Dear Friends who I know “get it,”
I am writing you because I know, or at least hopefully guess, that you get it that mental illness is suffering that arises in the brain due to no fault of the one who suffers from it, or of their families. And also, if you don’t already know about the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) I am trusting when you do hear more about NAMI that may want to support our work of education, support and advocacy for folks like me and our families and loved ones.
Hard to believe the 2022 NAMI Walk is coming so quickly, Saturday May 7. And I’m delighted to say it will be live and in person, at Terry Trueblood Park. There may be some folks who will also participate online, posting on social media.
The next day will be Mother’s Day. I will be remembering the love of my mother who passed away in 1998 at age 77. She was a fierce lion advocate for me. I only wish she and my father could have found NAMI in Maryland when I had onset of mental health challenges as a young adult in the ‘80s. My mother had it harder because my earliest psychiatrists blamed her for my illness. The medical word for it is “schizophrenogenic mother.” I remember hearing from one of the brave women who founded NAMI in the 1970. Her doctors said she caused her son’s mental illness by passing toxins through her breast milk. Using humor to fight back against this ridiculous idea, she said, “You can call me Buttermilk Boob if you want, but I did NOT cause his illness.”
I also am remembering my father’s persistent love and prayers for me. He visited me in the hospital and brought the Sunday comics from the Washington Post, which he read out loud to me because my psych meds blurred my eyesight. He would always laugh a deep belly laugh long before the punch line.
Where am I now in 2022? I am living and thriving in retirement after almost 36 years of service as a medical secretary at University Hospitals. My creative writing is bubbling up in me. I feel like a well-watered garden.
And where is NAMI? NAMI started as a small group of families gathered around a kitchen table in 1979 and has blossomed into the nation’s leading voice on mental health. NAMI Johnson County, our local affiliate, is thriving despite challenges of pandemic. R Place, our Peer Wellness Center, continued to provide signature programs, such as Peer to Peer and Connection Support groups via zoom, and now is hybrid, offering both online and in person services. Families find hope through Family-to-Family class and a Family Support group.
Now is the hard part. I feel very awkward asking anyone to give money to any cause in this time of economic hardship for so many. I’ve learned the hard way that I can’t give to all the heart songs my heart wants to sing. I don’t want anyone to give anything that would cause them to sacrifice their own health and well-being. If those of you who have given generously in the past would chose to give much less, I would be so pleased and so understanding.
Thank you for listening. Thank you for “getting it.”
If you do choose to give, you can either get a check to me made out to NAMIJC, or you can give online through my NAMI Walks page. [View]
If you cannot give at this time, no worries! I get it!
Below is a video about the NAMI Walk.