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character with dementia or schizophrenia ?

Hey, I’m a 17 year old wannabe writer.
One of my stories is about a boy called Tom who grew up in the 70s and has a mum called Eloisa with mental health problems, I’m serious about credibility so I just have to check that I am researching the right illness so I know what to look at in more detail.

1. It is suggested that he might have has a daughter called Alice who died aged six of a heart condition that she had always had. Tom would have been three years old when she died and can’t remember is she actually existed. He thinks that his parents showed no emotion when his sister died and there are no pictures of her around the house and no one mentions Alice.

cause of this illness: learning that her daughter would not live for very long and then losing her.
symptoms: pretending that her daughter never existed and showing no emotion when she died any possible diagnosis of what this could be?


2. Tom feels that his mum shows no love towards him. She probably had postnatal depression after he was born or/and when she was pregnant with him. She thinks that she won’t be a good mother and dosn’t deserves to have a baby because Alice died/was ill and she feels guilty. It is not made clear if Alice ever really existed or if Tom is dreaming her up or if Alice was born a long time before Tom and he is picking up psychic energy or anything. It could also be because Eloisa really wanted a girl, weather to replace Alice or just because she feels Alice should exist. Remember it’s a mental illness.

3. Toms mum is a devoted OTT catholic (remember this is in the 1970s London) She is more religious than her own parents were so it’s not a nurture/culture thing. It’s almost paranoia about God and Heaven.

This could be something that stems from her childhood or from later life, maybe brought on by a trauma or it could be genetic or maybe even just her personality. Religion is a touchy subject I know.

4. Four years after Tom is born she has another son called Edward. She starts to get really bad here, confusing the boys up. She will be talking to tom and calling him Eddy (dementure/outsimers?) and cradling him like a baby, talking to people that aren’t there, she will yell at Edward to stop crying when he’s not making any noise (schizophrenia?) She sees dirt and mess everywhere and is constantly cleaning when there is no mess (schizophrenia and OCD?) she has panic attacks and over trivial things or things that she is imagining.

5. She becomes paranoid that the neighbours are always watching her and judging as a wife and mother. Her house must always be clean and tidy and she throws big dinner parties to keep up appearances. If something goes wrong she will feel like it’s worth dying over

6. She things her sons, who are normal are the worst children she could have if they laze in bed or don’t want to go to church or they listen to punk rock.

7. Also tom acted a little autistic when he was younger but grew out of it when he got to about age 5. She was so determined that he was going to be a perfect child and when he wasn’t, she concentrated too much on Edward because he was her last hope and hates tom for being a failure. This leaves Edward being over pushed and tom with no attention other than negative attention.

8. She goes through episodes. Early on, she has happy days and sad days but as the kids grow up she had permanently bad days and sometimes terrible weeks/months where she displays the symptoms listed above strongly.

9. When Tom leaves home and comes out that he is gay she renounces him as her son. When Tom tries to reason with her she slaps him across the face in a busy tea shop despite everyone watching, this is unlike her.


Is she having a breakdown over many years? Is it part schizophrenia and a something or may other things as well? Is there just one diagnosis to cover the lot? She seems to be seriously depressed and the story is very open about why as it focuses on Tom, not his mother.

Please suggest anything you think resembles any of these behaviour patterns.
Thank you.
English Writer.
. Confused
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First Helper EnglishWriter
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replied February 8th, 2008
Especially eHealthy
If you are really writing a story about characters with mental illness, please, please do your research and try to avoid using stereotypes. Maybe learn what living with schizophrenia is really like, and try to write a story from that perspective to help people understand the struggle and help people understand that people who have schizophrenia are not "crazy" and make perfectly good friends.
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replied February 8th, 2008
thankyou
thats why im trying to work out. you see, i dont think she has schizophrenia. thats what im saying, someone changed teh title of my post.
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replied February 11th, 2008
Especially eHealthy
Well reading around on the forums can help you find out what people with schizophrenia struggle with, and there are informational posts as well that describe symptoms.

I'm having a hard time responding because this isn't a real character, so how could she have a diagnosable mental illness? If you want to write from the perspective of someone who has a mental illness, it seems to me that it would be better to learn about the illness first, understand what it would be like, then try to write about it.

From one aspiring writer to another Wink
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replied February 14th, 2008
ok thanks. i thought you where angry at me.

how i have designed her, i havent got a name for any of the conditions thats just what i really wanted. she is how she is, i wrote these stories to long ago to change that.
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