Author Archives: Jill

About Jill

Author of books and articles on support and experiences of living with a mentally ill family member. My aim in blogging is to let others see how a loving family, with a father and husband who is able to give unconditional love, can help the family cope. Many call me the blogging grandma.'

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Longreads’ Best of WordPress, Vol. 7

Originally posted on WordPress.com News:

Here it is! A new collection of our favorite stories from across all of WordPress.

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Publishers, writers, you can share links to your favorite essays and interviews (over 1,500 words) on Twitter (#longreads) and on WordPress.com by tagging your posts longreads.

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A Psychiatrist shared a story …

imagesCA8ZK8YBMost small town doctors have experienced something similar to the story related below. It got me thinking about how often we all criticize doctors and I am as guilty as anyone else.  I wonder how many of us realize how much pressure doctors and psychiatrists are under. Many doctors make life and death decisions daily. Psychiatrists have to take decisions without ever having performed a single test that we are familiar with, so their decisions must be even harder to take. Nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes is the lesson to be learned here. To err is human, to forgive, divine.

Here is the story: It was a particularly vile night in that small town. The wind howled, rain lashed down wildly from every direction and in the middle of this storm, the psychiatrist received a heartrending call from a family he was treating, who claimed that they were unable to cope with an extremely sick daughter who was threatening to jump from the small balcony leading off her bedroom. Their garden had turned into a lake and her parents were very concerned for her safety. Her father implored the doctor to make a house call right away. The year was 1993. In the manner of doctors then, the psychiatrist bundled up warmly and drove slowly and carefully during the forty-minute-drive to the given address. The patient’s father was waiting for him at his front door, holding up a lantern to light the way. He greeted the doctor with; ‘I am so grateful to you for coming, doctor, sir. It is such a vile night that I doubt whether I would even let my dog out in this kind of weather!”

 

PHYSICAL ILLNESS vs MENTAL ILLNESS

stigma 2 fear of stigma Most physical illnesses are limited. However, they cannot cripple love nor shatter hope. Physical illness does not corrode faith nor destroy peace of mind. Physical illness does not destroy friendships nor suppress memories. Physical illness does not silence courage nor conquer people’s spirits. Continue reading

What my life is made up of ….

wisteria 6

 


I seemed to spend my time dodging from work to family and to friends, as well as endeavoring to keep my health intact. If I missed a day’s work, I knew that I could make up that lost time. But, family and friends are made of glass and if I dropped one of them, our relationship would be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, marked or even shattered. It could never be the same again. Health? I knew I had to live at a slower pace, but could I? I am not sure.

So, what I’d been doing was striving for balance in my life. But, how could I achieve that? I tried not to compare myself to others because I thought it was the very difference in each of us that made us special.

I learned not to set my goals by what other people deemed important. After all, I was the only person who knew what was best for me.

I learned not to take anything for granted, especially appertaining to near and dear ones. I handled them with kid gloves as my life would be meaningless without them all.

I had learned how destructive it was to live in the past or in the future. By living life one day at a time, I hoped to enjoy all the days of my life.

Knowledge is weightless, a treasure that I could carry easily, so I was no longer afraid to learn.

While I still had something to give, I wasn’t about to give up. Nothing was really over until the moment I stopped trying.

For a very long time, I shut love out of my life, not wanting to expose myself to hurt again. Now, I no longer do so. Once again I have learned a lot along the way. The quickest way to receive love, it to give it; the fastest way to lose love is to hold onto it too tightly;  and the best way to keep love is to give it wings.

I very often admit how less than perfect I am and maybe it is this fragile thread that binds people together.

I’m trying not to run too fast lest I forget not only where I’ve been, but where I’m going.

I am no longer afraid to take risks. By taking chances, I’ve learnt how to be brave.

I’ll always be aware of the fact that a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.

I now endeavor to use time and words more carefully as neither can be retrieved. Life is not a race, rather, a journey to be savored each step of the way. But, I still have a lot to learn, and one day at a time, I hope to enjoy all the days of my life.

Knowledge is weightless, a treasure that I can easily carry, so I’m no longer afraid to learn.

While I still have something to give, I won’t give up. Nothing is really over until the moment I stop trying.

I very often admit how less than perfect I am. It is this fragile thread that binds people together.

I’m trying not to run so fast that I might forget not only where I’ve been, but where I’m going.

I am no longer afraid to encounter risks. By taking chances, I’ve learnt how to be brave.

I’ll always be aware of the fact that a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.

I now endeavor to use time and words carefully as neither can be retrieved. Life is not a race, rather, a journey to be savored each step of the way.

 

Why G-d made Grandmas …..

SERENADE 2 SENIORS

 

grandmother in park 2

 I like to walk with Grandma

Her steps are short like mine.

She never says; ‘Now hurry up,’

She always takes her time.

 

I like to walk with Grandma

She sees things like I do

Pebbles smooth, a funny cloud

Half-hidden drops of dew.

 

Most people like to hurry

They do not stop to see

I’m glad that God made Grandma

Unrushed, and young like me!

Whenever I read this ‘jingle’ out loud to my young grandchildren, they ask ; ‘Are all those words why G-d made grandmas?’

 

Forgive? What does it really mean to forgive someone?

If I forgive someone, I have to let go and accept what has occurred between us. If not, I realize that the position won’t change. What it really means is that I am dismissing blame. At some stage, choices were made that cause both sides to hurt. Maybe we could have made other choices, but we did not.

It means learning from my pain. It means starting over with the knowledge that I may have gained something. It means letting go of revenge. It means releasing all my negative thoughts of resentment and bitterness.

But, I had to be clear in my own mind on what forgiving really meant. It did not mean pretending that what had happened did not really occur. I could not excuse the other person because he/she was to blame. I forgave because I felt a wrong had been committed. I was not giving the other party permission to continue with hurtful behavior. It meant letting go. It meant leaving my painful memories behind me as far as I possibly could and accepting what had occurred, because, the person or people involved were not likely to change.

By doing the above, I was able to start my healing process … ever so slowly at first, but over a period of time, it seems to have worked.

wild cyclamens

CRISIS: s c h i z o p h r e n i a

images schizophrenia

Our son hallucinated and suffered delusions during psychotic incidents: It took me a while to fully understand the difference between  hallucinations and delusions.

 Hallucinations are sensations that appear real, but are actually created by one’s own mind.

Delusions are false beliefs that are persistent and organized and that don’t disappear after receiving logical information. For example – my son believed that I was poisoning his food and even after we proved by eating it, that the food had not been tampered with, his delusion remained.

He also believed that the military were working against him and planting microphones in our house to broadcast his every word and thought. No amount of explaining managed to banish his delusions.

We learned to speak slowly to him and use short, simple sentences.

We learned to give him space to avoid making him feel trapped.

We learned to avoid sudden movements.

We learned to give clear instructions and directions.

And this was how we managed to live together in the same house for so long. Eventually, two psychiatrists assured us that he would do better on his own. We tried, but it didn’t work.

When he spoke about his hallucinations and delusions, we learned to talk about his feelings rather than the content of what he was saying.

We tried our best to really listen.

During this same period of time, we also learned WHAT NOT TO DO.

We learned not to take control if we didn’t really have to do so.

We learned not to argue with him when he was psychotic.

We learned to look elsewhere and not to stare at him.

We learned to interact with him rather than confuse him.

We learned not to touch him without prior warning. After all, parents like to embrace their children, don’t they? Even when they are no longer teenagers.

We learned not to give him multiple choices.

We learned never to whisper, to joke or to laugh in his presence as he took it all personally. But, if he questioned us, we learned to be  honest at all times.