A Quote From Candice's Parents

A quest for an understanding of mental illness as deep as the roots of an oak tree; and a desire to develop connections as strong as it's branches.

Friday, July 17, 2009

All Things Mental Illness; a famlies' pain

This blog is about mental Illness and the decision to write this blog came from our personal family experience with mental illness. Our first experience came when our youngest daughter was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in August of 2008, at the time of the diagnosis she was 17. Since that August our families' life has been a series of highs and lows. To say that we have been through hell and back has been an understatement. Nothing we had ever read, heard, or watched through movie or television could have ever prepared us for what we were about to go through. We have never been in close company with anyone who has Schizophrenia. As her mother, the closest experience to our current circumstance was my marriage to my first husband. As is usually the case in a young marriage, it is most often not a good match, so of course it did not last. The biological father of my children was chemically dependant and suffered from mental illness. It would turn out to be a battle he was never able to overcome. He did eventually did from his addictions and illness, he is now in a better place. The marriage lasted for six years, during which we attended counseling from many different sources. We attended A.A., N.A.,private counseling, church counseling, and he was in rehab also. After numerous attempts through the years to assist him in recovery and healing, I ended the marriage with the decision to move forward with my life out of parental obligation. I see many parallels between the father of my children and my youngest daughter. I can not say definitely, that her schizophrenia is inherited from her father, as he was estranged from all but two of his natural family members, a younger sister and a half brother. I lost contact with his family making tracing her medical family near impossible. One factor to point out is, as is usually the case, with an individual struggling with schizophrenia, his behavior did not a dramatic change for the worse until the birth of our first child, our son. I do not recall a time when he was not stoned or high on Cocaine, LSD, marijuana, alcohol or some other form of substance, so one would not know for sure the source of his hallucinations. Once he went on a binge of some sort of substance he would disappear and assessment of his state of health non-existent. He was always caught up in a vicious cycle with his mental illness, making employment extremely difficult. Maintaining health insurance and having an accurate diagnosis and treatment was impossible. I can say that going back generations, on both my father' and mothers' side of the family, there is no history schizophrenia or serious mental illness. I do know there are a lot of symptoms that he had, she displays as well. To say all of her family was astonished by her symptoms and diagnosis, would be minimizing our responses. I guess in the big picture, it really does not have a profound effect effect on her treatment to know the source of her illness. What really does matter is that we all do all we can to help her recover. This blog is in no way an attempt to exploit our daughter or anyone else who suffers from mental illness. This blog is a way to reach out to others who share our pain and exchange ideas and advise. Hopefully, through this we blog we all can heal.
Footnote: I apologize for any inconvenience that may have occurred as this blog was under maintenance in the last 24hrs.


  1. Really do appreciate what you are doing with this blog

    The impact of men's mental health on their families is so strong. I know when I first went down with problems I was very reluctant to seek help, and it was very tough on my wife and kids. Fortunately I went to seek help in time, and am now on regular medication which has kept the family together and well.

    Men’s mental distress is a hidden problem. The image of the tough, resilient male who hides emotion is deeply ingrained in society and can affect how men seek help for mental health problems. For instance, men are much less likely than women to want to speak to a counselor about their problems. Men need mental health services designed to take these tendencies into account.

    Although the UK's Department of Health has published a mental health strategy for women, there is no equivalent for men. Such a strategy is desperately needed and should recognise how mental health problems affect men in particular.

    As the recession deepens, it is now more important than ever to ensure that men are given the support that they need.

  2. As a mother with a son with Bipolar and ADD I understand what Melissa is going through and also agree with businesswithattitude response to mental health problems and how they affect men. I appreciate what Melissa is doing to try and help us as parents to try and get the proper help for our children, to understand their illness and to help society understand that mental health should be treated as a disease and not judged as something that people have control over. Thank you Melissa and best luck to Candice, I love you. Belinda

  3. Bless you and your daughter. I am the mom of a 25 year old paranoid schizophrenic woman. Woman? Yes, I suppose she is, isn't she? Right now, she in San Francisco County Jail, awaiting transfer to one of the state's mental facilities, a locked unit. Her schizophrenia popped up when she was 17, too. In her senior year of high school which is a "gifted" high school. She is highly intelligent, and a highly gifted artist. A gorgeous child and young woman, you wouldn't recognize her now as she's gone way down. But! I know who and what she is; I'm her mom. You don't say where you are; at least I didn't notice it. I hope she's cooperating with her meds and any treatment. Mine is not as she's very delusional right now. Early treatment is critical. Here in California, when they become "adults" a parent can no longer do anything and they're at the mercy of the medical arena. Unfortunately, my experience here has been abysmal. Much hope going your way! Keep on posting!

