“Ben is so lucky to have you.”
I hear that a lot, from healthcare providers who often don’t even know the families of those they treat and from PAMIs (People Affected by Mental Illness) who usually add one of three things:
- their family has given up on them – and they grieve the loss
- their family has somehow made their recovery more difficult and they are glad to have broken free from them, or
- their family has been a major part of their desire to stabilize, and they are so grateful for the love and support.
One of the most validating things I heard at the NAMI National Convention was this, from the producer of a photo collection called 99Faces Project: that a UCLA psychiatrist was quoted as saying that the most important common link among those in successful recovery was this: someone who loved them anyway, and walked alongside them on the journey.
I plan to be that for my son, carefully balancing, as much as possible, the letting go with the support when needed. That is a tough balance to achieve, but the success is in the desire to do so. This is Ben’s journey, not mine, but I do always want him to feel our love.