Thursday, December 6, 2012

It reminds me how thin of a line there is for all of us between stability and devastating illness; between devastating illness and homelessness.

It has been awhile since I have written anything for my own blog but I am inspired today to take time from grading papers and finishing my fall quarter to share something that has touched me deeply and renewed my energy and commitment to fight for treatment, understanding and elimination of stigma surrounding mental illnesses. I volunteer with a group of amazing people for the national organization, The Balanced Mind. Together we respond to cries for help from family members from around the country who are struggling with a new or critical diagnosis of a mental illness in their child or adolescent. One of the volunteers recently lost her father. I took eight minutes and watched the video that Jamey shared on the memorial website for her father. It reminds me once again how mental illness can destroy a person and have sad, painful repurcussions to family and friends that linger for years. It reminds me how thin of a line there is for all of us between stability and devastating illness; between devastating illness and homelessness. 

Jamey writes of her father, "My father was a loving, caring man full of charisma and charm....As a child I remember how supportive he was with anything I wanted to do or try." 

She goes on to write, " No matter how hard he tried he could not get away from the clutches of his illness, which fueled his addiction. Slowly he lost everything, destroying his life in the process. He went from owning a successful construction company with a loving family to be being homeless, jobless, lonely and penniless. He was a shell of the man he once was."

Peace and love to Jamey and her family.

"He was a beloved father, grandfather, husband, brother and uncle" (Jamey).

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