Category Archives: bipolar disease

Fantastic Review for Approaching Neverland

“The World’s Toughest Book Critic” recently lauded Approaching Neverland as “A captivating memoir of love, loss, mental illness and redemption.” – Kirkus Reviews
Read the full review

Let’s Go Back

Let’s go back to when Joan and I were 12 and 9, halfway to ten. A boy from school — kind of a thug who was bigger than the rest of the boys in Joan’s class because he’d been held back — had a crush on her and followed her home from school. Although Joan could hold her own around girls, exhibiting a devil-may-care attitude that made them envious, boys — especially big boys with loud voices like this one — made Joan watchful and quiet.

I watched from the living room window as Joan avoided the boy around the spherical juniper bush until he grabbed her sleeve and pulled her close to kiss her. When she screamed, I dashed out the front door and rammed head first into the boy’s side.

He turned, enraged. “Who do you think you are, you little twit?” he asked derisively. Joan wiped away a tear.

“Leave my sister alone!” I screamed, face flushed, taking s step back as I raised my fists. Joan laughed.

“You’re both crazy like your mom,” he sneered before spitting into the juniper and sauntering away.

Although Joan put her hand over her mouth as we walked toward the front porch, I could see the smile beneath it.

Now let’s move forward.

NNAMI’s Great Tips for Parents

Just found a great Australian site — National Network of Adult & Adolescent Children of Mentally Ill Parents — with super advice (see below). The site also features a great downloadable Family Management Crisis Plan.

http://www.nnaami.org

Tips for Parents with a mental illness for managing life with Children and Young people.

  • Be honest with you kids.
  • Let them know when you are feeling stressed.
  • Talk to them about what you can and can’t do.
  • Don’t wrap your kids up in cotton wool. (Hav to admit I’m a little in the dark about the cotton wool advice — pk).
  • Let them do ‘kids things’ within reason, let them go to birthday parties and to the pool to the gym.
  • Let them go to youth groups, sporting activities, church, religious activities.
  • Don’t be over protective.
  • Because when you are really unwell these positive experiences from these things can pay off.
  • Let them talk to friends and develop friendships in these activities; you have to let them be part of their community.
  • Keep well by taking your medication, have regular contact with your psychiatrist.
  • Give your kids positive reinforcement.
  • Tell them they have done a good job when they have done the washing up or the vacuuming or a task that you appreciate.
  • Tell them that you love them, unconditionally, as often as you can.
  • Does not matter what they do (your kids), good or bad, tell them that you love them.

20% of Approaching Neverland to NAMI!

In honor of Mother’s Day and my wonderful mother Barbara who had acute bipolar disorder, if you buy a copy of Approaching Neverland now thru May 31, 20% will go to NAMI Walk SF Bay Area to help other families dealing with mental illness!

Mental Health Parity in Health Bill

The Health Care bill signed into law today should help to improve the lives of individuals and families dealing with loved ones with mental illness. One important thing about the bill is that it requires mental health parity with that for physical illnesses in terms of annual and lifetime treatment benefits.  This would also require “carve-out” programs, or specialized managed care organizations that provide mental health services, to comply with parity requirements.  I’m hoping this makes a big difference in quality of life for the one in four families dealing with mental health issues.

Alamo Rotary Approaching Neverland

There’s nothing better than talking to a group of people who get together for the sole purpose of doing good things for their community.
I had the great pleasure of talking about families dealing with mental illness with the Alamo Rotary this afternoon. My hope is that organizations like Rotary will help spread the word to families in their communities who are struggling with with mental illness that help is available through organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which provides a crises help line, education, and family-to-family training in a supportive environment.

A Happier New Year through NAMI

Does your family need help with a family member suffering from a mental illness?

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) can help your family get through your family’s mental health crises and live happier this year.

* Information Helpline
Trained volunteers provide information, referrals, and support to all who have questions about or are affected by serious mental illness. Call 1-800-950-NAMI.

Visit www.nami.org to find your local chapter.

Watch this blog for more information about NAMI services and build a happier new year for yourself and your family.