I hope you are doing well. I am doing good. I could not start this blog without telling my mother's story. She will forever be my hero. Recent events in my family also brought me back to the stigma that surrounds mental illness. I thought I saw it all with my mother growing up and thought the world would have changed their views by now in 2009. But it came apparent to me during my families latest experience that it has not changed at all. I will not say the person's name to protect their privacy so I will refer to the person as a girl. I wanted to go over and support her, but I was told not to because she felt ashamed that she had another breakdown. This girl has been through so much and has not had the best of Doctors treating her. She had no reason to feel ashamed. If she had Cancer would she be filled with shame. I don't think so. Why can't an in balance in the brain be viewed the same as every physical disease. So I hope you join me in making a change. In my Mom's last days my car was broken down, so I took the train to visit her. Nothing could stop me from being by her side. Now every time I sit on my porch I hear the train blow it's signal I feel like she is saying hello to me, and every time I hear it I say hello Mom, I miss you. It may sound silly but it is the only thing that makes me feel I have not lost my connection to her. Every time my hubby Pete would be around my Mom he would say Hi Joe, How are ya, and she always smiled back at him and engaged in conversation with him. These are memories that are so dear to my heart. I will be sharing information on here about mental illness and treatments. I would also like to encourage anyone who wants to share their story about mental illness and how it has effected your life to email it to me and I will post it here.
Thanks for visiting my blog,
My mother was born on St. Joseph’s day, thus her name Josephine. I was told she was a very happy, bubbly baby and would make her mother laugh and laugh. Her mother stopped laughing when she was two years old. She died from stomach cancer. Her older siblings took care of her, but she always missed her mother she told me. She graduated 2nd in her class, had an IQ of genius. She grew into a beautiful woman who was also a ballerina. My mother married my father at the young age of 20. Being a Catholic woman in those days meant for the most part that you stayed home and began a family. By the time she was 25 she had 4 children. The first three all a year apart. When the 4th child arrived, she had a nervous breakdown. I know I would have. All that work without much of a support system around her. I think she had a case of post partum psychosis or manic depression, that disease can have psychotic episodes. In the sixties they considered her schizophrenic. My co-workers mother was labeled the same and now is only on a pill, no more shock treatments for her. As we grew up she endured many years of shock therapy and did the Thorazine shuffle as I call it. Heavily medicated. One time she attempted to take her own life because she could not stand what was going on with her. She did not want to be sick, who would. The grace of God saved her and she continued on this path of illness until 1989. My brother Jim had taken my mother to Pembroke Hospital and she received a new treatment. They just put her on Lithium. When she came home we saw a new person emerging. It was like watching someone come out of a state of darkness and back into the light. She never went back into a Mental Institution again. She became much more functional than before, we would go out to lunch, we would go shopping together. She would take care of herself like never before. She enjoyed her 10 grandchildren. Living on a disability income she still bought them all a gift at Christmas. The last 19 years with her were the best years of our lives together. So to get back to her legacy, I can see it clearly now. She was the greatest teacher I have ever had in my life. She taught me to be brave and endure what life hands you. Acceptance of others who are different from the norm and love them all the same. Today I work with the disabled. I learned forgiveness for not having the perfect childhood and realized she was really the victim not me as I often felt that way because she was not June Cleaver. She thought me compassion as she shared a story with me once. While in the Mental Institution suffering herself, she told me of a day where she saw another women screaming and suffering. She went to her room and said a prayer for her. That touched me in more ways than I can say. Even in the end of her days in the nursing home she demonstrated dignity to me. When they would come around and put bibs on them to eat, she asked me to buy her an apron. When I did you would have thought I bought her gold. I will never forget how happy she was to get such a simple item. I guess she also put gratitude in a whole new light for me. She also had a great sense of humor, I enjoyed many a laugh with her. So having thought about my mother’s legacy it is truly a beautiful one, one of Mother that taught me more than she will ever know. She has also left us with a big and beautiful family, 6 children, 10 grandchildren and one great granddaughter and her spirit lives on in all of us. My brother Jim gave me the song I put on the video. It is Sadie by James Taylor.
Thank you for visiting my blog and reading this special post.