Monthly Archives: January 2012

My book is on Amazon as an ebook

By tomorrow morning the links for buying David’s Story  will be on this page to facilitate the ordering process AND, for my friends, the more mature among us, there will even be instructions.

I have been working on this manuscript for a long time and exposing my family this way, was a difficult decision to take. Of course I would never have thought of publishing if my son were still with us.

When I wrote my first few articles, I really thought that I had achieved something amazing and was surprised to hear the critiques of the fellow members of my creative writing group who thought that I had a great deal of editing to do. It took me a while to understand.

The first copy of my book that came out in Hebrew, Weep for Them took years to complete but as I was one of the first parents in Israel to speak out, it sold well.

This time, all I want is to be able to show parents of mentally ill children that it is not what happens to them in life that counts; rather, how they deal with it. To do this, is not easy and I have ‘cried many rivers of tears.’ But, as I said in my youtube clip, our family took an onerous decision and decided to move on.  Every now and then I slip backwards, but make the effort to move on again. I see a beautiful sunset, sit on the shore and watch the waves ebb and flow, crash against rocks, and admire the seagulls swooping above. I listen to children laugh or admire the parks in our neighborhood. A good book is a marvellous escape channel, so is music. Of course people’s tastes in music vary. I find classical music soothing. There are times now, that I am even able to count my blessings which is a huge step forward. I love our home, derive satisfaction from my teaching career and enjoy being with my children and grandchildren. Tutoring students, working in the garden and writing have taught me the importance of keeping busy with activities that I really love to do.

I will end this emotional blog with  my late husband’s favorite quote;

God grant me the serenity

To  accept the things

I cannot change, the courage

To change the things I can,

And the wisdom

To know the difference.

                            Anonymous

My demons!

 

Another of  my son’s poems;

My life is plagued by demons

Awake all day and night.

THEY persecute me

Never let me rest.

The doctors support them

And don’t consider me.

I represent the bourgeois

I come from a good home.

Therefore, am not worthy of support

Only a kick in the pants.

                                     David

Soon after writing this poem, David asked me;

“Tell me Mom. Do you know what the word virtue means?”

“Of course I do, David.”

“I bet you don’t. It means insufficient temptation.”

Then he pointed to a girl walking ever so slowly along one of the long corridors in the hospital that I had grown to hate.

“See that girl, Mom?”

“Yes.”

“Well, she could be called a skeleton and over here, that means a bunch of bones with the person scraped off.”

 

Writer Jill Sadowsky featured in Kaleidoscope Magazine…chosen from over 350 submissions

Akron, Ohio – The work of Jill Sadowsky of Ra’anana, Israel, has been published in the current issue of Kaleidoscope: Exploring the Experience of Disability through Literaure and the Fine Arts. Her personal essay appears in issue number 64 of the magazine along with other thematic material representing “Perspectives on Loss.” Her work was selected from among more than 350 submissions considered for publication

Sadowsky, a grandmother of five, works as an English Tutor. Her work has appeared in U.S. Health and Human Resources, Israel Pxychiatric  Journal and Horizons. Her book, Weep for Them, written in Hebrew, was published in Israel. She is currently working on an English version of the same book, entitled originally entitled Not Here to Hold, but which has now been changed to David’s Story. Sadowsky began writing as a way to reach out to other mothers whose children suffer from paranoid schizophrenia, and to fight the stigma associated with mental illness. She has also volunteered for the Israel Mental Health Association, ENOSH.

The award winning Kaleidoscope Magazine is published by United Disability Serices in Akron, Ohio. Uniqe to the field of disabiliy studies, the publication expresses he experiences of disability from the perspective of individuals, families, fiends, caregivers, and healthcare professionals, among others. The material chosen for Kaleidoscope challenges and overcomes stereotypical, patronizing, and sentimental attitudes about disability.

 

Away with the old school of psychiatrists who point the finger of blame at mothers …

Shame on the old school of psychiatrists who point the finger of blame at us worried, worn out, not knowing where to turn first; trying to keep their homes going which includes all the things that mothers have to do; and then, if one of their children is suffering from a mental illness, she worries, tries to help, searches for new medications and treatments, and on top of all this, a psychiatrist like Doctor W. will point at his finger and say:

“Babies are born well, but how they develop, depends on you!”

Did he stop for a single moment to see how this made me feel? Did he realize that I would not sleep for nights worrying about what he had said? I wonder whether he cared at all. All I know is that I was paying this man so much money out of my own pocket that I never even got to have some therapy for myself. He always smiled when we left, probably thinking; ‘They will be coming here for a long time to come – good money for me, that is.’

Mental health treatment in Israel has gone a long way since the time our son so desperately needed help and I would say that it is on a par with other countries now, which doesn’t mean that there is no room for improvement, mind you.  After reading my first book which was written in Hebrew, someone in a high position in the Ministry of Health apologized to us and told us that he was appalled by some of the things I’d related there.

