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.'

David’s Story and author bio

David's Story cover kindle

BUY David’s Story by Jill Sadowky from Amazon’s Kindle Store or from Smashwords.

When we talk to G-d, it’s called prayer, but when G-d talks to us, it’s called schizophrenia – is Lily Tomlin’s quote that I chose to use in my book.

Dvora Waysman, author of 11 books, wrote: ‘David’s Story is a heartbreaking study of the progress of schizophrenia, destroying not only one life, but making tragic inroads into the lives of every family member. This story gripped me from the first page and I grieved along with the author. I highly recommend it. Jill Sadowsky’s honest recording of her son’s little-understood mental illness is written with sensitivity and compassion, born out of love and pain.’

AUTHOR BIO: Jill is an English Teacher and a volunteer for the local Mental health Association. In January 2012, she received a prestigious award for her voluntary work in the field of mental health, during the time her son was ill, something she still continues to do.

Her first book, Weep for Them, was written under a pen-name and David’s Story, was her second.

Personal Account, a long essay, was published in the US Health & Human Resources Publication.

An Account of Their Lives with Schizophrenia was one of two articles published in the Israeli Psychiatric Journal.

She has been published in three anthologies as well as in Kaleidoscope in the USA.

She won first place in two international short story competitions recently, including her story, A Grave Surprise in Dream Quest One, and several of her short stories have been accepted for publication in North America and England.

The picture below appeared in the Jewish Telegraph, Manchester, UK on April 5, 2012 under the following heading.

PROFILE

THEY CALL JILL ‘MESSIAH’ BECAUSE SHE BREAKS TABOO OF MENTAL ILLNESS and the story appeared underneath the picture below  (too long to publish here)

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I’ve discovered that love…

 SERENADE TO SENIORS 

BRAIN

Our brain is the  most outstanding organ in our body. It works 24 hours, 365 days from the time we are born until ………………………. we fall in love.

For a change, this blog will be on a lighter note, quite out of character from my usual blogs.

The most beautiful line one can hear is “But, I love you.”

The most painful one is “I love you, but,” …………….. 

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Rather than choose the one who is beautiful to the world; choose the one who makes your world beautiful.

True love isn’t about being inseparable. It’s about two people being true to each other even when they are apart.

Falling in love is not a choice. Staying in love is.

While you’re searching for the perfect person, you might miss the imperfect individual who could have made you perfectly happy.

Love is about spending time with a person who makes you happy in a way that nobody else does.

If you love life, don’t waste time;  for time is what life is made up of.

Music is what feelings sound like. 

Erasing negative thoughts

While trying to cope with serious illness in my family, I discovered that it was often my own negative thoughts that hurt me the most. After all, there was no reason to imprison myself. If I fell, I got up and subsequently, was being stronger than someone who has never done so. But, I had trouble with the fact that nothing would ever return to the way it had been before schizophrenia and then Alzheimer’s disease affected members of my family. The usual question, ‘why my family?’  did not help one iota. I had to accept the fact that each ending was really a new beginning to the next phase of my life.  So, what have I learned? I have learned to expect less after my life failed to give me what I wanted. I had to expect less and enjoy more. 

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There were times when I was angry and I knew that I had to learn to control anger in my everyday life before it destroyed me. I also had to learn the meaning of acceptance; of accepting what came my way and then deal with it in any way that worked for me. I tended to blame others for my troubles. I am ashamed to say that at times, I even blamed my son for daring to contract something as difficult to handle as schizophrenia. I blamed modern medicine for failing to help sufficiently. In fact, I blamed the whole world. Somewhere deep inside of me, I knew that the extent to which I could achieve my dreams depended on the extent to which I took responsibility for my life. Blaming others for what I was going through was like giving them power over my life. This process took a long time, but eventually, I realized that I could be as happy as I wanted to be so I fought for happiness, built new relationships and reinvented my lifestyle. It helped a bit.

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Can one person make a difference? Why I tell my story

make a difference 15I have been asked on many occasions why I tell my story. People ask whether one person can really make a difference. They ask why I share all this in a blog on the internet, why I have written essays, short stories as well as two books on the subject of mental illness in my family. They ask why I don’t give any medical information but, as I am neither a doctor nor a psychiatrist, the only information I can share is that from a mother’s point of view; a mother who lost her son, the way I lost our Doron to paranoid schizophrenia. I woke up to find schizophrenia lurking in corners, I ate dinner with schizophrenia and the last thought that flitted through my mind at night, was how to cure schizophrenia. My son, Doron liked it even less. It took over his whole being. The paranoia was the worst part of it all as he truly believed that demons were at play, that his every move was being followed by cameras and microphones that he was sure we had ‘planted’ in our home to track his every move and then pass it on to the military, who were after him.

Am I a survivor? I think so yet all I wanted was to be able to live a life like the other people I knew; and not pour all my efforts into simply trying to survive schizophrenia.  I strove to keep my family together. My late husband had the ability to give us all unconditional love, and together, with the exception of our son, we managed to overcome every challenge thrown at us. Today, our daughters are happily married wives and mothers, both with professions. I am so very proud of them both; of the way they have managed to cope with adversity of all kinds in our once happy and healthy home.

make a difference 7I tell my story in the hope that others might understand if they read what I have written.

