Not in our street …


I was running a support group together with another mother who had a mentally ill child and two couples told us that plans were being made to build a community center for mentally ill people in our area. They told us that many homeowners in that area made their negative feelings about the idea known. My husband and I were trying hard at that time to get support for the idea of accepting these people into our community. It did not work in many areas but I am pleased to say that today, with the help of ENOSH, the Israel Mental Health Society, things have changed and continue to do so all the time.

  • At this time I was running a support group for parents with mentally ill children and we were all trying to instigate change. Most of us had little knowledge of mental illness and we wanted the professionals to be aware of this.
  • We had a  great need to talk and wished that the mental health professionals would give us the opportunity to do so until we were done.
  • One parent’s daughter had tried to commit suicide and she was called to the hospital to talk to a social worker and a psychologist. This is what she told us at the group afterwards.
  • When I walked into their office, I wanted a glass of water more than anything else as my mouth was parched. Someone asked whether I wanted a drink. I had difficulty speaking. I needed someone to hand me a glass of water and not ask if I wanted it.
  • I wished that they had been more empathetic. My ex-husband and I did not cause our daughter’s illness. Nor were were aware of her planned suicide attempt.
  • I needed them to help me create a safety plan to prevent another suicide attempt.
  • A suicide attempt is more complicated and more intense than anything else I have experienced as a parent. I was deeply wounded, couldn’t make sense of why our child had tried to do this.  I needed all the help I could get. My husband was living with another woman and did not help with our daughter much.
  • I wanted coping tools desperately; lots of them. I did not want our other children to suffer.
  • The last thing that I needed was to hear the social worker say; “Act naturally.” Why? There is nothing natural about having a mentally ill child. It changed everything as far as family dynamics were concerned, so there was no way to act naturally.
  • I needed someone to help my family to find hope again. No one can live without hope.
  • On various occasions when our daughter was present at a session with the social worker and psychologist, they actually spoke over her head. Once I told them; “She is sick, not stupid. Talk to her directly, please.”
This entry was posted in Schizophrenia on by .

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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