Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Co-occurring disorders

The jelly fish....turn off the sound. Its more peaceful that way. 

The dad and I started going to a 12 week course on mental illness being put on by NAMI. Its our big date night...we meet on his way up our mountain from work and we have dinner and then go to this class one night a week. This strikes me as pathetic to be honest. We just do life, he and I. We keep chipping away at it.

The class is filled with parents whose children are mentally ill and most are also addicted. Out of 25 people, one was there for a friend, and one was there for a husband. The rest were parents of sick kids.

There is no anonymity in NAMI and right off the bat, the leader outed a volunteer by putting her under the spotlight. She told how awful things were for her when she first came to NAMI, but now she is doing so much better....."lets all give her a hand!"

I cringed in my chair. The dad looked a little pale...he was horrified and said, "This is not like Alanon." "No, its not dear. Just hang in there....lets see how it goes." I was frustrated that we hadn't been in the room for even 5 minutes and the leader had already made the atmosphere feel unsafe. It showed me how vital anonymity is in our program. It creates a safe place for us to share.

Later we had to tell about who/what brought us to this class....their name, age, dx, and a little of our story. The dad let me do the sharing but whispered, "Don't use her name. She at least deserves that."

So many parents just spilled it all out there....and I remember my years of doing that. You are so desperate to find an answer you will tell anyone anything if you think they can help. Some shared some really sad and scary stories, some had stories that I wondered why they were there.....and so many people we could relate to! That was the best part for the dad I think....to see that he's not alone. We are not alone. So many families have these unfathomable types of issues going on. 

We just got back from a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. My girl came with us. We all left the house with the best of intentions I am sure....but the trip was a challenge. It made me so aware of the long road ahead of us. I just kept thinking...."Someday you will get to the other side of this. Don't give up!"

Always praying.....


Grace-WorkinProgress said...

When we were holding Al-Anon meetings at a local rehab center. The families were forced to come in order to see their loved ones. Some were downright hostile towards us. Others wanted some quick answers. We never knew what was going to happen.

It felt overwhelming since we really only had an hour to spread hope. It is so hard to understand our part in the illness.

Annette said...

I don't know if I agree with making the Alanon mtg mandatory in order to see their loved ones. That seems coercive and manipulative and our program is based on "attraction, not promotion." If the families aren't ready or open, what good is that doing? I know this wasn't your decision...and I'm just sayin. :o)

Signe said...

"We meet on his way up our mountain." What an excellent metaphor for what you are living. Your real mountain always sounds so beautiful. The 'other' mountain a little more rocky, but with patches of green and a view that is still hidden by the fog. This post sounds sad to me, but I can still 'hear' your resolve to stay the course. I am praying for whatever nourishment you need to stay healthy and strong.

dawn said...

And that is my mantra Annette

We must NEVER give up

Syd said...

Anonymity is so important. I like the gentleness of the Al-Anon program. It helps me.