Sunday, December 15, 2013

Holding the Sun (A Family Deals with Schizophrenia)

Via Documentary Heaven, this is a disturbing and sad account of one family's struggles with how to support and cope with a schizophrenic son. I want to add, however, that Aaron's violence is not typical of schizophrenics or of any other form of non-drug-induced psychosis. It's sad, but it is not common.

Holding the Sun

In Holding the Sun we get to look into a Canadian family’s struggle to save their son from schizophrenia and cope with the consequences of the condition. The Millar family was torn apart when on May 30th, 1997, Ruth Millar’s son Aaron came calmly up behind her and stuck a sword through her heart. Earlier that morning Ruth wrote to her husband about Aaron’s schizophrenia. She said he was looking quite psychotic these days, not in a harmful way but simply because he lives in his own world. She explained that he would not let her show any affection towards him and had changed from the once warm loving Aaron into a person she hardly knew.

Ruth’s husband of 28 years, Ramsay Millar, says that above all people simply need to be educated about this disease. He says it is more important than money or anything that causes more fear and less compassion. Christine Millar, Aaron’s older sister discusses how she has had to cope with her mother’s death as well as caring for Aaron. It is difficult to balance the anger of what he did to her mother with knowing it wasn’t his fault and that he now has to live with that every day. Christine won’t leave him, as difficult as it is; she doesn’t want Aaron to end up on the streets like so many people do with mental illnesses. The documentary follows the Millars’ story of how they tried to access mental health care for Aaron and how his life has returned to reality once he gets the proper treatment they were seeking for him. The past two years brought devastation to their family and Holding the Sun shines a light on the difficult situation that many families who have a child with schizophrenia can relate to.

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