Sunday, November 2, 2008

Putting the 'health' in mental health

From oliver rain

On Friday I got the most amazing news. Here's a little background before I share.

For most of her adult life, my mother has struggled with mental illness. She endured multiple long-term hospitalizations throughout her 20s, 30s, and 40s. She was unable to work for most of her life, due to the stress associated with work and the unpredictable nature of her illness, thus she relied on income support to be able to live her life. She also suffered the stigma of mental illness. At times, there was no one that understood what she was going through. Her husband (my dad) could not handle her and they divorced before their 20th anniversary. My brother and I were too young to understand for many years and no one helped us, so I'm sure we didn't make things easier for her.

I've had my own issues with mental health and it's been difficult in carving a healthy relationship with my mom out of a damaged past. But we work at it, and I think sometimes our issues are the same as any mother and daughter. I realized this past spring that I don't ever want to live with my mother, but I love her dearly. She is one of the best people I know. She is so kind, volunteering her time with the elderly and disadvantaged. She is a loving grandmother who gets down on the floor to play with Lizzie. And she is a genuine, caring friend to a whole host of folks in her town.

About 10 or so years ago, my mom found a new doctor. They reviewed my mom's history and made some adjustments in her medications. She hasn't been hospitalized since then. Just over 1 year ago, my mother was able to start a job a her local Walmart. She was so happy to start the job, as she good earn some money without affecting her income support. She gained a sense of worth and her confidence exploded as a result. She's literally glowing with pride. She loves her job so much and from the awards she receives, apparently her employers love her too.

So the good news? Three weeks ago, my mother started fulltime employment at Walmart! This means that she is no longer receiving the income support. For the first time in probably 30 years, she is completely independent. She is over-the-moon excited about this new stage of her life. This may not seem that amazing until you consider that very few people with mental health or other issues EVER restors their financial independence once they start receiving income support. She has come so far and is inspiring. I'm so very proud of my strong, wonderful, beautiful mom.

13 comments:

Shana said...

Congratulations to your mom! The sense of pride she must have in being able to stand on her own two feet after what she's dealt with for so many years must be an incredible feeling.

jenontheedge said...

What wonderful news! I'm so glad that things are working out for her.

Melissa said...

That is just great. I'm so happy for her. I'm glad things are better.

MJ said...

Hurrah, Oliver Rain's mother!! Our society has troubles understanding the challenges of those with mental illness! May she have as many years of employment ahead of her as she may want to work! What great news!

3rdEyeMuse said...

that is some seriously wonderful news ... congratulations to your mom. I wish her even greater success. :)

Handmade Parade said...

That is so wonderful!

Wish on a Whisker said...

Thanks so much for visiting my blog! I loved reading about your mom! Very inspiring! ~Mandy

Andy Guo said...

Congratulations!That is so wonderful!
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Tecu'Mish said...

Congratulations to your mom! What courage!

Jan said...

This is wonderful news. Give your Mom a hug from me.

Saucy said...

What a great story you have shared. I love the way it has turned out for your mom. WalMart is an excellent employer, by the way. She will flourish further.

restyled home said...

This was a beautiful post. I am so happy for both your mum and you, and it sounds like the future is opening up wide for her. You are right, mental illness is barrier few understand, and for those living with others who suffer from it, it can be life-altering. I wish you all luck and continued peace from the challenges it has thrown your way.

Have a great week,
Linda

Lisa Milton said...

The courage it must take to keep going.

What a beautiful post!