The Mental Illness Family Experience:More Reader Stories

love in recoveryLetters, we get letters….and each time it reinforces the fact that mental illness affects the whole family – and that many – too many – families are left to guess at proper treatment and cope alone, especially if their family member is a “legal adult.”

at a recent NAMI conference, I spoke about the truth that underneath every “patient” is a valued person: (this link goes to a short youtube excerpt)


The Courage and Love of Families Dealing with Mental Illness

from a couple in Massachusetts:

I just finished reading your book and I say thank you. Our family has been on this journey for 12 years with our daughter. My wife and I read your story, cried, wiped tears and started again, shared in your triumphs and your challenges, laughed, recalled frantic moments, and on. We are members of NAMI, the F2F course many years ago saved us from bottoming out. We still fight every day for society to support this brain illness. I will hold onto your visions of Pride, Hope, and eternal love for your family. Thank you for speaking out and sharing your family with us.

from Laura in California:

First I would like to thank you for writing this awesome book. I have bought a few copies and am having extended family read it to help understand what our family is going thru. I am writing you because our son who is now almost 24 is diagnosed with schizophrenia…the real problem is at this age we want him to live independently from us. I am worried if anything were to happen to us he would be lost…Thank you so much again for writing this very important book.

from another Mom:

My husband and I both read your book Ben Behind his voices in four days we couldn’t put it down you were telling my story with my son.
I have both my sons mentally ill.
I have so many question I want to do what you did and help them get their lives back.
My older son unfortunately became violent I called the police one time … he spent 4 months in jail/ Psychiatry, then he became homeless because he wouldn’t go by the house rules and seeing a psychiatrist – let alone taking meds.
Both my sons had a breakdown in their sophomore year in college.
I would like to get my son off the street and get him help.
Please help. I am also a member of NAMI.
Thank you for the book you are a wonderful mother.


As you can see, the story in Ben Behind His Voices is not unique. Families are to often left to cope alone, and I am thrilled that we are, at least, beginning to reach out to each other. I’m honored our book is a part of that, but without you, wonderful reader, the story will only go so far. Thank you for commenting, connecting, sharing, recommending. I can’t help but think that, even though the “newtown shooter” has not yet been proven to have had a mental illness, the situation would have very very different if his family had had education and support.

2 thoughts on “The Mental Illness Family Experience:More Reader Stories

  1. Ben Behind His Voices has been like a Bible to me dealing with mental illness. My son has schizoaffective disorder, is not medicated, and is a danger to me. I have been advised to stop all contact with him he s treatment compliant for my own safety and sanity. I am grieving for the son I have lost. I am trying to fin my “new normal” but not sure what that is right now. The book gave me hope, it taught me a lot abut early warning signs, and making questioning early intervention and prevention. I am a juvenile probation officer and I am going to buy this book for our Judge. I have read it several times. Excellent book!!

    1. Thank you so much! I’m glad the book has been helpful, and hope that someday you are able to find treatment and support for your son – and, til then, the strength and community to help you cope. It’s so hard, I know.

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