The 7-Year-Old Schizophrenic
"She would scratch until she drew blood. She bit until she drew blood. She would try to run her nails down my face to try and scratch my eyes out," Michael says. "Then, seconds later, she was back to being sweet again."
Jani explained to her parents that imaginary animals named Wednesday and 400 were telling her to hit. If she didn't do it, she said they would scratch and bite her until she did.
When things got really bad, Susan, a stay-at-home mom, says Jani would try to hurt herself. "I remember she was so upset, she was choking herself," she says. "[She was] holding her hands around her neck, and she's like, 'How can I break my own neck?'"
Once, Jani's parents punished her by sending her to her room. When they went to check on her, Michael says they found her trying to jump out of her bedroom window.
This was the first year of life as Michael and Susan now know it. "The violence got so bad in year five that we had to hospitalize her," Michael says. "She's been in the hospital more than she's been home this year."
While in the hospital, doctors diagnosed Jani. Finally, Michael says he and Susan had a name for the enemy that threatened to destroy their family. "Its name was schizophrenia," he says.