|from the blog "How to Juggle Glass"|
To her husband, she was Pearle, a slightly outrageous woman prone to the unexpected. There he was, exclaiming at the line of Miss America contestants parading across the TV screen, and there she was, slinking into the den in a silk nightgown, exclaiming, « Take me! »
To friends and relatives suffering from anything from depression to lost charge cards, or the friends of her kids with ‹ parents-who-don’t understand-me ›, she was a warm, available listener.
For my brother and me, she was Mom.
And to her psychiatrist she was a woman with a deep inexplicable wound, given to weeping. When she remembered the terrible beating she received as a child our saga began.
|by Kevin Caffrey Alexandra College, Dublin, Ireland|
In the 1950s, a Weeping Woman was thrown in the hospital and given insulin and electroconvulsive shock treatments, which terrified her, made little difference, and insured that she would neither forget nor heal. She was stuck fast in trauma like an insect in amber. Later treatments in later hospitals involved massive dosages of Stelazine and Thorazine, still experimental, which resulted in premature dementia.
I was 16 when it all began, my brother 10. The psychiatrist gave my father all the information he could. Some members of our extended family tried to give support. My father left a 10 hour work day to visit her every night during the 90 day hospitalizations Blue Cross allowed. Later, I would leave Wayne State University after my classes and take a bus to a hospital, or Lafayette Clinic, or wherever she had been taken, and hear her pleas to come home.
Her need and her pain were not containable. When she was home the knives were hidden in my sweater drawer, the key to the upstairs back porch next to them so she wouldn’t harm herself. Our Pearle became she-who-lost-herself, and we - we were alone, trying to maintain each other.
|from the website "How to Juggle Glass"|
My husband & I know people with family members who suffer from mental illness. We empathize and grieve with them. What is it like to live with someone who is suddenly exhibiting incomprehensible and/or frightening behaviors? Imagine all the phone calls, internet sessions, and the trips from one professional to another, trying to find out what’s wrong. Imagine the helplessness and worry, the struggle, and families possibly divided over the right course of action.
|Arizona Capitol Times|
There are courses on growth, healing and recovery for the individual with mental problems, and courses for the families of the psychically stricken veterans of our current wars - and I’ve only mentioned a small part of NAMI’s services. For families, the ability to share stories with others in the same situation, to compare symptoms, treatments, fears - share what is still considered dark and shameful by many in our society.
NAMI handles national problems as well. The fight for better coverage for mental health, and the disparity between funding for physical and mental health is one that NAMI is actively involved in on the Congressional level.
If you know someone who has suffered alone with mental health problems, or a struggling family, you only need suggest their local NAMI office. You can find that info at https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/Family-Members-and-Caregivers/Supporting-Recovery.
And if you are looking for a worthwhile charity, a great place to put your dollars, where money is not eaten up by Administration, I recommend NAMI. Bill & I enjoy the marches and fundraisers for the wholehearted energy of all who participate - and I find it so healing to know that no one today has to go through the isolated misery my family experienced.
Thank you NAMI.
|"My art, my mental illness" Johnny Beaver|