Please note that Far From the Tree was published in 2012, so the interviews below are relatively recent. The level of ignorance is astonishing. Harvard psychiatrists tapering their patients by 30% every week, people not being aware that clozapine requires liver testing, many families not knowing that if you treat someone with respect and empathy and encourage daily contact, they will blossom.
MacLean pychiatrist: “Then we come up with a plan to taper their medication by about thirty percent every week.”
William’s sister: My father found a small house for him in the woods, away from the summer community, so no one would see him. In fact, my father saw him only three times in thirty years.” Sister finally intervenes when her brother is aged 52. “That kind of denial, the way my father was–ate him alive, and now he’s just a hollow wreck. A whole life slipped away, that didn’t have to”
Malcolm’s brother: Just after Malcolm died: “No one expected Malcolm to die when he did. Peter said, “of course the illness reduces your life expectancy, and the medication, even though it’s helping you, reduces your life expectancy, too. But, at least he got himself to the best place he could. We’ll take this death because of the quality of life he had.”
After the coroner’s report on Malcolm: The coroner’s office took blood samples, just to rule out the possibility of wrong doing. A few months later, the family learned that clozapine ended the same life it had redeemed. “We didn’t realize death by clozapine was even possible, but are gradually learning more about it,” Peter wrote to me. “It seems like the toxic levels of clozapine built up over time because his liver was not processing it. Some have suggested to us that liver function should be tested regularly to make sure there is not a buildup in toxicity, and that this is a matter of standard medical practice…..Now we are left with the final tragedy–the medications we forced him to take, which he railed against and fought with all his spirit for most of his life, killed him.”
Paul and Freda, who now have two sons, live in terror of seeing them develop schizophrenia. they considered using a sperm donor, but couldn’t bring themselves to do so. …In 2008, Paul and Freda agreed to participate in a survey on schizophrenia genetics. “We sit by the phone, Freda said, “waiting to find out what the gene is, so we can test the kids.”
Harry’s mother: (Why didn’t the author let Harry speak for himself? Harry’s mother’s testimony is hearsay)
“He presents as much better than he is, so even since his diagnosis, his therapists have picked up much less than they should have. He still thinks that if he acts like he’s normal he’ll be treated more normally by the world. All it means is that he doesn’t get as much help as he needs.”