The two support groups my late husband and I attended while our son, David was ill, gave us the strength we so badly needed. When our youngest daughter announced at supper one night; ‘If David’s body were hurting, people would bring him flowers or gifts, but, because his mind is hurting, they keep away,’ we decided to bring the matter up at the next meeting because I never want another mother to feel as alone, as ignorant nor as desperate as I felt during those long, terribly sad years.
A wise mother with a sad face said: ‘When life hands you a lemon, you can become anti-social or slip into a depression, but it’s not worth it. Fight on, gather as much information on the illness as you possibly can, and face each day as it comes.’
A father whose son kept threatening to take his life by suicide told us; ‘Keep a level head when people fear your son. Their behavior is born out of ignorance. They simply do not understand mental illness. Don’t let it get to you.’
Then someone handed me a poem by Rudyard Kipling that inspired me:
‘If you can survive all this adversity,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it.’