January “Jani” Schofield was only 6-years-old when she was diagnosed with schizophrenia, which is an unusually young age for the diagnosis. In 2010 a film crew followed January and her family around as they dealt with helping Jani get treatment for a documentary that aired on the Discovery Health channel. A few years later, they revisited Jani and her family to see how they were doing.
Around age three Jani started talking about imaginary friends: usually cats, dogs, and rats named after numbers and days of the week. Some of the friends were good, but others were bad and told her to hit other people, including her younger brother Bohdi. While imaginary friends are normal for children, they usually are aware that the friends are not real. Jani believes that all of these things are real.
After her diagnosis, her parents decided to get separate apartments for Jani and Bohdi, with her parents rotating between them. They basically had to sacrifice their own relationship to do what’s best for their children, but they were able to move back into one apartment in 2011. Jani took, and still takes a number of powerful medications including lithium, clozapine, and thorazine to help quite the voices and numbers she experiences.
During a Dr. Phil episode last year Jani’s dad Michael Schofield admitted that he kissed another woman and almost had an affair. Michael reportedly talks more about this and he and Susan’s marital struggles in his book January First: A Child’s Descent into Madness and Her Father’s Struggle to Save Her .
Here’s the full Dr. Phil episode, which shows some extended interaction between Jani and Dr. Phil:
Jani hasn’t been admitted to the hospital since February 2012 and she is a lot more stable now. Now her parents are worried that Jani’s four-year-old brother Bohdi is showing signs of schizophrenia.
TLC aired the followup to Jani’s journey Tuesday night, but it originally aired last year on Discovery Health.
Here’s video of the first section of the TV special: