Did you get mad at Amber?

I feel privileged to travel and speak to groups about our journey through schizophrenia with our adult child, I hear questions that share common ground. I’ll try and answer some of them through the month of May, National Mental Health Awareness Month.

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  1. Did you get mad at Amber?

No I didn’t really get angry with her. At first I was frustrated with her because she didn’t listen to anything we said. Her thoughts were so disorganized and she didn’t make sense, but nothing we said made any difference. With the encouragement of our son, my husband Roy and I connected with the local NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) organization. Their classes helped me understand her illness, which helped ward off the anger.

But I still battled anger. Not at her, but with God. How could he do this to her, to us? We’d lived our faith all of our life through prayers, church activities and retreats. And Amber worked as a youth minister for a Catholic church when schizophrenia knocked her down. So, yes, I had anger. But, after reading the book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold S. Kushner, I was able to release that anger. I came to understand her illness is part of our broken world. I discovered that I could lean on my faith to help me cope. And that God didn’t do this to her, rather that God was there for me as I cried. God arrived through the prayers and the support of others when I let all of them into my world of anguish.

I also leaned that I’m not immune from life’s difficulties. Everyone deals with something. Many of us keep it hidden for a time, but no one has a perfect life without difficulty. It’s what I do with my struggles that matters. That is what I feel I will be judged on one day when I stand before my creator. Now I try to support others in their journeys. I can bring something positive out of our experience.

So, no, I didn’t get mad at Amber, I was only saddened by the situation and her difficulties.  That sadness is gone today. Instead, I rejoice at her success.

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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