“I just couldn’t' give up on Katie. I knew there was something inside of her much better than what other people were saying. And I was right.”
Since Jodie adopted Katie as a baby, she didn’t have any of her daughter’s family history. What she was to learn about her daughter literally took her 27 years.
Difficulties began when Katie was only 8 or 9. “It became very apparent to my husband and me that there was definitely something mentally wrong.”
“Katie would say, ‘Mom I'm hearing voices, these people are talking to me,’ and I'd say ‘Katie, don't make up stories—you need to go to sleep.’✱ Later on I realized that was very real for her. I didn’t' know that until this diagnosis came about.”
Looking for help everywhere
Jodie and her husband, Shawn, sought help with professionals. They tried a series of institutions to see if anything could help Katie. They even tried a program involving “tough love,” without success.
“We just wanted her to have a good life, and she was struggling a lot.”
Meghan, adopted 4 years after Katie, also felt the effects of her sister’s disease. “Meghan was always pushed into the background. She saw a lot of horrible, scary things as a young child.”
Turning point: the diagnosis
The diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder was a revelation for Jodie. “When they diagnosed it, I said, ‘Now I know what's wrong with her.’ That was a relief to me, as someone that's tried everything to help her get better. Now you can deal with it. It’s the unknown that's scary.”
Once there was a clear diagnosis, Jodie jumped in with both feet. Katie began on INVEGA SUSTENNA®, and Jodie began spreading the word about having a child with schizoaffective disorder.
Her advice: “Number one: embrace it, don't be afraid of it. A lot of people won't talk about mental illness. To me, it’s like my daughter has diabetes or…cancer. People just need to be educated, so I've talked about it openly at work or wherever."
Jodie also believes helping a child needs to be ongoing. “You have to take them through their whole journey on this. You can't not have the bumps and the heartaches and the being scared. Katie needed support to know she’s loved even in a difficult time of life.”
Coming full circle
Both Jodie and Katie feel sharing their stories helps others. “When Katie was a little girl, she said, ‘I want to speak and I want to help people.’ Part of that dream has come true for her. She has one of the biggest hearts and beautiful spirits.”
Words of wisdom
It was a long road getting to the diagnosis and medication, but INVEGA SUSTENNA® has helped Katie. “I'm very grateful for this medication. INVEGA SUSTENNA® has changed all our lives—our whole family.”
Jodie’s parting words to families: “Never give up. Because if you do, you’ll never know what could be.”
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