Author Archives: Jill

About Jill

Author of books and articles on support and experiences of living with a mentally ill family member. 'the blogging grandma.'

Schizophrenia … and solitary confinement

There was a hearing on the subject of solitary confinement in prisons with testimony from federal and state law enforcement officials, academics and advocates with Anthony Graves, an exonerated former death-row inmate who spent  the majority of his 18 years in a Texas Prison in solitary confinement.

Quote: ‘I lived under the rules of a system that is literally driving men out of their minds,’ he said. The conditions were inhuman, my cell was small without access to human interaction or decent medical care. No one can begin to imagine the psychological effects that isolation has on another human being.’

Surely governments all over the world should give more time to this issue.


Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill ….

Originally posted on Jill's Experiences with Mental Health , Stigma, Alzheimer's Disease, Grief & Grieving & serenade2seniors:

In a lighter vein:

Geroge Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill.

I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend, if you have one.”

Winston Churchill’s response;

“Cannot possibly attend the first night, will attend second …if there is one.”

View original

Schizophrenia and then Alzheimer’s

Although schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s are very different, while living through schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s, I had to learn that it was not what happened to me that counted, but, how I dealt with each one of them.

i learned that my anger at schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s were destroying me, so, i learned to do something about it. There were times when I felt as if my heart had turned to stone and it was a long time before I gained the ability to laugh, to feel even the tiniest emotion or to be open to loving again.

I had to learn that although pain is inevitable, extended suffering is optional. As there was no way that I could change the  cards that my family had been dealt, I had to learn to change the way I played each hand.

All this took a long time, but eventually, I  learned to take one day at a time. I gained the ability to appreciate a beautiful sunset or, a walk along the shore where I listened to the waves breaking. I even managed to enjoy the experience while wiggling my toes in the damp sand.

One day, I drew up a list of the terrible things that had occurred in my life as opposed to the positive aspects and was surprised to find more entries on the positive side. I am blessed with two wonderful, supportive daughters, five healthy grandchildren whom I adore as well as two helpful sons-in-law. I doubt whether I could have ‘chosen’ two nicer guys for my daughters to marry. How much better can life be  than this?

Charles Swindoll said:






A Safe Haven 4 Mothers

This blog is dedicated to mothers in particular. it’s a place to share our problems when there is illness in the family – mental illness in particular. it is a place where we share our problems; where mothers reach out to one another, and for the first time they manage to speak out about mental illness in their families and how it has not only changed the lives of their ill child, but the lives of the whole family. By speaking out in person or via email about problems affecting their lives, they receive in turn honest advice and support from other parents who have been there and been through similar experiences. These parents often become as close as relatives.

These are some of the questions asked:

How do I help my child who is no longer sleeping well? How do I persuade her to revert to her group activities with good friends?

A distraught mother admitted that she and her husband’s sex life was suffering due to their child’s mental health state, They spent most of the night agonizing over ways to help their child instead of sleeping. A father said; ‘ I am so busy agonizing about the past that it is preventing me from having a future. I used to think that I was a good parent but I now doubt my parenting techniques.’

Discussing these problems can be very therapeutic. i know that because our son was diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia so I knew where these parents were  coming from. I receive few comments on my blog but receive many emails from people who need to be heard or need some questions answered and I do my best to reply to them all. This is not instead of seeking a qualified therapist. It is ‘ as well as. ‘

What we all need to remember is that NOONE CAN CAUSE A MENTAL ILLNESS. NOBODY IS TO BLAME. No more blame, No more shame, No more stigma

If only houses could speak


Like the fields where I chased butterflies in my childhood, the mountain my late husband liked to climb as a boy, the beach where our children paddled and fished, our house didn’t belong nearly as much to me as I belonged to it. I’d worked hard in the garden but the roots of the eucalyptus trees bordering our property drank the water greedily whenever I watered, leaving little moisture to nourish our plants and grass.

I often wonder whether a house has eyes and ears. If only it could tell me all it has witnessed. Maybe that depends on how I ask and how much I am willing to hear.

