3. Life as a paranoid schizophrenic

Life as a paranoid schizophrenic

Life as a paranoid schizophrenicThe Norman TranscriptNORMAN — Editor, The Transcript

The Rheudasil family would like to respond to some of the negative comments made about Barry Rheudasil in the three-hour stand-off that took place on March 29, 2012. Here are some facts about Barry that people might not know.

Here’s some information about his mental disease —some explanations as to why he acts the way he does. Our family finds it important to educate you on the ravages of his mental illness...Paranoia Schizophrenia.

On Barry’s 16th birthday, after a family celebration of cake and ice cream, he rode his motorcycle to the store to see his friend and buy a soda.

His friend slipped a tab of LSD in Barry’s soft drink, as a joke, unbeknownst to him.

The next day he didn’t feel good and began acting very strange. Our mom had no idea what to do for him. Sheriff Bill Porter helped get him to the mental hospital...in a straight jacket. It was very painful for our parents. In the 70s drugs were creeping into Norman.

Barry had a very bad experience or “trip,” and that single event was the beginning of his journey into mental illness. A journey he did not choose. He has gone through the excruciating effects of electric shock treatments numerous times, been in mental institutions in Oklahoma City and Norman and he has been on psychotropic drugs for the biggest part of his life. Those drugs are known to affect the central nervous system and change your behavior and your perception. They have done that and more to Barry. He is no longer the kid we grew up loving. Prior to the LSD he was a sweet, loving, kind- hearted, normal little kid that was always happy and a joy to be around. He climbed trees, loved his dog Lady and his monkey JoJo, he bought candy for the kids on our block with money he earned gathering mistletoe, always smiling and joking. He wrote some of the most thoughtful and beautiful poems. He always had a job, working at the Taco Place and at the Blue Onion washing dishes. He was a veracious reader. He was just a sweet boy. He would help our mom make dinner, have tea with the older ladies in our neighborhood... he was a free-loving kid. He is a son, a brother, an uncle who never had the chance to become a husband, a father, a grandparent, or to fulfill his dreams and reach his goals. We love him unconditionally and pray he gets the help he needs. It’s a very sad situation and it breaks our hearts that he is so harshly judged by the public.

The kid that gave Barry the LSD died of a drug overdose in the early 70’s.

Schizophrenia is believed to be caused when certain chemicals in the brain are not in balance. (this was cause by his friend playing a joke on him and putting the LSD in his soft drink). Not all people with schizophrenia have the same symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms for schizophrenia include:

-Seeing, hearing, or sensing things that others do not experience (hallucinations)

-Believing that what other people say is not true (delusions)

-Not trusting others and feeling very suspicious (paranoia)

-Avoiding family and friends and wanting to be alone

Barry has all these symptoms in spades. Back in those days there was not much information about this illness. Our parents didn’t really know what was gong on, didn’t know where to go or what to do for him. He just started acting strange after that fateful trip to the store.

Drugs have taken minds and souls of many of our friends. People that had bright futures, had moms and dads, brothers and sisters, were loved and respected, made good grades, had hopes and dreams, just like all of us.

They did not choose this mental illness, yet they have been trapped by it and must live with it until the day they die.

We hope and pray that you can open your hearts and try to understand what Barry, and many like him, suffers every second of his life.

It ain’t pretty folks, and sometimes it can be darn hard on the family, when someone you love is suffering with this mental illness and you can’t do anything about it. Our family prays for Barry every day and we do all that we can to help him, to love him, to understand him. We try our very best to love him with unconditional expectations.

We have watched this story unfold, in the news and through our friends, as we sit safely and securely in our homes in Paris, Borne, Dallas, OKC, Austin and feel so helpless.

We just want you to know that he does have a family that loves and cares for him, a mother, a father, a sister, a brother, uncles, aunts, cousins... we sit her unable to reach out and give him what he needs as a 58-year-old Paranoid Schizophrenic. So please don’t judge unless you know the facts.

We encourage you to learn more about this mental illness so you will have compassion for these people that are trapped with no hope and now way out.

The Rheudasil family
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