You took the words right out of my mouth! I want to give you some hope though. One year ago my son was catatonic and barely able to communicate. I feared that we would never see the son we used to know again, and all my dreams for his future were shattered with his diagnosis. It’s been a long year of doctor’s visits, therapist visits, hospitalizations (sadly) and learning to be a caregiver for someone with this illness. But he has slowly regained much of his personality and learned to manage his illness. Just last week, I was amazed when I saw a smile that reminded me – He’s still there!! Two weeks ago his doctor took him off one of the meds that was supposed to be helping with hallucinations. My son explained that he couldn’t tell if it helped at all, because he still has the hallucinations (but through therapy he has learned to manage them). The medication was producing side effects (eyes rolling, tongue thrusting), and the doctor felt that if was best for him to go off of it. Anyway, once he came off that medication, his old personality came shining through. So, our loved ones are still there, but something is keeping their personalities inside. I know the medications are necessary to treat the illness, but some might be better than others at not suppressing their personalities. He has also been able to start back with his schooling – at a very slow pace, but at least it’s progress. I’m beginning to dream about his future again, but with a new filter that includes life with this illness. ALSO, something that helped me deal with this was attending NAMI Family to Family classes. I highly recommend them!! They are FREE training for family members who care for loved ones with mental illnesses. You can look on the NAMI website for classes in your area. I learned so much more from that class, than I ever would have learned from the doctor, PLUS I met other families in my area dealing with the exact same thing. It made me feel like I’m not alone in this, and now I have a support network close by.