Being an early riser, I often sat on a step with our black Belgian Shepherd at my feet. The dog and I bundled up under a rug to ward off the chill and I found myself replaying the past in my head when our three children were getting ready for school, rushing about noisily, dressing fast, grabbing their schoolbags while eating breakfast on the run. The house, like my heart, was filled with thoughts of my lovely, happy family. In the stillness on the stairs, it was as if I could hear them all over again.

Then I recalled a weekend – it was as if I could hear them all over again. They were singing , listening to loud music, talking and laughing. I heard the thud of footsteps in the bedrooms above me, showers running, toilets flushing, phones ringing, doors banging, voices rising and falling like wind through the trees. I heard lots of laughter filling their rooms and overflowing into a thousand empty spaces.

This house held countless memories from times gone by: times of want and times of plenty, good times and b ad times, happy times and sad times. Our house was a memory bank that my family had invested in beginning in the days when our children were young, hoping for a good return someday when we grew older.

I felt rich. I stood up and climbed the stairs to our bedroom to get dresses and start another day. Time passed, and the house rang with the sound of our grandchildren’s voices

Life can be a song

SERENADE 2 SENIORS, Mental Health Resources, Invisible Illnesses, flowers 4

If your life is a song, sing it.

If your life is a game, play it.

if your life is a challenge, meet it.

If your life is a dream, realize it.

If your life is a sacrifice, offer it.

If your life is about love, go for it.

By Sali Baba



STIGMA is defined  as a sign of disgrace or discredit which sets a person apart from others. The STIGMA of mental illness remains a powerful negative attribute in all social relationships, as does Alzheimer’s disease.

STIGMA is a marker for adverse experiences, among them, a sense of shame , and is still perceived as a sign of weakness.

STIGMA means not having access to resources.

STIGMA means being reviled and becoming invisible.

STIGMA brings with it intense shame to the patient as well as to some families, resulting in a feeling of decreased self-worth.

STIGMA is connected to secrecy,

STIGMA causes anger which results in some families keeping friends and relatives at a distance.

ST iGMA leads to hopelessness resulting in helplessness.

LET US open our minds and our hearts and reduce the STIGMA noe!




Self Stigma

People with a mental illness put up with a lot more than their illness. Stigma contributes a major stress that they can do without. My late son often said; “Stigma and prejudice  are as distressing as my schizophrenia.” Stigma involves inaccurate and hurtful representations portraying  them as comical, violent, or incompetent, dehumanizing them and making them an object of ridicule.

When stigma is used in the media, it can refer to inaccurate stereotypes particularly when sensationalizing issues through unwarranted  references to mental illness, the misuse of terminology or the use of hostile language. Because the media plays such a critical role in shaping and reinforcing community attitudes as well as influencing the way we think, this is particularly harmful.

BUT, the  most harmful effects of stigma occur when it alters the way people view themselves – this is known as self stigma.  SELF STIGMA is the acceptance of prejudiced perceptions  held by others which can lead to a reluctance to seek treatment, excessive reliance on others , social withdrawal as well as poor self-worth.


Music speaks to me …

When words fail, music speaks to me.

It speaks of of pain, of sorrow and people I have lost.

It shares emotions and is a way to connect.

Its a medium to understand how others feel.

Music is a way of sharing the souls of pele around me.

I’d like to share my music with  you

There are people like us all over the world

Born in Melbourne, Australia, Pat Cash established a tennis academy. A Davis Cup winner at the age of 18, Cash went on to win the Wimbledon Championship  four years later. Cash has been honest about his experience of mental illness especially when he was young. While playing tennis competitively he was seriously depressed and there were times when he was close to ending his life. Thanks to treatment as well as learning to avoid triggers for depressive episodes such as drug use and stress, Cash managed to get on with his life largely free of depression. He talked openly about his experience in order to encourage others to seek help.

Natalie Imbruglia is the Australian girl who acted in neighbors. In 2001, she became the face of L’Oreal cosmetics. Behind this success as an actress, singer  and model, she battled depression for many years. Natalie now speaks out about her own experience in the hope it will encourage others to seek help and not feel embarrassed or ashamed. Because she has experienced depression, she thinks it ‘s important to tell people what she went through and how she coped.