What happens after your loved one is faced with a mental health diagnosis? The time in between treatments can be long but feel endless? Do you go home and carry on as though nothing has changed? Do you find yourself paralyzed and unable to figure out how to comfort the one who is suffering or yourself? This is the black hole that families discover in the most unimaginable of circumstances. A mental illness diagnosis affects the whole family not just an individual.
Mental Health Support Groups
The medical profession has a playlist that serves a very specific purpose. Away from the hospital and far from therapy, support is needed more than anyone could know. Except there are people who do know how to support the family through the black hole experience. A NAMI volunteer teacher has been there. They know what the black hole feels like and they know that when you encounter it, your reaction may be different from theirs. That is what makes the NAMI Family to Family Support Group and parent support classes and groups so important. Having experience with a mental health condition provides a perspective of insight and empathy that is unmatched. There is little need to try to explain the pain and suffering. Sometimes there are no words needed when there is an abundance of understanding. These are the problems with the mental health care system.
Mental Health Volunteers
Our volunteer teachers have training in evidence-based research but also know how to translate that into unique support for family members. I offer a poem from Merrit Malloy to illustrate this powerful interaction.
― Merrit Malloy, The People Who Didn’t Say Goodbye
There are people who cannot say good-bye
They are born this way/this is how they die
They are the keepers of promises/what moves them does not wear out
Their loyalty will tear apart your clocks
These are the people who can hear the music in songs
They are the Vow carriers
The grandmothers who always leave the porchlight on
No one is lost to the one who sees
These are the women widowed by men they never married
These are the girls who wait even when you don’t come
These are the mothers of orphans/They can turn a fake into an original
They will hear the prayer in your self-contempt
As distance is measured/people do not end
It is one of those stories that cannot be written down except across a lifetime of open doors
There is a holding on beyond the letting go
There is a reunion in everybody’s chest
This is how we come to make a family from strangers
This is how we light candles
These are people who will remember you when you meet them
These are the people you can always call at night
They are humans turned angels by your asking
With each separation they go to seed again.
These are the men who carried you on their shoulders
This is the one your are lonely for
the one who begins and ends your hunger
This is the man who said “Always”
There is something that does not wear out
It is the third part of any two people who join
It opens and closes
There are people who are alone who are not apart
This is why we listen to the madman when he speaks
People change but they do not stop
This is how we learn “Forever”
There are people you can count on/They are the keepers of promises
They are candles lit from each other
They can teach us eternity
We can get what we can give/This is the instruction
There are people who do not say goodbye
As distance is measured
You are one of them
If you or a loved one are suffering from a mental health issue and have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, we would love to walk with you! Please feel free to inquire about any of our free programs! Call: 847-716-2252
All of our programs are free because of support and donations from people like you. If you would like to support NAMI CCNS with a donation, click here.
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