I had the pleasure of presenting with Linda Appleman Shapiro, author of Four Rooms, Upstairs: A Psychotherapist’s Journey Into and Beyond Her Mother’s Mental Illness, last week at the library in Ridgefield, CT. Each time I tell Ben’s (and our family’s) story, I see at least one face in the audience that seems to open with relief: Can we really talk about these secrets? Is mental illness really not the source of shame I’ve been assuming it is?
Yes, let’s talk. A mental illness is just that: an illness. It is no one’s fault. It just is.
Great books for practical advice:
When Someone You Love Has a Mental Illness by Rebecca Woolis
I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help – Xavier Amador – great info, “system” doesn’t always work, but helps understanding greatly
and – believe it or not, for basics – there are “dummies” books for schizophrenia, bipolar, etc.
What familes need:
Acceptance (Letting Go)
Reality check, Respect, Resilience
Hope – and, yes, Humor
It spells SEARCH.
My son Ben is living a very worthwhile life, filled with love, even with paranoid schizophrenia. Even so, my expectations have changed. It is a new normal. R for reality…