We had to learn not to give up …

Living with mental illness in a family is stressful so we had to learn not to give up, but to continue searching for the right medication; for the right treatment.

We had to learn never to give in to the pressure, so, we had to find ways to have some sort of life. My husband and I walked along the beach and waited for the sun to set. Sometimes it was breathtaking. In the spring, we visited places where spring flowers were in bloom and marveled every year at the way they suddenly popped out of the earth after the first rains came.

I watched my husband use humor everywhere to defuse tension. He cracked jokes when he had problems at work, even found humor in a psychiatric hospital  and during appointments with David’s psychiatrist who corroborated the fact that laughing in the face of disaster was a great therapy. Laughter is often the flip side of crying and that is why some people get the giggles at a funeral or soon after losing a loved one.

I know that our family story was universal but, for us, it was unique. I wondered whether bad things happened to us to make us stronger, which is what we heard from many people.

I found this note that David had scribbled on a grubby piece of paper.

‘I watch my life go by like a spectator and see how others live. I am a pillar of salt in G-d’s image. I want to kick, to shout, to scream.’


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