An anonymous interview with Rachel about her son’s severe depression and multiple suicide attempts. Rachel described the precipitous descent into depression that seemed to swallow her previously sunny, confident, artistic boy. She names the terrible and confusing sense of ambiguous loss [Read more…]
An interview with Cheryl Ramsay, about her two sons, one with schizophrenia who is in treatment and one with an undiagnosed mental illness and addiction who avoids the mental health system. Cheryl describes the gradual evolution of two joyous, outgoing, athletic boys into anxiety, abusing marijuana, paranoia, trouble with the law, hearing voices, multiple hospitalizations, and either group home living or homelessness. She describes the deep self-doubt she feels about whether she somehow could have made a difference at each step of the way. She notes, that she and her husband never imagined that mental illness would enter their family and how their thinking has evolved to understanding that mental illness can happen to anyone, even loving, involved, law-abiding parents. She describes NAMI’s (National Alliance on Mental Illness) family to family groups and how they made a huge difference to her in connecting with other families going through the same struggles. The can be found at www.namimaine.org
An interview with Emmy award-winning television writer and executive producer, Chris Nee about her show, Doc McStuffins. Chris wrote the show in order to help her own son Theo who suffers from severe asthma. Chris tells the story of watching her child struggle to breathe, and how she decided to use the skill set she has as a TV writer to help him. She describes the way that Doc, the 6 year old girl in the series, diagnoses and treats her stuffed animals who suffer from a wide variety of toy ailments. The show uses upbeat music, the comforting of various stuffed animals and the realistic expression of children’s fears to show kids how frightening experiences can be made safe and hopeful.
An interview with parenting expert, Adele Faber, co-author with Elaine Mazlish of the best-selling, Siblings Without Rivalry and, How to Talk so Kids will Listen, and Listen so Kids will Talk. Adele speaks about the importance of listening to and validating kids feelings about their siblings, no matter how uncomfortable they make us. She uses the analogy of how you would feel if your spouse brought home another wife, or another husband who you were expected to care for and share your things with. She models empathic responses that parents can give to their children’s anger, jealousy and even hatred of their siblings. She also acknowledges that it is common and normal to find yourself more drawn to one of your children, and that the feelings alone are not hurtful to your child. She offers helpful ways to behave such that the unique gifts of each child are seen and celebrated.
An interview with author and professor, Meredith Hall about her experience of being shunned when she became pregnant at 16. Meredith speaks of the deep messages to pregnant girls that they are bad, and must be made to keep silent about the pregnancy for the rest of their lives. Meredith describes what it was like to be shunned by her entire community and to be pushed out of her mother’s house when she most needed support. She speaks about three levels of grief, the profound loss of losing the child, the loss that no-one ever spoke to her about this loss, or even acknowledged it, and the loss of her family and entire social world. Meredith speaks about how her anger helped protect her dignity and how seeing that she too had abandoned her child helped her make peace internally with her parents who had abandoned her. She ultimately affirms that she has been able to see the large grief she carries as a gift that has enlarged her capacity to love.