A Child’s Mental Health and Suicide with Doug McSwane

A star athlete and scholar, his friends called him Patch in high school. As he graduated, his family celebrated his coming adventure to Texas Tech, a family tradition. 

Mental Health, Mental Illness, Suicide?

His battle with mental illness struck without warning. Two weeks after a perfectly normal call from college, Patrick called his dad again in a frenzy. This time, the conversation would change their lives forever. Micro chips, aliens, paranoia, and all kinds of hallucinatory imaginings; something was wrong.

Doug McSwane speaking on behalf of Mental Health CathyKrafve.comA Parent’s Nightmare

A devoted father, Doug McSwane (pictured left) raced the eight hour trek to Lubbock. When he got to Patrick’s apartment, things were worse than a parent could ever imagine.

“It looked like a tsunami had hit the place, food wrappers everywhere….” Doug says, “That began our dark, dark journey down the world of mental health.” Now, Doug graciously shares his wisdom on mental illness and suicide for all of us.

Mental Illness Means the Body is Malfunctioning

“Mental illness is a function of your body, specifically your brain,” explains Doug. For instance, like the schizophrenia that Patrick heroically battled, all mental disease is caused by malfunctions between our chemistry and our brains, he explains.

“Dopamine is what washes over the zebra’s brain when he sees the lion. He has a split second to decide if he is going to run away or become lunch,” Doug says. Both schizophrenia and bipolar disease involve malfunctions of dopamine, he adds.

Support from Community

Unprepared for the tempest of mental illness, the McSwanes initially withdrew from friends. Being isolated only meant they didn’t get the support they needed at first, though. Now they strongly recommend that families seek out trustworthy friends and advisors immediately. The best help is in creating a community of compassionate friends and advisors.

Peace of Mind

Since Patrick’s suicide, their family makes it their mission to call attention to the resources needed to combat mental illness. One terrific resource is Peace of Mind Conferences, an annual event that brings together experts and families. At PeaceOfMindTyler.com you can find information, videos, and stories about how others combat mental illness.

Doug created two podcasts with Fireside Talk Radio to help other families. He shared so much more than I have room for here. Go to His Story:  A Father’s Story of his Son’s Suicide or His Wisdom: When Mental Illness Strikes Your Family. You’ll be glad you did.

The Beautiful Life of Patrick McSwane

I remember Patrick as a tot. I’ve known his family for over 35 years. Their family motto is “trying to live a beautiful life.” I’m deeply grateful to the McSwanes; they make life better for all of us by sharing their experience. With that in mind, today’s blog is dedicated to the beautiful life of Patrick McSwane.

If you or someone you love is battling mental illness, I hope you will search out the support you need. 

May I pray for you?

Dear Good Father who designed our bodies to reflect Your glory, we don’t understand what we need to about our minds, souls, and spirits. We turn to You because You offer comfort and hope when life seems hopeless. Have mercy, O Lord, on us, Your beloved children. Give us grace for this day. Surround us with others whose hearts are filled with compassion and understanding. Thank You for Your people who lovingly share their heartaches so we know we aren’t alone. Give us courage, stamina, and grace, Dear One. You are the source of our strength. In You, we trust. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Upcoming Adventures, Prayer Needed

Next Up: Marcie McSwane shares her beautiful heart and life with us. On Fireside Talk Radio, she talks about how to comfort siblings dealing with mental health and suicide. Please share her wisdom with your friends, so many will be blessed. Following that, we’re bringing some more amazing moms and dads to share their experiences. Always tenderly, often hilariously! And, as always, please keep praying!

Let us hear from you!

Never forget that we love to hear from you. You are the reason we keep writing and sharing. You are dear to our hearts.

Cathy Krafve, Texas Author, Columnist, Speaker, and Radio Host, focusing on fellowship in Christian Marriage and Family, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at CathyKrafve.com. Truth with a Texas Twang.

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