Remembering Mother’s Day

Three generations. 15 years ago.  Sandwiched between my mother and my daughter, I am grateful for this moment in time.  We were in accord.  This picture depicts the success of our attempts to rewrite the family narrative to one which sees independent, capable women.  

Times change.  My mother passed away.  My daughter is fully grown, living her life.  Mother’s Day, like birthdays, are anniversaries.  They recall times of joy and times of sorrow.  I have taught myself, with the guidance of others, to make these anniversaries into mindful moments.  I plan for them.  I think about some way to honor the relationships, to remember, to celebrate, and to appreciate my role.  

As family members who have been uprooted by the brain disorders of loved ones, it is especially important for us, and our families, to honor our roles, our changes, and our loves.  Treat yourselves well.

Less is More! Spring Cleaning Idea

Imagine a life with less: Less stress, less debt, less clutter. If you have an extra car, truck or other vehicle that gives you less than you deserve—donate it to Grow a Strong Family! With free pick-up and an easy process, you’ll be able to turn one less car into a lot more space, sanity, and support for the cause you care about. Call 855-500-7433 or visit https://careasy.org/nonprofit/grow-a-strong-family–inc.

March Newsletter

We have created booklets now available on amazon!  Visit our author page on amazon to see the booklets available for purchase!  https://www.amazon.com/author/marabriere

Don’t forget to leave comments!  We would love to hear your thoughts.

We have also participated in a new Bedford TV Cable Show (can be found on YouTube) called, “Neighbors to Know.”  It is a marvelous program which is anchored by the very talented Jennifer Puhle.  “Many people define themselves by the awards they’ve won. We invite you to learn the amazing things your neighbors are up to, no trophy required.”  Jennifer finds guests who “do good” with vision, passion, and ability. She has a Facebook page which invites more “real time” connection: (https://www.facebook.com/NeighborstoknowMA/).

Our interview can also be found on our blog:  https://growastrongfamily.org/a-neighbor-to-know/

PBS FRONTLINE steamed a documentary called, “Right to Fail.”  It can be found here: Right to Fail is online now at pbs.org/frontline. As is said on the website, “Thousands of New Yorkers with severe mental illnesses won the chance to live independently in supported housing, following a 2014 federal court order. FRONTLINE and ProPublica investigate what’s happened to people moved from adult homes into apartments and find more than two dozen cases in which the system failed, sometimes with deadly consequences.”

WE all know that the mental health system is very broken.  The services delivered are few and far between, and families are left adrift, trying to get services and benefits, to keep their loved ones alive, off the streets, and with the “right to thrive.”  The psychiatric “colonies,” as they were once called, where tens of thousands of individuals with serious mental illnesses were housed, came to a stop in the late 1970’s.  Individuals were then placed in rooming houses, cheap hotels, and the street.  The community was not yet ready or prepared to meet the needs of this wave of sick people.  In the late 1970’s, the colonies became shelters for the homeless mentally ill, as they were called, and many of the previous residents returned.  Unfortunately, the community response that was expected never materialized.  Today, the prisons have become the institution of choice.  We have to do better.  Watch this documentary and take from it what you can to create a “right to thrive,” instead of the “right to fail.”

New Resources

I subscribe to several groups that offer a wide variety of additional resources as families walk this journey of adjusting to chronic mental illness in a loved one. There is a new blog developed by a mother who bravely shares her journey since learning that her son has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia (since 2017). The link to her blog: https://theshatteredpath.net/blog

On Facebook, in addition to our closed support group, there is another closed support group that welcomes families who care for loved ones with mental illnesses called “Families For Care Support Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1384004078381511/

Finally, another blog that is filled with great information is written by author and advocate, Pete Earley. He has also been a journalist with the Washington Post and he has written over 17 best-selling books that are compelling for their honesty and facts. http://www.peteearley.com/