I had the immense pleasure this weekend of having dinner with several folks of BringChange2Mind. They’ve all changed my life – our family’s lives – in some way.
The CABF team helped pull us out of the fear and confusion we felt when Tim was first diagnosed. Susan Resko, Executive Director of CABF – without Susan, we would never have known about the Illinois ICG that helped us get Tim into residential treatment. Joan, CABF volunteer extraordanaire, who helped us and continues to help so many other parents on the discussion boards. Nanci Schiman, who tirelessly works for all CABF parents and kids, and has become a good friend. I appreciate these women in more ways than I can express.
The new friends I’ve met via BC2M stand beside me, working to educate the world and support the community of families impacted by mental illness. Cinda and Linea Johnson, the mother and daughter team who fell into the abyss and came out the other side dedicated to serving others with compassion and understanding. Eric Sutcliffe, the man behind the BC2M campaign that brought us all together and engaged me with his humor and warmth. Jessie Close and her son Calen – I don’t know that words can adequately express my gratitude to them. Their willingness to stand up and say, “I have a mental illness, and I’m not ashamed of it. It doesn’t define me,” is the example of strength of character that gives me the strength to write a blog with my real name, and my son’s real name, talking about our story.
Calen, meeting you, such a composed, friendly, focused young man who just happens to have Schizoaffective Disorder, gives me hope for Tim’s future. My memories of meeting you will help get me through the days I doubt. Hope is more tangible for me now. I’m forever grateful.
I am glad that you found this support group. I would appreciate your input on my blog if you feel so inclined. My daughter is mentally ill and has drug problems.
I have tried a 12 step and tough love approach. Now, I am trying a harm reduction approach. I value your opinion as you have never given up in spite of so much chaos caused by the mental illness.
In any event, I wish you the best of luck. You are brave, strong and persistent!