To those still struggling with a child’s mental illness

This is probably a familiar scenario. You are with a group of friends who know you’ve been struggling with a child’s mental illness or drug abuse–and absolutely no one asks about your child.

You’ve been through hell and back. You are emotionally spent and wrung out trying to maintain some level of functioning.

You hope someone will ask. But they don’t

asking-for-help-is-the-human-thing-to-doIt hurts. It hurts so much, you want to cry. You want to break down. You feel so isolated and alone like no one in the world cares.

Then you feel very very small all of a sudden. It’s … Read more...

Looking at the other side of addiction

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I sit in this warm room surrounded by the bravest, most passionate people I have ever seen. I am now a familiar face and certain gentlemen greet me and ask me questions which I welcome.

Just a short time ago the man speaking had been sleeping under a bridge. Hard to imagine. He is articulate and emotional. This guy could be a motivational speaker.

He’s about 45 and moved to tears he’s so thankful to be alive.

He expresses how grateful he is to the other brothers in the room, fellow addicts, for taking him in once he made that … Read more...

The lollipop land of shiny faces and perfect families is a dangerous facade

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We have created a fake world presenting only the best side of our families and friends and rarely sharing pain or struggle.

We created it in social media, in person and at social events.

I’m not proposing we go all newspaperish by being negative and presenting only bad news. But it’s time to strike a balance.

We are a society obsessed with accomplishments

We are quick to pass judgement on those whose children are not currently succeeding by our standards. And our current fast-paced society breeds anxiety, depression and dysfunction.

We are a sharing society. Only we choose to share only that which is … Read more...

Young people, you are not alone. Here’s what you have been sending me

feedbackHere is what I am hearing from young people 17-25 about what I am writing and you are sharing from Emotionally Naked.

The fact is these young people have suffered through a system so broken and in a society so unaccepting of their struggles, is heartbreaking. And reading these brings tears to my eyes.

It’s utterly amazing they have done as well as they have. So proud of all of you. One day you will get support and acceptance. Help me work on that by sharing these posts.

I am honored you wrote me and I thought you’d be … Read more...

Is your child or spouse using? Signs of drug use

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Thank you Stas Novitsky from VCAM and McShin Academy for much of the information on this page. I wish I had this back in 2010. 

Keep in mind that it’s a combination of many of these signs that illustrate a drug habit.

This is not a complete list as substances to abuse are all over the place and around your house.

We could use the help of those in recovery to add to this. Use the comment box. You can use another name and only admin can see your email–no one else. Your privacy is respected.

Download the Signs of
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To all who have lost a loved one to suicide or overdose

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I’ve made a commitment.

I need one from you.

On behalf of my son Charles who died by suicide, I am carrying on a tradition he handed down to me and that is to reach out.

Survivors of suicide loss and those who have lost a child or loved one to overdose need to say the words suicide, mental illness, addiction and drug overdose.

Don’t soften it, sugar coat it or hide behind it

If we do, we carry on a tradition of shame instead of acknowledging our loved ones struggled from an illness. Those illnesses will continue to carry stigma if we don’t … Read more...

The long arm of the law reaches down Charles’ pants

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Supporting Files:

  1. Mp4 – Internal Affairs interview -This has the most accurate account of what happened from Charles’ point of view. Just hearing him on the tape triggers a crying episode of despair.
  2. Word Doc- Transcript of police stop above on the Mp4
  3. Word Doc – Charles account of the original arrest
  4. Mp4 – Police stop with Charles and 6 officers 
  5. PDF – Breathalyzer

One of the incidents I have had a hard time with was one that happened in late February 2015 in Chesterfield County Virginia, just 4 months before Charles died by suicide.

Charles was driving home and was stopped by … Read more...

To all of you

What I didn’t expect from all of you was the outpouring of support when I write publicly about all the stigmatized illnesses we suffered through with Charles– as well as my own grief. And I didn’t expect to be encouraged to keep writing about it.

I was not rejected or ostracized. I was not “unfriended” for bringing up unpleasant subjects. Maybe some have unfriended.  But I’ve gained more than I have lost.

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But I’ll be honest with you, I did not think it would be that way. I was fully prepared to be written off as the person always posting depressing … Read more...

Is tough love the right way to treat an addict?

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This is such a hard question. But one thing’s for sure, you’ll get an answer one way or another when you set your boundaries.

Someone asked me if I felt like I should have approached my son’s depression and addiction differently?

Is tough love the right thing to do?

Keep in mind that I encouraged her to ask the question she was wanting to ask because she hesitated. It’s a good question with no “right” answer. Given that my son’s rock bottom was suicide, I’ve asked myself this a hundred times. But here’s what I can tell you.

No addict makes a change unless

Read more...

How could I resent your child’s cancer fundraiser?

Part of my grief process is to let go of such insane resentments and just do something about it instead.

It sounds crazy. It sounds inhuman. But there were times when I felt jealous that others got such overwhelming financial and even emotional support in their struggles to get medical help for a child who was ill. My resentment was never directed at a specific family. It was resentment that society could turn their backs on mental health while embracing physical health so passionately.

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Send a card, reach out, listen w/o judgement

The outpouring of support when your child has a physical ailment … Read more...