Mary was a seemingly normal teenage girl with hopes, dreams and ambitions, but while attending Evanston Township High School, life turned south for Mary and her family. What seemed like normal teenage behavior quickly became a nightmare. Mary was soon diagnosed with a severe form of bipolar disorder with a schizoaffective component. She heard voices, saw things that were not there, and had fears that seemed irrational. Despair began to set in.
With her mother’s help, she began the tortuous journey through the health system, finding some therapists helpful and others not so much. She took a year off between high school and college, during which things seemed to settle. In college Mary made the Dean’s List and some good friends along the way. She spent her junior year abroad in Edinburgh, took trips to Barcelona, Egypt, Greece, and even rafted down the Nile River. Life was going good!
After graduating college, she married and life seemed full of love and fun. Despite the good times, there was a dark cloud looming. Because of all her physical and mental problems —- the bipolar, anxiety, migraines, lost teeth, back pain, neuropathy, stomach sensitivity, food allergies, sleep difficulties and temporal lobe seizures, she was on a great deal of medication. The medications began to take a toll on her body and liver.
On May 15, 2017, Mary’s struggle with her mental health problems ended as they laid her to rest.
Through these years, Mary’s mother, Julie, credits NAMI’s Family to Family program for assisting her and her family navigate the complexities of life that were presented by Mary’s condition. “My Family to Family teachers were sympathetic, knowledgeable and gave me illuminating information,” she says. “I still am connected with people I met in the class who reassured me that I was not alone.”
“I am so grateful that I called NAMI CCNS,” she continues. “I wish for a world in which there is compassionate care available for all those who suffer the pain and turmoil of mental illness.”
If you or a loved one are struggling through a mental health issue, don’t hesitate to contact us. NAMI CCNS is here for you!
This year has been an amazing year here at NAMI CCNS. It’s because of people like you that NAMI CCNS exists. If you have benefited from our services or know someone who could, please share this article and donate below.