|Sharing Hope: Understanding Mental Health|
|NAMI en Español|
|Update: News, Events and Featured Resources|
|Teens and Young Adults|
|NAMI on Campus|
|Daughters and Sons|
|GLBT Consumers and Supporters|
Her name is Grace, this mother of mine, and she was born the last of 5 children, on a farm in north western
A year after my family and I moved to
I was just beginning to understand about mental illnesses and become involved in NAMI activities. Eventually I was diagnosed with psychiatric illnesses and turned more and more to consumer programs. In the fall of 2002, our affiliate was able to have an In Our Own Voice: Living With Mental Illness training. My mother, at age 90, attended this training along with me, and is now my co-presenter. Whenever I get a chance at other mental health activities, I introduce her, tell her age and how long she has been experiencing psychiatric symptoms to give others the message of HOPE. I did this at a NAMI North Carolina conference last year and recently had some one tell me that seeing my Mom gave her the hope that she too could recover.
During the six years she has now been in recovery from her most recent episode, she has traveled to
During those first months of recovery, watching the birds from her front porch and holding our cats and talking to our dogs was very healing for her. Since she loved the outside birds so much, my sister gave her two parakeets. My mother calls them Holly and Molly and they are her faithful companions, chirping cheerfully every day. She still loves watching the outside birds come to the feeders. My mother is also very much a people person and every one who meets her just loves her. She is so cute with every one, thanking those who help in any way. And despite the fact that she can no longer help others in the ways she once could, she does touch the lives of others simply through her spirit of meekness and love, that shines through her entire being.
Some days are better than others and age is taking it's toll. But despite continuing symptoms, my mother is staying active and involved in life and doesn't let the rough times get her down for long. And I thank God every day for the valiant example of this, my mother, Grace.
Mary Ann, Grace's daughter and author of this piece, is an In Our Own Voice: Living With Mental Illness Coordinator.
Support NAMI to help millions of Americans who face mental illness every day.Donate today
Inspire others with your message of hope. Show others they are not alone.Share your story
Become an advocate. Register on NAMI.org to keep up with NAMI news and events.Join NAMI Today