• advertisement

Our Mental Health Blogs

Mothering With an Invisible Mental Illness

Mothering With an Invisible Mental Illness

Mothers living with an invisible mental illness struggle to perform our duties. But you can't see that we're fighting a disability. I wish you could. Read this.

Mothering with an invisible mental illness is challenging. I know you couldn’t see my mental illness when you were sitting next to me at “back to school” night. You couldn’t see the bipolar medications I swallow twice a day or the 14 years of therapy that have equipped me to behave so normally. You can’t see my bipolar 1 disorder, but sometimes I wish you could. I’m mothering with an invisible mental illness. 

Continue reading

Concerned Parent? or Heartless Dictator Over Schizophrenia?

Concerned Parent? or Heartless Dictator Over Schizophrenia?

Two things happened last month that stirred me to revisit an often-examined question:

Am I too involved in my adult son’s life (Ben has schizophrenia.)? Have I “stolen his manhood and his rights” by insisting on treatment for his schizophrenia?

One reminder came in the form of a reader’s book review on Amazon.com for Ben Behind His Voices, calling it a “Testament to Abuse of Power and Parental Authority,” the only one-star review in a sea of 5-star praise and gratitude. Clearly, a man with an agenda, so I didn’t take it too personally, but this is not the first time I’ve been called an over-involved parent. On the other hand, I’ve also been criticized by others for not “stopping” Ben from dropping out of high school, for “allowing” my son a period of homelessness in Idaho and “letting him fail” when he gained and then lost five different jobs after he returned.

Continue reading

Schizophrenia in the Family: Living in Hope

Schizophrenia in the Family: Living in Hope

If our story of schizophrenia hitting a family were made into a movie, here is where it might end: on the hopeful note of some dreams having come true, after challenges and crises too numerous to count. My adult son, Ben, is stable, taking his medication, able to participate in family functions, and actually working part-time as – of all things – a server in a restaurant where customers come in and ask to be seated in his section.

Continue reading

HIPAA Law: Psychiatric Disclosure Fact and Myth

HIPAA Law: Psychiatric Disclosure Fact and Myth

HIPAA law provisions allow healthcare providers and doctors to allow them to disclose mental illness information to parents of adults. Learn more about HIPAA..

I was on the Diane Rehm Show on NPR last week, discussing Congressman Murphy’s “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act,” Bill HR 3717, along with Congressman Murphy and Dr. Fuller Torrey of the Treatment Advocacy Center. I was booked as the opponent of the bill, which isn’t quite accurate. There are many parts of the bill I think are valuable.

Continue reading

Mental Illness and the Caregiver Double Standard

Mental Illness and the Caregiver Double Standard

Two weeks ago, I went back on antidepressants. I say “back” because I took them during a protracted period of depression several years ago, but weaned myself off of them after about six months because I didn’t think they were doing much for me. But two weeks ago, after weeks of urging by my husband and a close friend, I went back to my psychiatrist and he felt I should try an antidepressant. I am beginning to feel better, I must admit, and if I’m being honest with myself, I white-knuckled it through the winter and early spring, knowing I was in depression, and refusing to do anything about it other than hide and eat (food is my self-medication of choice). But I felt defeated, walking into the doctor’s office, as if I was a failure. So after putting on 25 pounds and crying every day for a month, I gave in and got myself some help.

Continue reading

Vigilance and Paranoia: Living with Mental Illness

Vigilance and Paranoia: Living with Mental Illness

We have two of our three children still living at home; Tim, 19, our son with schizoaffective disorder, and D, 18, our daughter with epilepsy and a serious case of senioritis. My husband, Tom, has been a stay-at-home dad to these two their entire lives, bless his heart. But during spring, he indulges his afternoons in a job that pays miserably but makes him happy; he coaches high school pole vault. This takes him out of the house after school five days a week, leaving Tim and D home alone between 3 and 6 pm.

Continue reading

Learning to Let Things Go When Parenting Mentally Ill Kids

Learning to Let Things Go When Parenting Mentally Ill Kids

The Easter weekend before Tim turned three, he got sick and we spent some quality time in an emergency room. My parents were visiting and while I was gone, my father, the neat freak, got restless and decided to vacuum my family room.  He moved a chair – the kind with the skirt around the bottom – and found almost every toy that Tim owned beneath it. He frowned and, according to my mother, uttered something judgmental, while collecting the toys and putting them away properly in the toy box in Tim’s room (Surviving Mental Illness in a Judgmental World).

Continue reading

About Chrisa Hickey, Author of Mental Illness in the Family Blog

About Chrisa Hickey, Author of Mental Illness in the Family Blog

I’m Chrisa Hickey, mom, wife, writer, and accidental children’s mental health advocate. I say “accidental” because I never intended my writing to be about childhood mental illness. But in 2009, after spending several months in therapy myself, trying to process raising a child with schizoaffective disorder, my doctor suggested I journal as a way to process the severe ups and downs our family was living through. Since I spend 40+ hours a week on the Internet as a full-time eCommerce professional, I started my journal as a blog.

Continue reading

Helping Me Understand My Son with Schizophrenia

Helping Me Understand My Son with Schizophrenia

Sometimes, the only way I get a sense of what my son, Ben, goes through as he hears voices and tries to process them is through his poetry and prose:

I feel like everybody is piecing together this huge puzzle and I was born with it already solved.  I guess that’s a post-life thing. But with me it’s always been about diving deeper.  Delving and diving in gray water depths instead of trying to pull that water up to your level where its shade is altered.  Its as a different sun shine in your in your world a mirror of a sort that you struggle to see for in refusing to see yourself in disacceptance you are condemned to see it everywhere you go on everyone else’s face….wow I am really showing myself now the strange level these “normal” people live on….hard it be to shatter these dreams of them so solidified by causality taken as righteousness. And the illusion of consciousness. – Ben, 2002

But today I got a different perspective, thanks to my guest blogger, Katherine Walters, who, like Ben, has schizophrenia – but with more insight into it.

Continue reading

Funding Mental Health: “The System Failed My Son”

Funding Mental Health: “The System Failed My Son”

Recently, Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds spoke to Anderson Cooper at CNN and to 60 minutes about a family tragedy that, sadly, could have been avoided. In Deeds’ words “the system failed my son.”

I know how he feels – except that, luckily, my son is still alive. So far.

The truth is that, despite the fact that Ben has “case management” from the state, they have to do very little to help Ben, or us. They are overworked, underfunded, and all too glad to have us take the “burden” from their shoulders. But – what would happen to Ben if anything were to happen to us?

How Does the Mental Health System Fail?

Those with mental illness, and their families, need more support. Much more.

Let’s go back to Senator Deeds. According to CNN,

Continue reading


Follow Us

  • advertisement

in Mental Illness in the Family Comments

Mental Health Newsletter

Sign up for the HealthyPlace mental health newsletter for latest news, articles, events.

Mental Health
Newsletter Subscribe Now!

Mental Health Newsletter

Sign up for the HealthyPlace mental health newsletter for latest news, articles, events.

Log in

Login to your account

Username *
Password *
Remember Me