Knowing how to help a family member with mental illness requires knowledge about the mental illness, the mental health system, and insight into your family member's personal situation. Last night, I received another e-mail cry for help from a reader. "I began reading "Ben Behind his Voices" last night and have barely put it down. Our son seems to be following Ben's track. We don't know what to do. Any suggestions?" I wish I had all the answers.
I just finished reading another mother's memoir about her son's schizophrenia called This Stranger, My Son. I'd not heard of this one until a media producer I was working for (as voice talent) suggested I read it. Evidently she had read it in high school, years ago, and it has stayed with her ever since.
So many kind readers have written to me about Ben Behind His Voices and have expressed gratitude not only for the way we share our story, but for the resources included as the drama unfolds. These letters have reinforced the fact that so many are still confused about how to navigate the symptoms, the rules, the systems we encounter when mental illness affects the family. I am among the confused, still. It seems there is always more to learn. (insert sigh here) Enter this book, by Paul Komarek and Andrea Schroer: Defying Mental Illness: Finding Recovery with Community Resources and Family Support