Sunday, April 10, 2011

Child onset schizophrenia and Synesthesia ... a story of a girl

             I saw this video of  a 7 year old Jani Schofield on 'The Oprah Show",a long time back, she is a kid with immense intelligence, she reportedly has an IQ of 146, though she has never been to school. She was diagnosed with "child onset schizophrenia", but some say that she might be a Synesthete too. Schizophrenia has become popular among the learned at least, but synesthesis is not. Synesthesia, is a condition that leads the synesthete to portray numbers, letters, months of the year and days of the week as living beings. So when someone calls out a number, the synesthete thinks of a character in her/his mind,that can be a contradiction. In the video that i saw, Jani speaks of her imaginary friends and an island called "The island of calalini" , she also calls it her other world, this shows that she is schizophrenic,She also talks about her friends, wednesday, 200, 61 and 24 hours, which shows that she could also be a synesthete say a few doctors.The usual schizophrenic,name their imaginary friends with human names, and 2 out of 5 senses play it, but for Jani,  4 out of 5 senses are actively schizophrenic, that is she cannot only see but feel, hear and touch her imaginary friends.She constantly says that her (imaginary) friends beat and scratch her. Jani is also highly violent and suicidal.She has been prescribed with the most powerful drugs, to keep her from being hyperactive. A normal adult cannot stand or even open the eyes, with a quarter of the tranquilizers that she takes. Her dad tested the drug on himself, before letting her have it, and the result was quite shocking, he had quarter of the tablet, and dozed off within minutes, whereas Jani takes 2 tablets and is still active, playing in the grounds..She has also been institutionalized several times in psychiatric wards.
                  Jani's parents take shift in taking care of her and her younger brother.Jani tends to hurt her brother when she is in psychosis.But Jani is just like any other kid when she is not in psychosis.Inorder to keep her from drifting to the other world, she needs to be mentally occupied with some tough tasks all the time.

"The 7-year-old-schizophrenic"

                 She is one beautiful girl, fighting her mind. Schizophrenia and synesthesia can be treated with medications to a certain extent, but all that they need is support and love.Jani is fortunate to have been born to supportive parents, but most of them are not that lucky enough. By early diagnosis, one might not be able to cure it, but can make it easy and better for them. No mother would want her child to suffer mentally or physically, but physical illness can be seen, told and felt, whereas mental illness is mute and fatal.So when a child complains,keeps to one's self  or does something unusual,yet is intelligent, need not mean that he/she is an evolved version of you, it could mean mental illness.Many parents do not want to believe that their kids are mentally ill, because they have high IQ and have been offered the best of gene pools , but it is illness caused by many other factors, that leads to such conditions. Creating awareness and listening to your kids is the prime concern.


Indian said...

Pity Jani.. Schizophrenia has always baffled me!

Chelsea said...

The synesthesia and the imaginary friends are perfectly fine to live with; I would focus all the concern on the fact that she believes that they are real, and that they order her to commit homicide and suicide.

I also had number-named imaginary cat friends when I was a kid, due to my synesthesia and autism. They were completely harmless, and I knew that they were not physically existent. I was stigmatized for them, but it didn't matter to me, because those imaginary friends Sequoia 64, Tabitha 48 and many more, helped keep my mind off of the bullying in school.

ABI said...

@chelsea Thank you for the comment :) Thats a good way to see it and i am really glad they helped you keep your mind off of the bullying .