  • Students of psychology and psychiatry must be told in no uncertain terms that no one can cause schizophrenia. As this is so important, I repeat; NO ONE CAN CAUSE SCHIZOPHRENIA.
  • Not only medical students need to know this. Every parent of every mentally ill child should know that he/she is not to blame.
  • Hospital staff should be aware of the fact that parents need some warning before their child is released from a psychiatric hospital.
  • We need to have the side effects of every medication explained carefully to us.
    We need to be taught how to set limits to  our patient and be given examples of what to do when certain behavior erupts.
  • My husband and I honestly thought that our son would enter a psychiatric hospital ill and exit well. If’ we’d been warned that there was no cure, we might have changed our expectations earlier.
  • To this day I fail to understand how a person as ill as our son could be sent home for weekends when the hospital staff knew that he was prone to violence. we had two teenage daughters at home and my husband left for work at 7 a.m. and returned at 7 p.m. I was told that the hospital staff never ever walked in front of our son – only behind him, where they could keep an eye on him at all times. But, not one of them thought that we should know this.
  • I wish we had been informed of the existence of ENOSH, the Israel Mental Health Association right at the beginning of our journey into the horrors of mental illness.
  • I think we might have benefitted from attending a support group earlier on.
  • we needed guidance on how to handle our son when he became depressed or frustrated.
  • We should have been told that the only way to cope was to take one day at a time. That I learned from parents of mentally ill children at a support group.
  • We felt that the professionals should have guided us on how to cope with the terrible stigma accorded mental illness.
  • I had flyers printed on stigma and went from one general practioner to another in an effort to spread the word. BUT, when I returned two days later to check what had happened to them, there was not a flyer in sight. So much for that idea!

A ‘new generation child’ asked his dad; “How was I born?”

Please forgive me for taking a break from mental illness and handicaps. I hope that this will bring a smile to your faces. I laughed out loud.

“How was I born dad?” a little boy asked. And this was his dad’s reply.

“Well son, your mom and I got together in a yahoo chat room. We set up a date in a cyber-cafe via e-mail or facebook; I don’t remember which. We sneaked into a secluded room and googled one another. Once there, your mom agreed to download from my hard drive. When I was ready to upload, we discovered that neither of us had used a firewall and since it was too late to hit the delete button, nine months later, a little pop-up appeared that said; “You got male.”

Defining a person by their disability is offensive …

Some people think that by calling a person handicapped, it sounds softer and more acceptable than using the word crippled. But I am not sure whether a handicapped person would agree with that. Frankly, I think that defining anyone by their disability is offensive.

People so often use the following expressions He is schizophrenic, he’s a sociopath or there’s another polio victim. Do you think that those same people would ever use the following?  He is measles, he is whooping cough, or, he is cancerous?

I’d prefer to hear the following;  ‘He has a handicap’ rather than ‘he’s handicapped.’ Please think about this for a moment.

Most people who have a handicap think of themselves as being quite normal. Of course I can’t be sure, but it seems that way to me.

The best way to hinder someone with a handicap is to do everything for them and make them feel inadequate. I think we all know that a person’s character, personality and mental ability arre more important than their physical abilities.

My wish is that we will all learn one day to:

  • accept people as they are and not the way we think they should be.
  • To continually count my blessings, something I have learned since the tragedies in my own life.
  • I have learned that we are all allowed to have fun sometimes and laughter really is the best medicine.
  • There are good things for us to enjoy every day.

A mother’s persistence to start CIT in Israel ??????

Crisis Intervention Training, is known as C.I.T.

I was asked by the editor of the newspaper known as : CIT Around the World, to write an article about my reasons for even thinking of starting a C.I.T. program here in Israel.

My son’s diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia was the reason I became interested in this program. I ‘d run a support group for parents of mentally ill children and heard varied stories of the wrong kind of police intervention when apprehending one of our ill children. I had also promised my son that I would do my best to change the face of mental illness in our country.

A colleague and I approached ENOSH, the Israel Mental Health Association, and together, presented our idea to high ranking police officers in Tel Aviv. They agreed to let us run two pilot programs of five hours each for community officers. This took a long time to organize but our first one was successful.

Soon after that, I surfed the web in an effort to find a ready made program and found one in Memphis Tennessee. In Memphis, the police organized their first CIT Program and in the year 2007, when they heard that ‘an ordinary mother’ had thought of it in Israel, they invited me to Memphis to give a presentation there at their National Conference.  They also proved to be very helpful and provided me with a great deal of material which was subsequently used here.

  • After my return, we continued to try and get our version of the CIT program into regular police training seminars a few times a year. But we soon realized that this was not the answer. What we need is to get it into the police academies where new recruits to the police force study.Police Officers need to know how to recognize mentally ill people.
  • Officers need to visit a psychiatric hospital.
  • Police Officers need to visit them in their ‘protected living hostels.’
  • Police Officersy need to understand a little bit about the various mental illnesses and learn how to recognize them.
  • No, we do not want to turn them in psychologists but we need them to understand what is happening.

I want to thank all the people I met in Memphis who not only went out of their way then, to help. They still send information when I ask for it and I find this very touching indeed.

When I received my honors award in the Knesset at the beginning of January this year, someone read out the reasons for my receiving this honor. One of the reasons given was my effort to get this program up and going. Guess what was going through my head at that moment! I THOUGHT THAT ONCE THIS HAS BEEN SAID HERE IN OUR KNESSEET – OUR PARLIAMENT – THERE CAN BE NO GOING BACK… ONLY FORWARDS.