Seared into Randye Kaye’s memory is a terrifying day in 2003 when she rushed 21-year-old Ben to the emergency room of the local hospital near her home in Connecticut and told the front desk, “My son is having a psychotic break.” Ben was led away, and as Randye waited to learn what would happen next, she glimpsed him through the window of the lock-down room, frantically pacing and muttering to himself. All she could think was, “How did we get here? How did this happen to my baby?” The following day he was admitted to a psychiatric facility.
It was not the first time Ben (not his real name) had been hospitalized—there would be five hospitalizations that year alone—nor would it be the last. The troubled behavior that had begun when the bright, friendly, poetry-writing boy dropped out of high school three years earlier, had spun out of control with drug abuse, misdiagnoses, ineffective medications and, above all, Ben’s adamant denial that there was anything wrong with him. But it was hard for Randye to think of this as simply exaggerated adolescent rebellion.