For a living, I make people laugh (radio broadcaster, VO talent, emcee, stage actress). My hobby? Neuroscience. It actually comes in quite handy, and not just in understanding my son’s schizophrenia.
From the “Neuroscience 2010” symposium at Yale yesterday: Kay Jamison Redfield (An Unquiet Mind), award recipient, reminding us that love makes a huge difference in recovery. Re her late husband: “My rage was no match for his wit.” How often it helps to keep a sense of humor, even in the middle of a loved one’s crisis. Sometimes it’s all you can do to locate your own sanity.
Big topic: early detection, possible prevention. According to John Krystal, MD, Chairman of Psychiatry at Yale School of Med, “brain changes associated with psychiatric illness can be prevented and reversed.” Another presenter warns us that “mental illness is like paraplegia of the brain – we can’t change that it happened, but how we deal with it can make all the difference in quality of life.” Hope, realism, acceptance – all echoed in one morning.
But, clearly, if full psychosis can be prevented by alert professionals and family members, the outlook is better. More understanding, less judgment, more hope. Keep funding research, please!