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Want to know how your donation helps? Read this from one of our NAMI Mommies:
“We generally look forward to the holidays as a special time when family and friends gather. It always seems to be a time when we treat each other just a little more gently. Holiday lights and music seem to set the tone for joy and glad tidings. We forgive and forget and look forward to a new year.
When you are a family member, friend, or caregiver of a loved one with mental illness, things may be a little different. I hope your loved one is in a good place, is insightful about his or her illness, follows a treatment plan, lives independently or happily at home, and perhaps has a job that they like and can do well. That is my humble wish and prayer of hope for you.
But sometimes, the lives of our loved ones may go awry. Today, my loved one is not insightful, does not follow a treatment plan, is homeless and is unable to work. She has been ill for almost 20 years and has not seen her son in almost a decade. I think about her every day of my life. It is miraculous that she has survived the ups and downs of more than 30 hospitalizations, jail, group homes, and things about which I can only imagine. It is a lot to deal with. The weight of the situation can make your soul weary.
What can you do? Well, you do what you can when you can for your loved one. You never give up hope. And maybe you do what I did.
I reached out to NAMI, first in Los Angeles, California and then in Columbus, Ohio. I don’t remember how I found Family-to-Family, but that course saved my life. Before NAMI I hadn’t known where to turn or how to handle my feelings as I stood helpless watching my loved one descend into mental illness. NAMI kept me going. It made me want to help others. I became an advocate, a Family-to-Family teacher and support group leader. Now, I do whatever I can to help families gain a better understanding of mental illness and stigma and how they can champion advocacy.”