“There should be no more shame in acknowledging them…”

I live with mental illness.

There I’ve said it…. finally!

And although it may not be me personally who has the illness I live with it and am affected by it on a very personal level every single day because it is one of my children who suffers from it.

It’s something that I have tried to keep quiet. After all I love my son and would do anything for him.  I want him to be happy and I want him to live a good happy productive life.  I don’t want others judging him and limiting him. And I definitely don’t want to put all the intimate details of our struggle out their for all to see and mock and judge.

And struggle it has been, one that has been a roller coaster ride of highs and lows for the past four years.  For the first year it was something that we were able to keep to ourselves, but as time went on circumstances meant others started to notice something wasn’t quite right.  In fact for that first year we didn’t even realize there was something wrong.

In hindsight the clues were all there but we were blinded and didn’t see them for what they were.  Even when terms like mood disorder, thought disorder, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar, anxiety, OCD, mania, depression, aspergers, delusions, hallucinations, Tourettes, schizophrenia, psychiatric ward, and a multitude of other terms no parent wants to hear began to be discussed by doctors and specialist I was in denial that such a thing could be our new reality.

Anyone who knows me knows that I do not consider myself to be a good a writer.  I run a book blog with a title stating that very clearly.

So why this blog?

Why share portions of our very private life?

Because I was touched by a recent talk given by Elder Jeffrey R Holland.  That talk titled Like A Broken Vessel inspired me to start this blog.  As I once again sat in the emergency room earlier this month wondering how we had once again found ourselves in unwanted circumstances I flipped on the television and heard these word come from a servant of the Lord:

In that spirit I wish to speak to those who suffer from some form of mental illness or emotional disorder, whether those afflictions be slight or severe, of brief duration or persistent over a lifetime. We sense the complexity of such matters when we hear professionals speak of neuroses and psychoses, of genetic predispositions and chromosome defects, of bipolarity, paranoia, and schizophrenia. However bewildering this all may be, these afflictions are some of the realities of mortal life, and there should be no more shame in acknowledging them than in acknowledging a battle with high blood pressure or the sudden appearance of a malignant tumor.

 

hope

I’ve come to learn that I’m not alone in this struggle.  It may be something I’ve felt too ashamed of to admit and talk about but I’ve come to realize that I am not alone and have no need to be ashamed of the struggle we are going through. I’ve come to recognize the Lord’s hand in my life and feel his love for me.  As we’ve passed through this personal, painful refiner’s fire my faith has been increased and my testimony of a loving Heavenly Father has been strengthened.

A close friend has told me I should be writing my experiences down so that I can share them with others.  In all honesty that was the last thing I wanted to do for far too long.  I wanted to forget what we were going through and focus on other things.  Now I wish I’d taken that advice and had started writing things down long before now but better late than never right?

I don’t claim to be an expert or have any of the answers but I have learned a lot in my journey and have decided to share some of our experiences with the hope that I can bring a measure of peace and hope to other who might be going through their own personal struggles.

Comments

  1. Mippy/Sabrina says:

    Thank you. :)

  2. Thank you for stepping into the spotlight and sharing your experience living with mental illness. I suffer from depression, I was diagnosed at 14 (I am now 29) and you’re right, at first it’s easy to hide. For me just being a teenager covered up my anxiety over new experiences, my massive mood swings and my general avoidance of social events. It was okay if I didn’t have a job or party with my friends. However, now at 29 I see the judgement in others’ eyes when they find out I don’t work or go to school and frankly I don’t feel like explaining the “why” of it. People can be cruel and even if they did know the “why” that doesn’t guarantee any understanding on the part of the judgmental. I have days where I am “coherent” and seem normal, but then in a flash there are days where I seem spaced out, can’t look any one in the eye, cry at anything and generally withdraw far into myself. This has lead to me having a reputation as a cold hearted, uncaring nature or being cranky.

    What I’m trying to get at is that there are a lot of support groups and books for people like me to read but what about those people who choose to care for us? Who helps people like you or my mom who has stuck by me through this whole ordeal (and it hasn’t been easy since I sometimes lash out at her)? I’ve yet to see a book, a lecture, a documentary, or anything of the sort that is aimed at the people who live and want to help a loved one with mental illness.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your personal struggles and testimony. I sometimes think this is where testimony is born, lives, and thrives: in our struggles, our “extremities” (as you shared that quote from the 1979 talk). Another thought, how can we possibly be of one heart and one mind unless we are willing to share our hearts and minds? So, thank you! PS Fools may mock, but they shall mourn… Or something like that…;)