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Your are not alone in this fight

Spread the word! "You are not alone in this fight" when it comes to mental illness.

Our goal is to raise $300,000 by Dec. 31, 2012. Your donations help NAMI provide free education and support programs, publish reports and provide resources for people in need.

This year we're asking you to share your story to inspire hope and break down stigma everywhere.

Submit your Video or Story

Kimberly's Story

It is a heart wrenching helpless feeling. Your soul is sucked out with each negative event. You find yourself holding your breath and fear keeps you from inhaling deeply.....because that might cost you your child. The phone rings and your heart leaps out of your chest. You are always walking on eggshells. Behind each laugh or smile is constant radar looking for warnings or your visceral being begins to pulsate with worry. At one point the inner alarm or voice within knew something was wrong, but now after so many heightened and fear based moments...it is worn out and stays at heightened sense. Sleep is rare and peace is a newly defined term...peace within hell ...not peace within peace. You ache to fix their world. You hate those who judge them or hurt them. You hurt for the life they will never have....you wish for a different life for them. You seek answers to explain 'why'. You become distant from friends because they don't understand. You wonder why their life is so easy and your children's is so hard. The voice of people judging anyone with mental illness disrupts your soul and a warrior within erupts to defend the broken minds and shattered dreams.

I watch my amazingly beautiful 27 year old son walk with Borderline/ Chronic PTSD. He is gifted with brilliant artistic talent, exceptional athletic skills, fantastic leadership naturally interwoven in his being and the ability to learn quickly tasks requested from him. He is physically beautiful and is gifted with gorgeous eyes and a smile that melts knees. His heart beats with passion and love.

All of the gifts he is born have yet to be used in their full capacity. Moment to moment his life unfolds as if on a roller coaster. Just 3 days ago those beautiful eyes were in a rage that rumbled the house and terrified his siblings and I. We witness the impact of mental illness in his life and live with it in ours. The legal issues have included targeting harassment and abuse by people with badges who don't have an understanding of the truth the mental illness demands. We witness the drug use to self-medicate and dull the pain. We endure the heart wrenching, hopeless and dangerous moments he tries to end his life. There are the choices he steps into that can lead to his return to the system that robs him of life. Prison is no place for mental illness. It increases danger and instills negative thoughts. If one suffers with inner turmoil that includes low self-worth and self-love, it will only be etched deeper in those places.

It is horrible and life draining to watch with a helpless feeling as your son is in the cycle. NO one hears your cries for help. No one takes time to be educated on what the REAL issue is. No one wants to help create a healing plan for your child. No one wants to stand by your side as you fight for miracles and keep the flame of hope alive for possibility. It is lonely as you are on the front line battling to save your son. The excitement of seeing him inside his eyes again gifts air as you get up to try again. The next moment he might be locked too deep inside to see........then you just trust he is insides somewhere hoping to get out and live a healthy life.

Mental illness has robbed us of 2 other people. My son Blair who was so exceptionally gifted and walked with the most loving heart and soul this earth can offer. His story will be told also. In his story they said it was suicide, it was not. His life was ended but not by his hand. Bi Polar and depression killed his dreams and potential. He should have been on stage singing, he should be here with his little girl loving her and guiding her. Our family forever shattered by his missing powerful presence. My Dad also lost the battle and did end his life. He was also brilliantly gifted. His works of art are in collections and museums. His passion touched hearts and changed lives. He held a Masters from Cornell University. Why can't mental illness have its respect it demands?

It baffles me that people don't understand a mind can be broken. Just as an arm needs a cast or diabetes requires insulin the mind needs help when broken or altered. I sit here writing this as I try to cling to hope my son will walk in the door again. The thoughts are spinning with fluid and frantic energy. My heart hurts and my soul uses effort to breathe. No one can understand unless they walk it. As a Mom I have to try to understand what my children walk. I can read books, beg for help, have them taken in and held for evaluation. It is a helpless feeling at times that begins to suck the very life out of your soul. As you watch you children suffer and their lives fall apart. It is a world no one knows unless they walk it....it is a world we would wish on no one. Please help educate others as we pray enlightenment is gifted and understanding embraced.....We are all affected by mental illness.

I sit here wondering if I have lost another son. As I read the book and try to understand the world within him I fight within myself about what to do and if I can......the damage done to the other kids is so hard to witness....letting go of my son while he is overcome with this illness is impossible........one thing is for certain...there is no easy road. I pray answers come in time and I pray for people who care to help me...help him...help us. I am not capable of handling all of this alone. I am so scared and terrified of losing my son...scared for my son....we need hope.

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