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.'

Mental Health Triggers …. Speak Out

It is difficult for an outsider to understand the situations that act as triggers and so affect mentally challenged people as they might not understand what a trigger is.  Most of us are affected by some sort of trigger; the elements of daily life that bring out intense emotions can also lead to dangerous situations. Not only people with mental illnesses experience this kind of thing.

The question is; how does one push aside the mental health triggers that haunt their every move? The answer depends on their personal struggle. For a person struggling with an eating disorder, the mere sight of food  or the addition of an extra kilo on the scale, can act as a trigger. For a person addicted to ‘self-harm,’ the sight of a sharp object  can trigger their  urge to self-injure.

If a therapist is able to replace those triggers with a positive diversion, the possibility of moving on is more likely.  Writing, music or being surrounded by supportive people, are positive replacements.

The saying ‘Every cloud has a silver lining,’ – is welll known, so how about changing that to:  Every silver lining has a small cloud ?













I’m trying my very best to get this hurdle jumped …

From someone who has a mental illness:I know you might not think so but I’m really trying  hard. I don’t do it on purpose. I didn’t pick this card. I’m doing my very best to get this hurdle jumped. But no one else is there to get me out this slump. I don’t know what you want from me. Give me a hint, a clue. Please give me a sign. Show me what to do.  If you only knew how much I struggle in this war, maybe someone would be there to raise me from the floor. it’s time to stop pretending; time to open your eyes – give me a hand instead of looks and sighs. It’s not that I don’t love you. It’s not that I don’t care. The fact is I ned help too. I need somebody there.


Something bothers me about the way mental illness is treated.

‘IF the treatment of some psychiatric illnesses is worse than the disease itself, it could be said that the treatment is dubious to begin with. If some psychiatrists are actually harming the very people they claim to be assisting. Is this what legitimate medicine is about?’

Quoted from my son’s writings.

A page from the notebook …

imagesCAPN9U3Hsad young manMy son often scribbled or wrote in his notebook. There were times when he showed me a page here or there.

I remember the day he wrote the following, then showed it to me.  His dad was at work but saw it later.





Take note: the first letter of each of the four words above, spell  F E A R. I read on: People can take everything away from me, with the exception of my attitude to any given circumstance. I think that if I could regain some  quality of life, I would be able to change my attitude ……  BUT the voices in my head won’t stop. The voices! Oh those voices! HELP ME MOM.

I went up to him and hugged him, tears streaming.

Smile and the world smiles with you …….


oldcouple3As a child, I spent time with older people that I loved and admired. They were confident, independent, and free to choose what they wanted to do.  To me, being old seemed magical, the start  of a satisfying way of life.  Over the years, I paid attention to milestone birthdays – 21,40,50 and expected to feel different every time. But I didn’t until I turned 70 . That day, something shifted and I awoke feeling different. I’d arrived. I think that slipping my feet into a pair of black patent leather high heeled shoes did the trick. Those were the shoes that had blistered my feet too often and caused them to ache. They were a symbol of discomfort, restriction and conformity. I slipped them off and gave them away. After all, aging was empowering. 

I crawled into bed that night with a good book and a glass of red wine to celebrate. Celebrate what? I wasn’t sure. Suddenly, family and good friends became even more precious : more valuable,  and I decided to make the most of what remained of my  time on this earth. Music and books enriched my life but I soon learned that aging g is not for wimps. Of course I suffered from the odd ache as well as moments of memory failure. I had a bit less stamina too.

I now wear some of my inner feelings on the outside and am far more comfortable with myself. i admit to my vulnerability  as I no longer have  to pretend. I am one of the fortunate ones who owns an apartment and a car, and I still drive. I am surrounded by family and friends who care about me and love me.

I’ve joined the ranks of the ‘wrinklies’ who are products of a high standard of education and health care. I feel that I have earned all my wrinkles and laugh lines as well as the graying streaks in my hair. I’m showing the young ones that aging can be a time of pleasure, opportunity, satisfaction and new horizons. Youngsters need to hear something other than the gloom and doom of pessimistic old people. Old age sure beats the alternative.








What my mother taught me



My mother taught me some valuable lessons that I’ll never forget. Before I got married, she said; “Don’t ever let the sun go down on your wrath.” I often think of her words and how smart they were. I remember passing these words of wisdom on at one of the support groups for parents of  mentally ill children that I attended.

She gave me the following advice too; “Don’t ache to be someone’s whole life. Rather, aim to be the favorite part of it. Live without pretending, love without depending, listen without defending, speak without offending.”

On this note, have as good a day as you possibly can.


smiling 1Everyone has their own way of handling problems and over a long period of time, this is the way that helped me most.

I really worked on myself for years, and in time, came to the conclusion that the more I thought about a problem, the larger it loomed in my  mind. So, I learned, ever so slowly, not to dwell on the past, not to agonize over the future, and to try and live in the here and now. At first it seemed an impossible task, but in time, I learned how to do it. And, my life changed for the better.

We all know that frowning is a negative reaction and that smiling draws people in to our circle. I smiled at the people I met. I smiled at people I barely knew, and some of them even smiled back.

I was a talker. I talked a lot. But, I taught myself to become more of a listener and found how helpful that was because I got to know people better. I am still working on myself on this issue.

Learning to accept takes time and practice but,  it is possible. None of of are perfect so why judge others?

Being active is healthy. Go for it. Swim, walk, jog, surf, ride a bicycle or work out. I work in my garden and walk – when I remember to do so.

Remember the saying; Laugh and the world laughs with  you. Cry and you cry alone? Well, complain less, appreciate more is similar. If I appreciate what is out there to enjoy and stop complaining, I collect friends.

There are people who are afraid to love and fear getting too close to anybody. My advice? Be less fearful and more loving. 

To sum up … Think less, Feel More. Frown Less, Smile More. Talk Less, Listen More, Judge Less, Accept More. Watch Less, Do More. Complain Less, Appreciate More. Fear Less, Love More.

smiling 2



sun shining  I have learned the hard way to forgiveness. It is an attitude. Forgiveness means letting go of, and accepting what has occurred because no matter what I do, the position is not likely to change.

Forgiveness means dismissing the blame. I made choices and there were some that were hurtful – maybe I could have made different choices?

Forgiveness means looking at my pain and learning lessons from it. It means that I had to start over with the knowledge that I might have gained something after all.

I have learned that if I can’t forgive and forget, I have to try at least to forgive or forget.

One of the most important lessons I learned in my life was to forgive and make peace before I went to bed each night. One of the most memorable things I learned from my mother was; Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath…and I haven’t.

                                                                                                                        a full moon