I haven't done a post for quite a while, and I'm not adding my two cents worth much on other blogs and sites for a number of reasons. I'm disengaging more and more from the intense and too often ugly online debates surrounding mental health issues. I feel that after ten years of searching and questioning, I know what I know about about how to help my son work through "schizophrenia," and I no longer have the mental energy or the patience to convert others to my way of thinking. All I can offer are my own opinions based on my experience with Chris, and if I don't put quotation marks around the word schizophrenia, is the world going to end? Apparently for some people it will. I think an intense debate about the validity of schizophrenia and the drugs given to treat it is a welcome change from the past and is forcing needed change. I applaud the many good people willing to go to bat for those changes, but now I think it's time to stop focusing on the often minute differences of opinion between people we perceive as our enemies; there is a huge risk of marginalizing our growing base of support if we don't reign in the rhetoric. We are attacking people over words and I'm looking for more useful ways for me to contribute. Even though I feel I have a message of hope about recovery that can be practiced to some degree of success by others, at the same time I feel that I'm not adding anything terribly new to the schizophrenia knowledge bank that I haven't said many times before.
Another reason I haven't posted much is that Chris is almost thirty, and really, it's time I bowed out of publicly recording the latest events as if I were the proud mother of a toddler or grade school student. Why I'll most likely continue blogging is because I like writing personal stories and I like reading personal stories because I think that they have the greatest reader interest and impact. But, by the time my" baby" reaches 30 next month, maybe it's time to NOT to document his every achievement and struggle.
We are living in narcissistic times. Anyone who blogs about or uploads Youtube videos of themselves or their close relatives (check out Holderness family Christmas video) can be accused of being narcissistic, but the trick is to manage to avoid the label by claiming a greater altruism (smiley face goes here). I'm blogging about Chris and me as a public service (and here) of hope to all those families who are struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel. If it has to be the two of us to bring this message of hope, I'll risk being called a narcissist. There just aren't a lot of blogs right now written by relatives and targeted to families who are uncomfortable with the medical model of the "disease." It is through personal anecdotes from other mothers and fathers where many of us strengthen our hope. I would love to have some competition here in the blogosphere from the hope crowd to counteract all the crowded field of parental scare mongerers.
To end 2013 on an upbeat note, here is a summary of the good things that have happened to Chris and me on our journey this year.
Chris - got girlfriend, broke up with GF, seems to be back with GF, appeared in several theatrical choruses, attended an out of country course in musical theatre production, enrolled in a Monday night acting course, continues to be a member of several choirs, has gained greater ability to stand up for himself and voice his opinions (Note: All of this did not happen overnight. It has taken several years for him to get to this level of confidence, and he and I both know that there is still work to be done.)
Me - learning that it is never to late to learn something new, enrolled in two online courses about how to practice recovery and sustain hope.
Happy New Year everyone. May 2014 bring you peace, good health, and hope.