Recovery In Action | Spring 2019
Trauma is damaging and life changing. I do not remember a lot from my childhood, most of those memories have been unconsciously blocked, hidden and buried deep.
My mother left her very religious family when she became involved with my biological father and pregnant with me. He was an abusive drug dealer and addict so luckily that relationship ended.
When I was 3 years old she married the man who would raise me and be my Dad. He was a truck driver and gone on the road a lot but when he was home, life was very different! He was controlling, strict, and physically abusive. My mother has struggled with her own trauma and mental health alone, and did the best she could.
“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light”
– Madeleine L’Engle
My Father’s Daughter
By Julie Hart
I tell you what: I have never felt more marginalized than I do now that I have begun to live my life out loud as a person living with bipolar disorder.
It is for this reason that I now have a warrior cry of “mental skillness,” a roundhouse to kick down walls of stigma and a dancer’s posture so that I might be graceful as I move forward in advocacy. But it seems to me before I invite you to jump on my parade float I may want to tell (and you may want to hear) the beginning of my story.
I rejoice in the present moment, joyous and free.
I relax and let life flow through me with ease.
I am the creative power in my world.
I rejoice in my own expression of life.
I am perfect just as I am.
I love and approve of myself.
Affirmations shared from Louise Hay, You Can Heal Your Life.
My Mother’s Keeper
By Tara Elgin Holley with Joe Holley
This book is an amazing story about the life of a young woman, Tara, whose mother develops schizophrenia shortly after Tara’s birth. Tara lives with her grandparents for awhile, then with her strict great-great- aunt, who beats her so she will not become like her mother.
When Tara gets old enough to be on her own, she tries to rescue her mother (Dawn) from the illness. But Dawn refuses to take her medications, preferring to live on the streets than be in a hospital or group home.
Finally, Dawn gets on the medication clozapine (Clozaril) and is beginning to get much better when some serious health problems force her to be taken off this promising new drug.
Tara marries Joe Holley and becomes a mother herself, first to Pete and then, six years later, to Kate. She understands how strong a mother’s love is and feels like her longing for her own mommy is finally fulfilled.
I found this book compelling and I think it would resonate with caretakers of those with severe mental illness. It might also be helpful to those with schizophrenia because they can identify with Dawn and all the struggles and losses she experiences. I certainly could. I think that if I hadn’t had schizophrenia, I might have been a great writer, a mother …who knows? But anyway, God knows best. I hope many people will read this book and benefit from knowing they are not alone in their struggle with mental disorders, within themselves or their loved ones.
“I did what I knew
…when I knew better,
I did better”
– Maya Angelou
- Get Hooked Into Local Support with National Alliance on Mental Illness – Western Slope or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Colorado Health Partnership has a very informative website. The website is primarily for Medicaid members, but non Medicaid individuals can access a vast amount of information including over thousands of articles on health and mental health issues.
- The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance website is a great place to start. You can spend days browsing its wellness guides, support resources like Facing Us Clubhouse, a wellness toolbox, mood management tools, and even online support groups. Yes, you can talk to other peers via their website.
- SAMHSA’s National Center for Trauma-Informed Care (NCTIC) is a technical assistance center dedicated to building awareness of trauma-informed care and promoting the implementation of trauma-informed practices in programs and services.
- Recovery website with lots of information www.recoveryhope4all.com.
- Voices4Hope is a place for teenagers and young adults with mental health conditions to find resources and stigma busting information.
- A web site for those who hear voices www.hearingvoicesusa.org
- Colorado Health Partnerships/Achieve solutions. Whether you need help finding services, a life event or want to assess your concerns, you will find this website very helpful.