  4. I am a nurse who has worked in the psychiatric & drug rebab areas for many years. I have seen firsthand how mental illess degrades a person. The medications have so many disasterous side effects that they are almost as bad as the disease. The fact that drug use, including nicotine, & mental illness often go hand in hand is an generally an effort by the patients to find some relief from their symptoms. Financially, mental illness & drug use will break even financially secure families' resoures. Many families cut off their relationships with the patients (don't judge them, there's 3 sides to every story, your's, mine, & the truth). It is a heartbreaking situation to live with!

  5. In the UK we have a major campaign going on called "Time to Change" http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/timetochange?ref=search - also on twitter @TimetoChange - which tries to address the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health.

    Mental health affects all of us – so we can all do something to help break down the stigma that surrounds it and help create a society where mental health problems are not hidden in shame and secrecy. We can then deal with it effectively as families, mothers, fatheers, children and society at large.

    Many people who experience mental health problems are unsure what to do or where to turn, and many are afraid to talk about their problems.

    It does take courage for those of us in the middle of it to stand up and be counted but it is so needed.


Free or discounted medication:


I trust if you are reading this blog you or someone you know is living with mental illness. It is a very important and integral part of healing to work together with medical professionals on a treatment plan and to take the prescribed medication. It is the opinion of some individuals that success can be found in alternative treatments, i.e. hypnosis or acupuncture, however it is only advisable if integrated with traditional westernized medicine. With today's rising health cost and the state of the economy, receiving adequate health care can be a challenge. Additionally, individuals with mental with mental illness can find it difficult to maintain employment thus making health care difficult or impossible. Below I have included a list of resources for free or discounted medication. I hope you find these resources helpful and wish you all the best of luck on your path to healing and wellness.

Free Prescription Drugs
Free Medicine from 270+ Programs For Low Income, Uninsured Under 65 - http://www.scbn.org/

Patient Assistance Programs
Join the millions of people who are receiving Free Prescription Meds. - http://freemedicinefoundation.com/

Save on ADHD Treatment
Receive up to $50 off an approved ADHD treatment for your child.- http://www.vyvanse.com/

Free Drug Card -USA
Save up to 75%, no fees, download card online. As seen in USA Today. - http://www.freedrugcard.us/

Prescription AssistanceOver 1400 medications available Annual income under $42k to qualify - http://www.myrxadvocate.com

MORE INFORMATION: Try switching your prescriptions to generics that are covered by the WalMart/Target/Walgreens programs. There are always generics that aren't in the covered lists. If you do encounter a prescription not, covered try using a mail-order company. Xubex is a great resource and additionally is much less expensive than buying some generics at pharmacy cost. For example, you won't find Zolpidem, genereic Ambien on any of the pharmacy $5 lists, because it's a controlled substance. Xubex has it on their 90 days for $30 list. A substantial savings that beats out any pharmacy. I am sure you would be surprised to find out that Xubex offers a free 30 day supply of your medication. The catch, you ask? To get you to try Xubex's prescription service. Their list of medications that are covered is extensive. One element to using mail order that is a minor draw back is that it can take two weeks to receive your prescription, so please prepare accordingly. One last resource not to be overlooked is to apply directly to the drug companies, Astra-Zeneca and Glaxo.
If you have any information that might be helpful to some who is sharing the same challenge, please post a comment to this blog.

Trusted resources on mental illness:


About NAMI: Support, Education, Advocacy, and Research
From its inception in 1979, NAMI has been dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness.
For three decades, NAMI has established itself as the most formidable grassroots mental health advocacy organization in the country. Dedication, steadfast commitment and unceasing belief in NAMI's mission by grassroots advocates have produced profound changes. NAMI's greatest strength is the dedication of our grassroots leaders and members. We are the families, friends and individuals that serve to strengthen communities across the country.


About NIMH
NIMH Vision
NIMH envisions a world in which mental illnesses are prevented and cured.
NIMH Mission
The mission of NIMH is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery and cure.
For the Institute to continue fulfilling this vital public health mission, it must foster innovative thinking and ensure that a full array of novel scientific perspectives are used to further discovery in the evolving science of brain, behavior, and experience. In this way, breakthroughs in science can become breakthroughs for all people with mental illnesses.

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The purpose of this blog is muti-faceted. It serves to share and express our emotions. To inform and to educate, and to be educated. Also, to fund our daughters' care, be it medical or basic. We are paid by our advertisers as you take the time to read their very important messages. Additionally, you are enabling us to provide quality care while continuing to keep her living in the safety of her home, as her physician works to find the right balance with her treatment. We graciously thank you for helping us achieve our goal.