My thoughts about Mental Health, Virginia Pillars

Roses, Thorns, and Fragrances


Roses – most of us love roses. I have a beautiful rose in my kitchen – a lovely gift from a friend. When this rose is in the glass bowl, I can admire it, inhale the soothing fragrance, and feel grateful that someone grew it for my enjoyment. If I had to pick one out of the rose garden that I wish I had, but in reality resides only in my imagination, I’d probably get poked by the thorns.

I feel like I’ve been poked by thorns as I travel through life. At times, the thorns disappear completely and the beautiful flower is all I see. Other times, the thorns stick in me and it’s hard to see the petals through the tears.

It’s when I bleed from those pokes that I learn the most. If I’d been given a choice about having a child with a mental illness, I would have run in the other direction. And in the midst of the chaos when symptoms manifested and until the doctors found the correct treatment, I think I bled – a lot. My heart shattered into bits as I watched her suffering. In my determination to help her, I learned about the brain. I read everything I could get my hands on to figure out what caused this to happen to her.

As I learned, I changed. I understood that
1. this was not her choice.
2. She was as confused as I was with the changes going on in her.
3. She wanted a return to good health for herself as much as I wanted it for her.
4. She needed support to achieve her goals of recovery.

As I traveled the journey with her to recovery, I learned that I needed to still myself so I could inhale the fragrance – the beautiful bouquet that stayed the same whether I saw the beauty of the flower or felt the prick of the thorn.

I found the balm for my wounded spirit in my prayer life. It took on new meaning as I focused my gaze on my creator. I gained the strength that I needed to face the next step ahead, or to recover when we took two steps back. As she made improvements the scent of hope settled deep within me.

Today, thirteen years later, she lives in the garden of recovery. This doesn’t mean that the thorns stay away. Sometimes they prick us again. For there is no cure – not yet. But a good life, a full life, a life filled with joy is our reality. Somedays are harder than others. When she has a bad day, like everyone does, I ache with her. During those times I try to discover the perfumed scent that lingers from the good days because I know those days await her. Her bad days are just that – bad days. Short-lived and overcome. She inspires me with her determination.

Fragrances of hope that I’ve discovered:

1. I know that she makes a difference in the lives of those around her through the life she lives.
2. I’ve heard from many readers that reading our story gave them an understanding of schizophrenia that they didn’t have before.
3. I found out the support system around me that I didn’t realize that I’ve always had.
4. Humor helps me relax. I can still laugh, even when it hurts.
5. Focus on why I think God created me. This helps bring clarity to my journey through life.

These are just a few things that I’ve discovered since her illness and Broken Brain, Fortified released. They remind me that amidst the thorns, beauty will always exist. It’s up to me to stop
and
Smell.The.Roses.

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Virginia Pillars

Why? I don’t know, but, woot! woot!


Every once in a while, I check different sites for my book. Since many readers go to Amazon to post reviews, I frequent it. (Thank you to all who have posted reviews!)

I just checked and Amazon put my book on sale for the lowest price I’ve seen. Today Amazon offered it for $8.90! That’s less than half-price! Broken Brain, Fortified Faith.

I’m not sure why, but I love it! I know that readers can benefit from this. So, feel free to share the link or buy the book and give it to anyone who you think may want to learn how one family coped with mental illness. Recovery can happen. It was hard, but oh, so worth it!

Thank you, Amazon!

 

Gratitude, Virginia Pillars

Gratitude – November 23


Today, like many across our nation,  I plan to gather with loved ones to celebrate Thanksgiving. After I help my 91-year-old Mom in an hour, I will spend the rest of the day with my family.

Some of the top things on my gratitude list.

  1. My mom. At 91, she lives in her own home. She doesn’t get around very well, but she stays cheerful and thankful for every little thing that anyone does for her. She’s taught me to live in gratitude.
  2. My husband. We’ve carved out a wonderful life together for the past 42 years.
  3. Health. We’ve dealt with major illnesses in our family. We won most of the battles, and are grateful for our family’s health.  We both feel younger than our years. We enjoy our work, and our time away from it.
  4. My four children. All of them are successful as they travel their path of life. Today, they will  cook most of the our Thanksgiving meal. I bring the pies. If I beg, I may get to help with dishes. Most years they shoo me out of the kitchen.
  5. Our grandchildren. Enough said.
  6. My home. It’s comfortable and more than adequate. Plus, it’s clean enough to be healthy, but dirty enough to be happy.
  7. Life adventures. During a recent game with my grandchildren and nephew, we each counted the countries that we’ve visited. I counted twenty-one! I’m grateful to enjoy so many different cultures in my sixty-two years of life.
  8. I can read, I can write, I can create projects from fabric, therefore I never wonder what I can do to keep busy. I think I need another life time to read all the books on my TBR list, and sew all the fabric in my closet.
  9. I have nutritious and delicious food every day.
  10. I have the freedom to live my faith. I live in confidence because I know I am loved more than I can ever comprehend. Everything else is frosting on the cake.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Gratitude, My thoughts about Mental Health, Virginia Pillars

