I propose Mental Wellness... and it's for everyone

On the family section I posted a bit about how my kid sis was planing her own 18th birthday for herself and by herself. She didn’t tell any of the family this is what she was doing. I do realize that in the past many of her birthdays were forgotten by all of us. Some of us still feel guilty for completely forgetting her 17th. She took it in stride and said… “hey, it’s OK, mental illness comes first.”

When the parents would forget to pick her up at school because they were looking for me, she pulled off her wet clothing after walking home and said, “It’s Ok, mental Illness comes first”

With myself and one brother finally stable and the other two brothers finally getting professional help to be stable, my parents have been busy but calming down. But my kid sis was planning another birthday alone because “Mental Illness comes first.”

The parents were more then surprised when my sis did admit that if she ever did get married, she was going to elope and not tell anyone so she wouldn’t bother anyone. Because mental illness comes first. Our Dad almost cried. Last year she didn’t tell ANYONE she got accepted into U.C. Berkeley because she didn’t want to cause a fuss. I was just stabilizing and mental illness comes first.

These past few days our parents have been trying to see a lot more of their youngest child and only daughter. She says she’s confused because they aren’t seeing her to discuss J preservation, they aren’t calling her to check on me or give Mental Illness updates, they aren’t taking her to informational lectures on mental illness, they aren’t doing a review of crisis management…

She got irritated because they wanted to see her alone and ask her about her. She came home really freaked out by that. She kept huffing and saying, “It wasn’t even a mental illness update meeting.”

This family has been fighting mental illness for so long, we don’t know how to do much else. That’s no way to live. Yes, I know our parent’s don’t want to get complacent or miss something. Two sons stable, two sons still in need of care.

But I’ve been trying to promote this idea of leaving the Sz and MI books on the shelf and just hanging out for no other reason then… Why not? Have at least one meal a week and don’t even mention mental illness news or updates or resources websites. Don’t even talk about CBT or new therapies or med combo’s. Or maybe go do something fun and leave the MI education at home.

The kid sis and I do that all the time, I feel a great relief when we can just hang out and talk about sandwiches and books and anything but MI. But it hasn’t happened with the family in a very very long time.

I have been trying to change her saying to “Mental Wellness comes first” That includes everyone of us. Not just the diagnosed, but the undiagnosed and the caregivers. It’s not just ME trying to heal… it’s the entire family trying to heal.

It’s care givers not having to be on crisis guard all the time, it’s parents realizing that it’s OK to take time off from the fight. It’s getting on with life and not letting any mental illness consume and erase normal events like your only daughters 17th and 18th birthday.

Mental illness shouldn’t come first… life should.

Mental Wellness… This is what I’m going to be working on.


I used to be my illness- I am now focusing on things outside my SZA bubble. I agree with your post J, I gave you a like but the heart disappeared when I clicked on to it for some reason


I’m in a circular ponder. Did getting out of my Sz bubble and having interaction help promote healing or did I have to heal to get out of the SZ bubble and interact?

For me personally, I had to give up drugs and alcohol. But after that… it feels circular.

I am right with you on some of my past thinking. I was my illness. I didn’t see anything of myself beyond SZ. But something just happened in my head and I just got fed up with only being Sz. Maybe I felt underestimated? But something shifted in my brain. After that I was pretty adamant that there was more to me then this. The more I got adamant about it, the more it became true.


J, I click on to the like heart logo, it vanishes, do you know why? It happens with others too

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I think because once you click on the heart, you liked it and you can’t like it again. I’m thinking it’s a one click one vote sort of thing. If that makes sense.

I really like this concept of wellness for everyone. It really resonated with me.

I have two VERY good friends who help me out and support me in many ways. We try to see each other once per week. And every time we meet, they ask me about my schizophrenia. I know they truly care, but I feel like they feel obligated to ask about it.

I’d like it if we could just hang out. Talk about anything else. Just have fun. Instead of them always worrying about me.

I’m going to focus on making this happen. Because it’s good for everyone involved to take a break and just be happy.

So thanks for inspiring me, J…as always :slight_smile:




Yeah the like didnt show up the first time, its there now thanks

Good post, James. I agree, its best to not dwell or talk too much about psychological problems all of the time. I dont need reminding that I have schizophrenia, carrying my meds with me wherever I go is enough to remind me that I live with a serious condition.


I grew up in the shadow of 3 older brothers. One is MI/addict/problem child/adult.
Never a dull moment in the house, all the parents spoke about…it becomes a way of life. …sigh.

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Congratulations @kidsister. That’s a really good college. I am very jealous. :slight_smile:
Have you ever seen “Princess Bride” J? One of the characters kinda sounds like kidsis. I would recommend watching it. The Spanish one with the fabulous name. He said, when asked what he was going to do now after reaching his goal, the one he had been working for and training for his whole life, to avenge his father’s death: I don’t know. Revenge has always been such a part of my life. I don’t know what I will do now.
And he looked very lost. He had never even considered anything outside of his single minded focus. I’m not saying kidsis is out for blood, I’m saying that she seems to have developed tunnel vision. Like her life doesn’t matter as much to her anymore as your life matters to her. I think maybe she gets a little sad about things like planning to elope, but I don’t think it really bothers her because she feels she is making a necessary sacrifice for you.
I think that if you try to pull the MI tunnel vision away from her too quickly and too harshly she might get upset and feel like you don’t trust her or want her help anymore and she might feel really hurt. Maybe have her go to a therapist (I know, I recommend therapy for everyone, but it has saved my life) so that she can get someone from the outside to tell her that her obsession with your health isn’t good. Talk to your therapist too and come up with some strategies together to help her.
I know tunnel vision is never good, but it seems kind of sweet to me. You both care about each other so much that you are willing to sacrifice that much for each other. You care about her so much that keeping her safe was actually the center of your delusions. Maybe she has come to be that way about you, but in a much less unhealthy way.
I think the key here is not to make her feel like you are leaving her out of your healing, but to help her focus more on taking care of herself as well.
I would take care of this now, if she is going away for college. She might not adjust well because she might feel lost without you to care for and take in even more “stray puppies” (who usually turn out to be full grown rabid wolves) just to fill the void.