I tell my story to make it more difficult for people to shut their eyes as well as their hearts to all the mental illness around them. And it is everywere.

I tell my story in order to gain empathy for all the unfortunates out there who are suffering from one kind of mental illness or another.

I tell my story to show these individuals that they are n ot alone.

I tell my story to convince people with a mental illness that with the correct treatment, their conditions can be improved.

I tell my story to gain support for them all, because, if they hae the backing of their families and communities, they have the chance to live lives with purpose, surrounded by love. Nobody can live without love. Remember that please.

If more of us spoke out about mental illness, maybe, just maybe, more people out there would listen believe or even act on our behalf.

BUT, few politicians believe that devoting more time to the issue of mental illness wiill gain them extra votes.

I tell my story, the story of one family, my family, the story of millions of families living with a mentally ill relative anywhere from Alaska to Africa.

And last but not least, I tell my story in the hope that one day, there will be no stigma associated with mental illness.

no more stigma 7                            make a difference 6CAN ONE PERSON REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE? I think that one person can raise awareness; one person can touch the lives of the people around them. But, measured against the vastness of the planet, these acts may seem insignificant. But, to the people whose lives have been touched, the significance can become truly profound  as I have discovered from the amount of people who follow my blog from so many countries, others on social media, and more who have listened to talks I have given. Others have read my work and commented.

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Discrimination vs. Stigma

sunnyvale gardenDiscrimination means doing something active against a person at work, or denying him access to education of any kind, accommodatiion, entry to particular premises or a membership to a certain club. This is unlawful. Discrimination is the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things especially on the grounds of sex, race or age. Here are some synonyms:-  bias, prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.

Stigma on the other hand, means having an opinion or judgment held by individuals or society. Stigma is a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance like the stigma of a mental illness.

Most of us think that being disabled means spending a great deal of time in a wheelchair, and that’s it. but, someone who cannot hear, is disabled. A person who is unable to see, is disabled, and of course, there are many hidden disabilities as well. Until I started researching this subject, I was far less aware of the needs of disabled people, particularly those with hidden disabilities or illnesses.

Why do so many people tell me that they hide mental disorders like Major Depression, PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or social phobias? Because, if they reveal the truth, it can possibly lead to :-

  • Rejection by family and friends
  • Harassment
  • Loss of jobs
  • Failure to be rehired
  • Loss of child custody
  • This kind of discrimination occurs because many of us still hold outdated, negative stereotypes of people who have a mental disorder. So far, attempts to challenge these stereotypes have only been led by a few individuals. every year, approximately 50 million American adults are diagnosed with a mental disorder. if only one of of every 50 are prepared to admit this without shame, others might learn that mental illness does not come from personal weakness nor does it make people behave in a violent or unpredictable way.
  • More people might feel more comfortable seeking treatment. Two thirds of those who need help do not ask for it, sometimes resulting in suicide.
  • Together, we can lessen the blame, shame, stigma and discrimination.

I REPEAT: 

Together, we can lessen the blame, shame, stigma and discimination. Parents CANNOT cause schizophrenia nor any other kind of mental illness.

PARENTS CANNOT CAUSE SCHIZOPHRENIA NOR ANY OTHER KIND OF MENTAL ILLNESS.

Tomorrow will be different

Although mental health problems are common and affect so many people around the globe, stigma and discrimination are still common and many myths abound. Unfortunately, psychiatrists don’t seem to be in agreement about the way mental health problems are diagnosed, what causes them, and which treatment is the most effective.

Despite these challenges, it is possible to recover from a mental illness and live a fulfilling and productive life. There is something I would like to stress here; something that my family learned the hard way; having a mental health problem  is NOT a sign of weakness. It is an illness like any other.

Our son had to learn that life was not about being classified by his mental illness. It was about learning to accept himself the way he was. When he got out of bed each morning, he had to try to have a productive day because he knew that the following one might be different. In spite of that, we told him to repeat to himself the following mantra; tomorrow MUST be different because nobody can live without hope.

a willow tree

Different ways of saying ‘mental illness.’

I have heard many people who are ill say; ‘Isn’t there another word for mental illness?’ OR, ‘If only there was another way to say mental illness or mentally ill.’  These are some labels I have collected after reading all kinds of nasty uses of ways to describe someone with a mental illness. CRAZY, WACHO, SCHIZO.

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label jars not people  so, LETS SWEEP MENTAL ILLNESS OUT FROM UNDER THE RUG.

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This led me to peruse dictionaries, study the internet, visit psychiatric hospitals and talk to mental health workers including psychologists and psychiatrists about changing the way they describe these people,  and this is what I came up with.

How about saying: a person with a mental illness, a distressed person, someone with mental health issues, a psychiatric survivor, someone diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar illness, a person with a mental health history, or even a mental health client. BUT the best seems to be the the term ‘a mental health consumer.’ Why? Because,  this person is part of the mental health system so, to all intents and purpose, he/she is a consumer.

My final choice will probably be to call that individual ‘a person’ as he/she has a name, is a human being, so the other descriptions are not really appropriate, are they?