Author Archives: Jill

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.'

World Mental Health Awareness Day

I have chosen to post three short letters that Doron’s late father wrote after Doron’s untimely



Dearest Doron,

Of course we miss you terribly. We are happy that you have found eternal peace. You bore your suffering bravely and did all you could to cling to life. When you realized that your suffering had no end, you took the only way out. I LOVE YOU.

Dear Doctors,d

We thank you for all you tried to do for Doron. Hopefully in time, human knowledge will progress and be in a position to help other seriously ill psychiatric patients. Unfortunately, you failed to give me or my son, Doron, the feeling that you were really trying. Such a feeling would hae alleviated his suffering and may have helped the medication do what it was supposed to do.

Doron’s bereaved father.

To the burial society. (Chevra Kadisha)

I feel that  you could fulfill your duties with more compassion, bearing in mind that you are dealing with bereaved families. Sadly, we found that similar observations made by other bereaved families were justified.

A bereaved parent.

David’s Story

While my son was ill for 16 years, I kept scraps of paper where I jotted down all the crises we all experienced. Using all that information, I eventually wrote a book which I called ‘DAVID’S STORY’, even though his name was DORON. I have blogged for years about schizophrenia and the blame, shame, stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness.

Here is my last blog for this year.


This is the story of one family, the story of millions of families worldwide. My happy, busy, social son, changed. ‘A classic case of paranoid schizophrenia,’ the psychiatrist said. It took a long time before we learned that parents could not cause this illness; that we could not be blamed. We thought he would go into the hospital ill but exit healthy. Wrong. He tried psychotherapy, occupational therapy, dance therapy and group therapy yet he continued to be out of focus, angry, psychotic and paranoid and the army of psychiatric health workers and psychiatrists were unable to help him.

Our teenage daughters stopped bringing friends home. Fear crept in. We attended family therapy at the hospital, told them what transpired when he was home, yet, they sent him home for weekends. BUT, I noticed that in the hospital, the staff always walked behind him.

Meanwhile our daughters did without; without sufficient time from us, without vacations or extras as spare cash went into another prescription, another treatment, and for his psychiatrist’s fees. Our 13-year-old daughter summed it up. ‘IF David’s body were hurting, people would bring gifts and visit him in the hospital, but because it is his mind that is ill, they stayed away.

Our family remained together, took each day as it came, learned to find the positive things in life and even realized how lucky we were to have a father/husband who was so caring,  as well as parents who loved one another. Together, we forged new dreams.

 Our son could no longer bear the voices in his head and realized that he was never going to have peace of mind. All he had ever wanted was to hold down a decent job, have someone to love, and … peace of mind. So, he went to a place of beauty; a place suitable for the surfer he had been.

Our son’s name was Doron but when I wrote this book, I changed all our names and called him David.

In January 1996, three  months before his 34th birthday, we buried our son. On that dull winter’s day, the earth that had been dug out stood in a mound ready to be thrown back. For the last time I talked to my son, while in the cold, still air, I heard a thousand birds sing their songs of life.

All the people who loved my son said farewell, even those who had not coped with his schizophrenia but knew how to handle his death. So many friends, neighbors and acquaintances stood, shoulders touching, their breath mingling in the icy air into one great sigh for our loss. I whispered goodbye. So much left unsaid. I ached to see him on his surfboard There was a thud of earth, a marker – and he was gone. He didn’t even say goodbye. In a tumble of memories, I saw David’s superimposed on the painful image of his anguished expression.

I love you, David. Rest. 1962 – 1996.

David’s Story by Jill Sadowsky, can be bought as a kindle book on Amazon and Smashwords.


Time out?

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.

The terrible secret

brain 1When 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?


stigma 6


stigma busters 1

  • 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:
  • Depressions
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • 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.


Three short letters by a bereaved father

3 Alec

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.

“Dear Doron,

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.״

Your father.”

״Dear Doctors,

“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.


“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.