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The problem with taking a back seat and not ever getting to be top priority teaches you that your needs/wants aren’t important enough to address until all in life runs smooth. People take advantage of this kind of person who is used to waiting to get what they need/want. It’s easy to go your whole life and hide in the shadow of someone you love, but not very fulfilling.

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I grew up in my brother’s shadow he has mental illness and for as long as I can remember its always been about my brother and even my dads health issues. Now my mom has to get use to putting her needs first.

I’m into psychology so I don’t mind talking mental health. It makes me feel more educated. I just dont want to focus on one illness, maybe someday I’ll be a crisis worker or therapist.

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Even small gestures for someones birthday can be nice and mean a lot. A card, flowers, a home cooked meal, a present. Saying Happy Birthday. Buying her a CD. If you don’t liked shopping, buying her a gift card for her favorite store is a good alternative. Or you can buy something off the internet, you can find just about anything online, but S & H can get expensive. Food is a great gift. EVERYBODY likes food. If she wants to spend her birthday alone then do something for her before or after the actual date. She deserves to have a good birthday, she deserves some attention. Do what you can, even small gestures. Don’t stress yourself out to the point of an episode, but getting a gift card is not difficult. I get the feeling you guys are sick of Starbucks, but I could see you buying a pastry or other dessert there and putting a few candles on it. It makes me sad to hear she will spend it alone. I think 18 turning is one of the biggest milestones when it comes to birthdays. I think turning 13 and turning 21 are the two biggest. But on the other hand my oldest sister has always been VERY independent and self-sufficient and doesn’t need the family to celebrate holidays or special occasions with her. She is fine with using birthdays etc, to have a little alone time.But I guess a big question in kidsisters case is : does she really WANT to spend it alone or is she going to do it as self-preservation or because she feels no one cares? Family dynamics are complicated but it’s her day and she should get her own wishes on this once- in-a lifetime occasion.

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I’ve been in it so long that I don’t even want to think - mental.

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This was so positive. reminds me of my two daughters. one is not speaking to me because of her brother( says i tried to push him on her) the other one is angry at her brother for stealing that he did when he was using drugs. My family has been split open by this. One day I hope I can heal or help to heal my family. This has been ongoing for 20 years. Thank you for this post–I agree

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@onceapoet Thank you for your reply… It scared me, it hit very close to home. All of it. From Inigo Montoya, (princess bride is a top 5 movie in our home)… and other stuff you have mentioned echos the slight conflict we’re going through now. (it’s called… who’s the care giver today) I have known for a while that she is feeling that loss of not having to take care of me as intensely as she used to.

My kid sis has taken in some petty scary stray people. She tries to save them all. The worst for a bit was the 25 year old heroin addict. He’s well out of her life now, but for a bit there, I was very scared.
She got invited to U.C. Berkeley, but she found a better nursing program at a private college here in Seattle. Plus it’s nowhere near as pricey. Mom and Dad will NOT have to sell the house to help with tuition. Out of state fees are a killer.

She’s booked a beach and beach shelter, she’s finding Jamaican Food to be brought in. She is going for a bit of a small gathering. But she really didn’t think anyone in her own family would be up for going. :open_mouth:

I’m going to go. Even if it’s big, I want to go.

I’m making her a Ramune Marble neckless because she has always wanted one and could never get the marbles out of the Ramune Bottle. I’ve got four marbles out so far. :blush: two to go…

@bridgecomet There has been some extreme damage to the friendship between my brothers and I. I have one brother who I don’t think will forgive me. EVER! I’ve got another who finally got back into my life just a few months ago and that friendship is healing.

My kid sis was a toddler when I was 17 and crumbling and I was getting my life together as she was growing up. She and I have a very close relationship. But that’s not the case at all with some of my others siblings.

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if you don`t mind my asking----how did you and your brother start talking again?

how about a fancy dress party, come as your favorite character, that would be fun, with lots of fairy lights everywhere.
by the way i think your kid sis is truly amazing, selfless, intelligent and wise and 17 !?! pretty amazing.
take care


For one, the parents helped a bit by not taking sides and not trying to get us together, not trying to get us to be friends. The parents just seemed to accept that not all their children were going to be friends. That helped all us boys stay friends with them.

I hurt brothers 1 and 2 pretty badly when we were all younger and growing. My youngest brother (number 3) and my sis were so much younger they were more shielded. But brother 2 had an urn on his mantle as a way of picturing me dead and gone and no longer able to hurt him. He avoided me for a long time. I did apologize for what I did and I did say I would like to be at least civil for the sake of our sis and our parents.

It took a while to get there. Eventually he stopped ignoring me and then we would talk a bit. After a few more years he would come over to see our sis and he and I had small conversations. A few more years and I stayed sober and med compliant and got with the program, he would start admitting we were related. It grew until he would go out to lunch with our sis and not object to me going. Little by little… Until he healed form all his pain as well and could see after year 6 now that I’m trying to stay on track and I’m not going back to drugs or alcohol and I’m never going to let myself get that negative and angry again.

It was just over this last Christmas that I kept the door open and he walked through it. We’ve been working on rebuilding that friendship. It was a lot of little steps and patience and hope. So two brothers down, one to go. I really don’t know if brother 1 and I will ever be friends of if I will ever be forgiven. But I keep my hope.