My Brother’s Battle

By Lane Lohman:

My brother Douglas James Lohman, born July 31, 1989, passed away unexpectedly this past October after fighting a grueling battle with mental illness. By sharing his unique and difficult journey, my family and I hope to spread awareness, provide support and break the stigma associated with mental health conditions.

At just 25 years old, Doug had earned himself a notable reputation as the class-clown and life of every party. Packaged with a contagious laugh, huge heart and killer dance moves – he was truly impossible not to love. Throughout his life, Doug treated every day as a celebration and encouraged others to do the same. Whether it was leading the student-section chants at a high-school basketball game or jumping in the middle of the dance floor to show off his robot moves, Doug continuously revealed a spirit that was enchanting, admirable and impossible to break.

A few months before beginning his junior year at Penn State, Doug’s life took an unexpected and unimaginable turn. Contradictory to his lively character, he began revealing early signs of mental illness – including anxiety, paranoia and withdrawn behavior – that alarmed both his family and friends. After speaking with numerous medical practitioners and behavioral specialists, Doug was officially diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia in 2011.

Doug maintained his kind heart, infectious smile and enthusiasm for music despite the battle he was fighting internally. Doug had an undeniable thirst for life, extraordinary willpower and irrefutable readiness to take risks. For these reasons and many more, Doug’s life will be celebrated through the Douglas J. Lohman Memorial, a donation fund benefiting NAMI Southwestern PA.

NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. By raising awareness about Doug’s unique case, we can offer support, education and advocacy for families and individuals who are dealing with mental illness.

You may make donations to the Douglas J. Lohman Memorial and learn more about NAMI online at http://tinyurl.com/DougLohmanNAMI. Checks can also be made payable to NAMI Southwestern PA and mailed to: NAMI Southwestern PA, 105 Braunlich Drive, Suite 200, Pittsburgh, PA 15237.

Thank you in advance for your support in memory of my brother Doug!

July 31, 2015

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