Modern Love–Providing Comfort When a Cure is Out of Reach

THE first time my younger brother, Takkin, said his teeth were falling on the floor, my family was concerned, but we believed it was a passing manifestation of anxiety from the dental surgery he had recently been through.

When he complained that his teeth were sliding down his throat and that he didn’t have a mouth, we exchanged uncomfortable looks. But when he started walking around with a mirror in his hand and his finger in his mouth for days on end, we knew hoping for the best was no longer sufficient.

Within six months, Takkin had lost both of his jobs and had become violent at times, throwing dishes and grabbing the steering wheel and swerving the car when riding with my parents.

“You’re not doing anything to help,” he’d scream at them. “I’m in pain. My teeth are gone. You don’t care.”

My parents took him for consultations to see if other dentists recommended more procedures to deal with his mouth pain, but it was clear to me this was no longer about dentistry.

“Enough,” I said to my parents. “We need to consider psychiatry.”

By TARA EBRAHIMI, The New York Times

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  1. As a mother of a 28 year-old son diagnosed with Schizophrenia over three years ago, I wanted to comment on Tara’s article. I was able to relate on so many levels, especially neglecting my own mental well-being and that of the rest of my family. My husband is also of Middle Eastern descent so I also understand the resistance to treatment for mental health. I therefore, navigated this journey alone a lot of the times. I volunteer for an organization called Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA) and facilitate a teleconference support group for people all over the country and around the world. When I first came into the world of mental illness, I had nowhere to turn and nobody to ask for advice. This is what drives me to spread the word, break the stigma and try to educate people so that they can get the help they need. The only way we can make a difference is by opening up and sharing our stories, strength and hope.
    Bravo to Tara for sharing your personal and painful story!
    Susan Sheena

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