My Son Descended Into Mental Illness After Having Strep Throat

Minnesota Dad Brian Barnes is over-the-moon proud of all of his four kids, but he especially loved how he could depend upon his oldest son Parker, now twelve. In an essay he wrote for ABC News, Brian recalls what Parker was like before he got strep throat three times in three months back in the spring of 2017.

“As the eldest of our four kids, he was a most capable young man,” Barnes says. “He got good grades in school, was popular among his classmates, adored by his teachers and loved by his family. We nicknamed him ‘The Lead Dog’ as in how a dog team is directed by a natural leader at the head of the team. He was organized, stone reliable and obviously smart with a dry sense of humor and a wry smile that gave the impression of an old soul. His reliability was way above his peers. You could count on him every time you needed him.”

A “normal” bout of strep throat changes it all

All of Parker’s rock-steady character and sweetness changed dramatically in the spring of 2017 when he had three bouts of strep throat close together. Their normal, happy ten-year-old, Brian Barnes says, “descended into psychosis, hallucinations, suicidal actions, rages, torturous anxiety, obsessive behavior, compulsions and seizures. He experienced a loss of his fine motor skills and a loss of appetite. He lost weight and eventually lost the ability to speak for more than four months.”

“This monster had consumed my boy,” says Barnes.

Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson
Jenny is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor.

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