here is one person’s account…

The next morning I woke to find Giulia sitting on the bed, calmly but incoherently talking about the conversations she had overnight with God, and the panic set in. Giulia’s parents were already on a plane to California from Tuscany. I phoned the psychiatrist, who said, again, to take the medication. By now I thought that was a great idea—this crisis was clearly way beyond my depth. But still, Giulia refused the meds. The next morning, when I woke, I found her pacing around our bedroom, relating her animated chats with the devil. That was enough. With Giulia’s parents, who by then were in town, I drove her to the Kaiser Permanente emergency room. Kaiser didn’t have an inpatient psychiatric unit, so they sent us to Saint Francis Memorial Hospital, in downtown San Francisco, where Giulia was admitted. We all thought her stay in the psych ward would be brief. Giulia would get a little pharmaceutical help; her brain would clear up within days, maybe hours…

The article is long but very much worth reading.