So much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving – especially considering how else things might have turned out without knowing some steps to take when Ben had a relapse this summer. Something I’ve felt before as well as now: We might have lost him.
For over 20 years, we have spent the holiday at my younger brother’s house, around the same table with his wife, sons, and others. Ghosts of Thanksgivings past: Ben absent, when he was wandering homeless out West. Ben not there, because he was in the hospital. Ben there physically, but so involved with his inner world that he might as well have been absent.
This year, though, was wonderful. After a very tough summer, Ben has returned home once again in more ways than one. Part of this year’s success is due to a very understanding employer who can see past his illness to the value he has underneath. And for that, how can I – and Ben -not be grateful? We are. The change in Ben, beyond the effects of his medical treatment, has been enormous because of the dignity that comes when you are employed, useful and appreciated. This is true, I think, for us all.
Meanwhile, I am reading an early copy of a book called Defying Mental Illness: Finding Recovery with Community Resources and Family Supports. So far, I love this book. The authors, Paul Komarek and Andrea Schroer, say this in their introduction:
The authors know many people who have made it through the struggle with mental illness, and
many family members and professionals who have supported people with difficult conditions.
They have come to terms with mental illness, faced every kind of disorder, and dealt with every
kind of treatment. They have rebuilt lives, repaired family relationships and achieved meaningful
You can accomplish this too.
I’m already hooked! Will keep you posted. Ben, Ali and I tell our story in Ben Behind His Voices. My first reaction is that we all need a book like this one, too. These authors, I suspect, will provide some concrete information in this book that is “a book that is not too technical, and suitable for community
outreach work.” Welcome!