Thank you, MaryPotterKenyon for your wonderful review of Broken Brain, Fortified Faith: Lessons of Hope Through a Child’s Mental Illness. Your words made my day. Our journey through schizophrenia was probably the hardest path I’ve ever had to take. But out of that period in my life came a resolve to reach out to other families who face a similar road. I like to bring hope that recovery is possible. Mental illness can be a life-long journey, but those affected can resume a lifestyle similar to others around them. It takes a tremendous amount of support, love, and dedication by the individual and those around them. I found help through NAMI, a wonderful organization providing support, education, and advocacy for mental illness.
I read with eagerness the latest news from Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, where money is distributed with grants to scientists who study the brain to unlock the mysteries of mental illness.
It’s also left my heart in a different state. I’ve become more compassionate, more mindful of the words I use, more deliberate in the actions I use on a daily basis. I practice the art of finding something each day to make me smile and try to bring the same facial exercise to those around me. Whether it be the person who checks me out at the store, a server at a restaurant, or any numerous places I encounter people, I try to bring joy.
Let’s work together to bring hope, healing, and faith to those around us. For I believe with all my heart, people who suffer from mental illness have a brain disorder – not a character flaw. They didn’t choose this for themselves. Science shows us again, and again the biological reasons for the illness. Let’s treat it as such.
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September is National Recovery Month. When people hear the term schizophrenia, we often think the worst. Our media, as a rule, reports the untreated and out-of-control cases because let’s face it – sensationalism sells.
I’d love to see an article every day across the nation which highlights a recovery story.
But what does it take to recover?
A lot of hard work. Treatment plans tailored to the individual, communication between all parties involved, early intervention, support for re-education for the individual and education, if possible, for their family. When you understand why your loved acts the way they do, it’s easier to cope and support them.
How do we accomplish this mammoth task?
We educate ourselves first. We learn what mental illness means. We learn the actions are symptoms of an illness, just as a sore throat is a symptom of a virus. We learn the purpose of medication and why for some individuals, it is vital. We must remember: it’s a biological illness, not a character flaw. No one wants to suffer from mental illness. No one asks for this.
It’s a tough situation because often times the individual doesn’t believe they need help. Or they are afraid to ask for help for fear of the label of crazy.
I think it’s important to remember a vital thing we don’t hear much about –
Individuals CAN enter a recovery phase from schizophrenia and return as a productive member of our society. I know. I’ve witnessed it. I’ve lived it with my child.
But, we have a lot of hard work to do as a society.
We need to have the support services available everywhere.
We need to encourage students to special in psychiatry, counseling, therapy and increase the number of medical professionals to match the need. People now wait months for an appointment or an open bed.
We need crisis teams, trained to assist with volatile situations, across the nation.
Families don’t know what to do. And way too many of our ill brothers and sisters are housed in the prison system. They need compassion and they need support and most of all, they need to regain their health.
More wages are lost to mental illness than cancer, heart or lung disease combined.
Let’s work together. Let’s change the mindset of our culture. Let’s live with compassion. Let’s help the mentally ill to regain their dignity.
NAMI – education and support for all
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