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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Calalini and the Seven Rats: a man's story of life with a schizophrenic daughter

    My daughter, the schizophrenic
    (Michael Schofield in the Guardian)

    Her father knew there was something special about his daughter.
    But by the time she was five, his pride had turned to panic

    June 2006
    Most three-year-olds are in bed by now, but most three-year-olds are not geniuses like my daughter. As well as read, she can already multiply and divide in her head.

    It's almost nine o'clock and my wife, Susan, is probably getting home from her shift reporting news and traffic for a radio station. But I want to keep Janni out until there is nowhere left to go but home. We've been doing this since Janni was a baby. When I'm lecturing, it's Susan who makes the rounds.

    We've already been to the zoo, Ikea and a McDonald's play area. She has to be well past the point of physical exhaustion by now. But it's her mind I have to wear out. That has been the only way to get her to sleep since she was born.

    Janni storms into a toy shop. The sales assistant comes over to us.

    "Can I help you?" she asks.

    "No, thanks. Just looking," I say.

    She nods and starts to walk away, but to my dismay Janni follows her.

    "I have seven rats at home," Janni tells her.

    "Wow," she replies. "You have seven rats?"

    "Yep," Janni nods. "I call them Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday."

    Then comes the part I hate the most. The assistant looks up at me, a questioning expression on her face. One rat she could understand, even two or three, but seven?

    We don't have any rats. Every single one of them is an imaginary friend. Janni's first imaginary friend, a dog named Low, appeared right before her third birthday. Then came a cat named 400. By now, I've lost count of how many she has. They all come from a place called Calalini.

    I open my mouth, about to say, "They're actually imaginary rats." But I see Janni turn to me, awaiting my response.
    much more at the link

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    I really appreciate this link wfgodot.
    I am trying to gather my thoughts to comment.
    It is a powerful and moving account.
    Thank you for posting it.
    One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.
    John F. Kennedy

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by CocoChanel View Post
    I really appreciate this link wfgodot.
    I am trying to gather my thoughts to comment.
    It is a powerful and moving account.
    Thank you for posting it.
    You're welcome. Thought so too.

    Stories like this make me bless the internet's existence as, without it, most would never get to read them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Very powerful story. And heartbreaking.

    I have a close relative who (finally) was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 20. Very early on, around 10 months or so, this child was indeed "different" in his behaviors than the other little ones in the family. The very first behavior we noticed was when put down into the crib to nap, the child would put both hands up over his ears and proceed to roll from side to side in a rhythmic manner.

    While his IQ was certainly not 146, he always fell well within the range of normal. And he was tested numerous times as part of evaluations to try to figure out "the problem".

    I will say, we never experienced the violence described in this account. This child was raised with two siblings, one older and one younger. Violent is just not a word that I would attach to him. Perhaps with schizophrenia as with autism, there is a spectrum. Maybe some "have it worse" than others.

    He led his life taking medications. He once lamented to me that he would never lead a "normal life like everybody else". But he almost did. He held an unskilled job position for many years and was described as a good worker. His family loved him.

    If he stopped his meds, which he did several times throughout the years, he would descend into a world of paranoia and voices. Eventually he accepted that he could NEVER stop taking medication.

    He married in his early thirties. His wife was another damaged soul, but they made their way through life together. No children. At 42 he died suddenly of an illness unrelated to the schizophrenia.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    I remember watching Oprah doing an interview with this Family.


    Here's another link, it's a blog about the show...
    Oprah ignores child abuse while omitting key facts with a disturbing show featuring Jani Schofield 7 year old Schizophrenic

    Today Oprah (http://www.oprah.com/media/20090828-...nic-girl-oprah) did a Typically Sad Powder Puff Show on Childhood Schizophrenia featuring Jani Schofield a supposed 7 year old Schizophrenic; <modsnip>

    Last edited by JBean; 01-19-2013 at 09:53 PM. Reason: remove non functioning link
    "The dead cannot cry out for justice; it is a duty of the living to do so for them."
    ★★★★★ ღ♥Lois McMaster Bujold♥ღ ★★★★★

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    For Jani Schofield, an abrupt end to first grade (Los Angeles Times, 09.2009)

    Family Reunited After Young Girl's Schizophrenia Forced Separation (ABC News, 03.2012)

    A portion of the Guardian cutting from the book appeared first in Huffington Post, 08.2012, concentrating on the June 2006 episode:

    Jani's Story: My Child's Descent into Madness

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Nothing to see here, move along...
    I am, if I were to be brutally honest, not sure what I believe. I've read a lot on Jani and her family - they're local-ish to me - and I can't get past some concerns I have about the parenting I've seen, and some of the issues about abuse (which, frankly, do exist; although not in the same vein as what I've read about...and not to the point of abuse, per se...).

    I have some concerns. I do feel badly about this child and her situation, and for what her parents are going through (and continue to go through). It seems that Bodhi also has autism, or is on the autism spectrum...and this is, of course, a concern and challenge as well.

    I don't know what to think. My heart bleeds for those who suffer mental illness, no matter what age it appears...but, again, being honest here...I'm not too terribly sure that Jani is as ill as is being portrayed. And then again, I don't know.

    Herding Cats
    When you find yourself in the position to help somebody, do not feel burdened. Rather, feel happy and blessed because God is answering that person's prayer through you. In that moment, you are God's Angel - His door to reach through and bring light to someone who is struggling in the darkness.

    Be God's Light. Be God's love. Be an answered prayer. Be God's Door.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Is this the same girl, named January that a documentary was made about a few years ago? The parents had to live separately to protect the baby brother? I'm trying to read and find out if medication is controlling Jani's symptoms?
    Edited: found it. Meds help turn down the volume but the hallucinations are still there dsily.
    Last edited by txsvicki; 01-19-2013 at 11:03 PM.

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