My shirt would say:
sister (of depression)
ex girlfriend (of severe bipolar disorder)
granddaughter (of schizophrenia)
mother (of severe depression)
daughter (of something very serious but remains undiagnosed)

I lost my only brother, Brandon to suicide at age 23. He was my best friend, and I’m certain that deep down he didn’t mean to hurt us by resorting to ending his life to end his agony. He was brilliant- when he was only 20 he refurbished computers to accommodate the handicapped. My last conversation with him was on my birthday, January 13. He sounded happy, but made one comment that has always haunted me. I had said, “I’ll see you this weekend when you’re back from your business trip.” He replied, “Well, maybe.” I thought he meant he was delayed, never imagined that he’d made up his mind to end his life two days later. He knew already; my birthday wish was actually good-bye. My daughter was born one week later. He must have been in a lot of pain to leave me like that.

I have been waiting for more people to open their eyes and have some compassion. Men have gone running from me because of the mental illnesses surrounding me. I’m waiting for more people to understand that so many on welfare are mentally ill or affected by someone who is, and that many addicts are self medicating an illness because help isn’t there. I’m waiting for truth to be faced- that psychiatric help is grossly underachieving it’s goal, that when you check a 13 year old into a mental hospital they can get thrown in with 40 others of varying serious problems. That there is no counceling for the parent who left a child there, trying to get her help. They say “go home and take a nap” and the doctor fails to call for 4 days (my experience with my daughter).

The next generations depend on us to get the mental healthcare up to date and researched very seriously. My grandmother likely went off of her meds for schizophrenia and deteriorated. She was too paranoid to go to the doctor, and by the time she went she was covered in cancer. She believed the doctors were all aliens in human hosts.

It IS terrifying, exhausting, debilitating, as a caregiver. You miss work, have to apply for welfare, then endure people making jokes about people on food stamps. There are no directions, no advice on how to reach someone so far gone that you had to say goodbye to them to protect yourself from emotional and physical abuse (my father, and child’s father). I hope people won’t lose this focus on mental health while they are dumping buckets of ice water on their heads and buying pink items. We need one for mental illness support to go viral. Thank you for this group, living around mental illness is a lonely place.

9 responses to “Jennifer”

  1. Cheryl Bird says:

    you are not alone here

  2. Karrie Hefner says:

    Your words are so accurate and ring so hard in my heart.
    Hopefully we will see advanced knowledge and understanding the many aspects of mental health awareness.
    My son has a schizophrenia and every day is a struggle.

  3. Susan says:

    Jennifer, I feel your pain and can relate. One thing that has been enormously helpful for me is a support group. They are in many locations. You can check the NAMI website or ask at your child’s school if there is one for parents. I wish you all the best–one day at a time, and try to enjoy small moments of pleasure. Also, Pema Chodron’s book–When Things Fall Apart is wonderful. She is a Buddhist nun, and also has a book called How to Meditate. All those things, and spending time with friends, have helped me cope.

  4. Christie Nichols says:

    I so agree. I did not know much about the personal side of mental illness until my husband (fairly new at that time) was diagnosed bipolar. I am a nurse but it is very different when its personal. Walking with God keeps me going. And yes we are still marriedmarried, eight years now. Don’t stop loving yourself, God never gives up on us. We are who God says we are, and that is his righteousness.

  5. Paula says:

    As a single mother of a mentally ill daughter, who is now an adult, I have never given up hope. Because my daughter is also severely chemically dependent, it makes everything even harder. She is still suffering and I, as well as her daughter, are suffering right along with her. I know my daughter is suffering the most, as she is ready to take her own life and recently almost accomplished it.

    She is just so tired of trying…..

    I, too,.have thought why can’t we raise more money for BC2M like what happened with the ice bucket challenge, cancer, etc. I guess it just takes
    one person to do it. Maybe, someday I can make this my passion!!


  6. Rose says:

    Thank you. <3 Best wishes to you and yours.

    • Laronda says:

      Rose I just read your comment and can relate to all. My daughter also has seizures and still self medicates. Me being on disability and suffer with the same can relate. She is now 24 and people say I should kick her out. But who then would get meds and dr appts when their minds aren’t clear. I know for me it has taken a financial toll on me. I hope it is better for you. Stay strong. Know your not alone

  7. Brenda Burkholder says:

    My shirt would say:
    Daughter (of schizophrenia)
    Sister (of depression)
    Sister (of schizophrenia)
    Mother (of bipolar)
    Jennifer, You are strong. Let any negativity you receive go in one ear and out the other…always seek support from those that will caretake you…
    Keep the faith…you are definitely not alone.
    My Best to you and your family, Brenda

  8. Becky says:

    thanks for your courage

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