Gratitude – November 21


I spoke last night with a group in a local library. The more I share our story, the more I understand the statistic that one in four families deals with mental illness. I meet many of them.

  • I hear the heartache that accompanies them on their journey.
  • I witness the deep love they have for their family member.
  • I see the pride they have when their loved one manages it with success.
  • I see the hope that fills them when they see baby steps of improvement.
  • I witness courage, both in the families and those who are affected.

These families inspire me to continue to spread the word that mental illness is a brain disorder, not a character flaw.  I want to share that recovery is an option. I want to share that it’s hard for the families and those who are affected.

  • I dream of a day when mental illness is discussed the way we talk about diabetes, or cancer.
  • I dream of a day when our culture reacts to mental illness with the same compassion and support that happens when a family deals with cancer or other traumatic events.
  • I dream of a day when a blood test reveals the exact medication needed for the brain to function properly.
  • I dream of a day when we have adequate doctors, therapists, and counselors to assist those who need their expertise.
  • I dream of a day when every family I meets shares a success story with me.

Until then, I stay grateful for the health of my daughter.

  • I’m grateful the doctors found the correct cocktail of medication that allows her to overcome the symptoms of schizophrenia. She works full-time, and I know she makes a difference in the lives of the people around her.
  • I’m grateful that she understands her brain disorder and that she knows how to take care of her own health.
  • I’m grateful to have my daughter back. Twelve years ago I feared the worst. I remember crying out, “I just want my daughter back.” I’ve met too many families whose loved one lost the battle, and I weep with them.
  • I’m grateful for her recovery. Therefore, I want to shout it from the mountaintop – I want the world to know. The Lord walked beside me through our journey because I invited Him in to my day to day world. He helped me cope.

I live in gratitude.

  • I’m grateful for the people who come to my presentations on mental illness.
  • I’m grateful for those who support my work with a book purchase.
  • I’m grateful for the people who share the book with their friends and families. It helps bring undertanding to those not affected.
  • I’m grateful for those who take time to write a review. It helps keep our story in front of others.
  • Last, but not least, I’m grateful to the publisher, Familius, for the publication of Broken Brain, Fortified Faith and offering it right now for at half-price for those who wish to share our journey.

Together, let’s make a difference. Thank you!

 

 

 

 

Gratitude, Virginia Pillars

Gratitude – November 2


When the world around me feels like a hurricane, or when I’m feeling a bit lonely, or just too tired to do one more thing, I know I can find another world and escape. Even if it’s only for an hour or two, I can join someone else in their world and forget my troubles.

When I look at it that way, it does seem bizarre. Leave my own problems only to immerse myself in a different one? The difference is – mine are real, but I can escape into a world created in the imagination of someone else. I can walk to my bookshelf and find a book, and relax.

As far back as I can remember, I’ve loved books. Mom took my brothers and me to the library in a near-by town almost every week. I always checked out a stack of books. I devoured them, often by the light of the lamp beside my bed. In the morning, I didn’t want to get out of bed, so I often skipped breakfast and dashed out the door just in touch to catch the bus. Read. School. Repeat.

Today, I’m grateful for the world of books that have surrounded me since I can remember, and the authors who wrote them. As a young girl, I solved mysteries with Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, and Encyclopedia Brown. I went to the circus with Toby Tyler, plus I had an eclectic collection of other adventures. As I grew, so did my interests. I found biographies, and autobiographies. I felt inspired by the qualities exhibited through the lives of strong-willed people.

As a young mom, with four small children, I had a little time to read, except stories to the children. Once they all went to school, I carved out time in January and February to “indulge” in my passion. I took a “stay-cation” with my books long before someone coined the phrase.

I’ve had a friendship with books throughout my entire life. Today, I’m grateful to all the authors who’ve accompanied me through the years. Now, I collect books signed by the authors. These books feel extra special. I hope to continue to meet new friends and books as I move forward.  My list of “Want to Read” books grows taller by the day.

What are you grateful for today?