Mental Health Celebration

celebration-from-clipartixI spoke last night to a wonderful group of people at an area library. My topic was R.A.I.S.E. Awareness and Hope. I presented the topic: mental illness, stigma, and how it feels to be the family of someone suffering from schizophrenia. I dwell on the message of hope, for I see hope all around me. I know researchers work diligently to discover the causes of brain disorders, new treatment options and programs to help those affected.

All who came were a surprise, especially one couple who had taken the NAMI Family to Family class I taught several years ago. It was a happy reunion for us both.

Of course, the first questions we each asked, “How’s your child?” For it is the bond we will forever share. Both of our children suffered from the symptoms of schizophrenia. Both of them went through such  horrendous times. And a result, we parents shared the heartache that comes from watching  your child suffer.

We both had good news to share. Both their son and our daughter were employed full-time and living on their own, managing their own finances and affairs. I feel our children both hit a homerun. (Yes, I’m a baseball fan to some degree and this IS baseball season. If you’re a football fan, call it a touchdown; if soccer they scored a goal, etc. etc.etc.) To witness someone overcome nasty symptoms and return to the life they envisioned for themselves is something to celebrate!

And today I celebrate and applaud all who have gone on to be a successful, in spite of circumstances in their life that knocked them down. It’s a sign of character, of strength, of bravery, and of determination. And for that, I say, “I’m so happy for you and wish you continued success!”

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Author: Virginia Pillars, author

I'm a daughter, a farmer's wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, a sister-in-law, an aunt, an author, a part-time musician, a part-time businesswoman, a part-time gardener who loves to talk with people. I have a passion for my faith, my family and my friends. I love to learn and teach others what I discovered. In 2004, we discovered our daughter suffered from a debilitating disease - Paranoid Schizophrenia. I knew nothing about mental illness, but we didn't have the luxury of learning at a pace we could absorb. We had to dive in and hope we learned to swim as we came up for air. Our daughter is now in recovery and I work as a volunteer for NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) to support others who battle mental illness. I wrote my journey in the book: Broken Brain, Fortified Faith: Lessons of Hope Through a Child's Mental Illness. Ask for it by name at your favorite bookstore or purchase it directly from the publisher, Familius.com or from the Amazon or Barnes and Noble website.

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