When I started blogging, I had a great deal of trouble when posting blogs and there were times when I fought with my computer till the early hours of the morning. But I persevered and at first posted a blog daily. After sone years, I only managed to get a blog to appear three times a week and now, I might have to go down to once a week, which will enable me to write all the stories I have in my head waiting to be put onto my computer.
I seem to be far too busy for a blogging grandma. Please forgive me and thanks for your ongoing support.
When one’s child starts behaving strangely, his/her siblings feel as though they are in the limelight. They avoid answering questions about their mentally ill sibling. They shy away from the hospital in case they meet somebody there who knows them. And when kids at school make jokes about mental illness, these siblings find reasons to disappear as they do not want to be present when their peers laugh. It’s too hurtful. Kids whisper and pass notes around about people who are cuckoo, lunatic, psycho, crazy, killers, schizo, nuts and maniacs. These are slang words to describe mental illness and bullies as well as regular kids use them out of ignorance because they have little understanding of what mental illness is really about. A person with a mental illness needs the support of his/her family and of their peers. They need the support of their friends and neighbors as well as of their teachers, professors and coaches alike.
How would you feel if you were in the same situation?
- Do you know that only one lesson on mental illness could make all the difference to young people whose lives have been thrown tragically off course by no fault brain disorders such as:
- Bipolar Disorder
- OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and Panic disorder?
The Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Illness states that nearly two-thirds of all people with diagnosable mental disorders do not seek treatment.
Innovative lessons can put a human face on mental illness and confront the myths that reinforce the silence. Students learn that mental illness has never been more treatable than today. They can learn to watch for the warning signs of a mental illness and how to overcome the stigma surrounding it. Everybody should hear the following:- Mental illness is nobody’s fault. No one can cause a mental illness. Parents are NOT to blame.
Lorraine Kaplan’s son was smart. At 17, he had top grades, was a debater as well as a top trombonist in his school. But, seemingly overnight, he became obsessive and then began hallucinating. ‘The doctor told us that he had schizophrenia and that we would be walking on eggshells for the rest of our lives,’ said Lorraine. ‘He added: ‘I am going to give you some good advice too. Don’t tell anyone.’ So, for ten years they didn’t tell anybody as the stigma seemed too much to manage. One day, they realized how many people were in the same position and that contributing to the silence was not the way to go about changing things. So, Lorraine Kaplan became a vocal advocate, hoping to change things for the next generation, trying to teach that a mental illness is treatable.
Four of the top ten causes of lifetime disability are severe mental illness. At any point in time, one in every ten adolescents are affected by serious emotional disturbances according to the Academy of Child ad Adolescent Psychiatry in the USA. Of those needing treatment, less than one in five will receive it. Adolescents experiencing a mental illness often turn to drugs or alcohol, or self-medicate.
HAVE YOUR CHILDREN EVER BEEN TAUGHT ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS IN SCHOOL ? IF NOT, MAYBE IT’S TIME TO START PROGRAMS OF THIS KIND?
Three short letters by a bereaved father.
The first, he wrote to our son after he had done the worst thing a child could do and ended his life.
Of course we miss you terribly. But, we are relieved that you have found eternal peace. You bore your suffering bravely and you did all you could to continue living. But, when you realized that your suffering had to end, you took the only way out. I love you and want you to know that both your mother and I forgive you for taking our son away from us.״
“I thank you for all you tried to do for my son. Hopefully, in time, human knowledge will progress to a position where seriously ill psychiatric patients will be able to be helped. Unfortunately you failed to give me or my son the feeling that you were really trying. Such a feeling would have alleviated his suffering and may have helped the multiple medications you prescribed the possibility of doing what they were supposed to do.”
Doron’s bereaved father.
TO THE BURIAL SOCIETY.
“I fell that you could have fulfilled your duties with more compassion bearing in mind that you were dealing with a heartbroken, bereaved family. Sadly, we found that similar observations made by other bereaved families were justified.”
A bereaved parent.
D O R O N
I usually blog about mental illness and how our family coped with all the problems it caused both for us and for our son. I have often mentioned how my late husband used humor to get him to smile instead of becoming heated and talk about his demons. Well, the three of us were out one evening visiting friends and were pleasantly surprised to find that one of their grandchildren was present. After supper, the little boy approached my husband and asked a surprising question … surprising because it was the kind of question children usually ask their own parents or grandparents: “Do you know how I was born?” he asked.
Without hesitation my husband replied:- “Yes I think I can answer your question. I am sure that your mom and dad got together in a google chat room. Then, they set up a date in a cyber café on facebook, sneaked into a secluded room and googled one another. Once there, your mother probably agreed to download from your dad’s hard drive. When he was ready to upload, they discovered that neither of them had used a firewall, and since it was too late to hit the delete button, exactly nine months later, a little pop-up appeared that said in the most adorable voice, “You’ve got male! Congratulations.“
I often think back to the first 18 years of my son’s life when he was perceived as being the same as everybody else. Then, when things started to change, there were many people called him schizo, crazy, mad in his head. BUT, our family always called him by his name – Doron.
Our son wanted to get well. He wanted to love and be loved but most of all he needed the peace of mind that the rest of us take for granted. That peace of mind eluded him even though he took his medication religiously. He tried every new tablet until there were no new meds to take. So, his doctors gave him what we referred to as a ‘salad of meds’ where they mixed a few together. Later, he returned to the psychiatric hospital once a month to get a long lasting shot.
A person who has a mental illness can help care for others in the same condition. I read about one who abandoned his well-paid career, did a course and took on the position of a mental health counselor, working part time. What was so earth shattering about this? you might ask. Well, he gave the kind of care he wished he had received when he was taken to a psychiatric hospital. This ex-patient has recovered and is actually working as a peer specialist in a psychiatric company.
Peer care is encouraging mental health professionals to rethink treatment and actually inviting their patients to join in the process. They have been reminded that a mentally ill person is not all that different from them and somehow, it has changed their attitude and I find that rather encouraging, don’t you?