Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

Living In Fear: Psychiatrist Shares Her Experience Growing Up With Schizophrenia in the Home

Dr. Luisa Sanz, founder of Mind Yr Life, grew up as the sixth of eight children in a low-income family living in a three-bedroom home. Her two brothers were both diagnosed with schizophrenia. Most of her early childhood and adolescence were draped in fear and violence. Decades later, Luisa’s eldest brother, Antonio has recently passed away after an
unfortunate succession of medical complications including covid which ended his life whist putting up a fair fight against lung cancer. Antonio’s story has influenced so much of Luisa’s work and, in turn, given her clarity and vision in her life’s purpose.

While she and her family struggled gravely, often at hands of Antonio, his struggles were immense and all-encompassing, as well. He was judged, rejected by his peers and by the professionals who were supposed to support him, and made to think of himself as worthless. While Luisa and her family lived in fear, he did too. As it turned out, many of their
demons were one and the same.

Near the end of his life, Antonio said “this illness has been so limiting that I’ve never been able to give myself to others or dedicate my life to what I’ve been passionate about: nature, guitar and studying.” During his final days, Luisa felt more clear on what she’d always known, Antonio had (and has) an incredibly profound purpose, and that’s to elevate the voices and
improve the experiences of people who are suffering as he did.

He has a message for society: “one day, you’ll understand too but, in the meantime, just try being that little bit more caring and that little bit less judging.” And one for those who are struggling with mental health like he did: “we’ve got each other,
care for each other and accept each other; we understand our struggles. We’ll never give up on ourselves, we’ll keep going no matter what.”

Antonio’s purpose is clear, and this is his legacy. We’re pleased to share Antonio’s story.