FSB Author Article
A Mother with a Seriously Mentally Ill Child
By Millicent Monks,
Author of Songs of Three Islands: A Story of Mental Illness in an Iconic American Family
So often, when there is a seriously mentally ill son or daughter a danger to himself or herself and others, there is often a divorce and the mother is living alone. Recently, a mother in our town got a call from the police at about 11 o'clock at night. "Your son says he is coming over to kill you."
She went immediately to a local Inn and I was left wondering how does she manage the next night and the night after wondering where he is . . . in jail, stealing, sleeping in cars or shelters, plotting his revenge against those who have harmed him all his live (including his mother). "It is agonizing for him and excruciating for us," was her reply.
So many of these stories do not end well. We need to face the fact that we are in the dark ages around mental illness. About three weeks ago, before the above incident, the first page of our local newspaper read that a son had just killed his mother. This to me is an an unnecessary death and speaks loudly and clearly for the tragic situation mental illness is in. By not caring properly for the mentally ill we lose lives of those who are ill and those who are hurt by it. In the end I would guess the cost is far more expensive in every way than if it was properly funded.
What is the answer, who is even asking the question?
Why do we read in the paper that a young man shot and killed children in a school, people in a theatre were killed and a mentally ill person shot at a congress woman? Sometimes I wonder if the reaction is the gun did it. I don't remember hearing a call out there for better care for the seriously mentally ill, that they should not be out on the streets because there are no funds from the government and our institutions that could help enough. Have we even had a question out there, is it right how we are treating i.e. helping those with mental illness?
Are we turning a blind eye to the damage and pain and financial burden; broken marriages and of the tremendous and constant burden on mothers? Although President Obama has recently spoken out, June 03, 2013, on the need to end the stigma around mental illness, I cannot help but feel sometimes if the proper funds went to mental illness it may help reduce the stigma. "Brain disorders and brain related affliction represent one of the greatest global disease burdens in terms of human suffering and economic cost. In the U.S. and the E. U. alone the estimated cost is nearly $2 trillion each year. The price of human suffering is immeasurable and in too many cases horrific."*
My hope would be that in some way at some time soon mother would start to speak out having organized all over the country. It would be a great gift to so many families and to this country.
*Garin & Shari Staglin, "The Mind for Research"
© 2013 Millicent Monks, author of Songs of Three Islands: A Story of Mental Illness in an Iconic American Family
Millicent Monks, author of Songs of Three Islands: A Story of Mental Illness in an Iconic American Family, was born into the legendary Carnegie family, in which serious mental illness has affected four generations of women. Mental illness has played a prominent and overwhelming part in her life. Her search for answers led her to Jungian analysis, meditation and sutras, which have helped her to find a delicate peace amid the devastating mental illness in her family. She shares her story in the hopes that it will help other families.
"If I can do something worthwhile to help people with children who are mentally ill," says Monks, "I would think that was something worth accomplishing in my life."