Blog Description

How do you convey strength when the tears don't stop running down your face? My daughter's fall into the deep hole of depression and eventual admittance to a psych ward. Our journey,our hope-to share and learn the whys,whats and the ways of mental illness. Specifically the downward drain of depression that can happen to any of us. #StopTheStigma

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

#StopTheStigma-The Campaign that arose from Conflict

Cristyl had asked me to stop writing about her, and I  honestly replied, "It stopped being about you a long time ago."

When I found myself all alone, with no direction and no idea where to start, I promised myself no other parent would have to go through the same ordeal.  The frustration and fear felt during my daughter's hospital stay can not be explained or comprehended unless you've gone through it.  Because of this I started a campaign - #StopTheStigma.  Ironically I faced that stigma among my own family- they didn't want me to share this part of our history.  Sadly, with each day that goes by I realize this is not only my family history, nor is the view only my family's.  I realize the stigma of mental illness is true in all cultures, but it's almost a visible wall in the Latino community.  Conversations come to a halt, and if continued they are in whispers.  What's up with that??  We can not heal or accept if we don't acknowledge. For me, that's the message and hope behind the campaign - to be the catalyst for education and compassion.

The past month has been a whirlwind series of posts, events, discussions, webinars, and even a radio show to bring attention to the campaign and its' mission.  The final goal is to have events all through the nation during July, "National Minority Mental Illness Awareness Month" and to create a centralized website sharing these events as well as having a place where anyone seeking help can find organizations ready to help. But first things first.  On November 9 I will join in the NAMI Broward walkathon.  NAMI is the group that helped me get through my initial questions, and I can think of no better way to return their kindness and goodwill.  If you could join my team- NUNCA ALONE, with donations and/or walking with us it would be most appreciated and acknowledged if you'd like me to do so.

Hopefully #StopTheStigma will open lines of communication. Will it work? I think so. Thankfully it has in my family; this past week my daughter posted words of encouragement on the team page.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

60 days later...

It's been over 2 months since my last post and so much has changed, yet not really.

My daughter was hospitalized for three weeks. As long as I kept busy, cleaning her house, making meals, organizing paperwork, things were fine-my composure was the epitome of strength. As long as my brain had something to focus on the heart remained silent, but as soon as I'd see her, all hopes of maintaining that were gone.  The hardest thing I have ever had to do, was try to show encouragement to her, try to telepathically will her strength, lazer beam through my eyes all my love, hoping that there was a miniscule opening to her soul behind the catatonic stare. Despite my best efforts, my tears wouldn't stop flowing and her soul remained lost to me.

It was the longest three weeks of my life. During this time I began research on mental illness, focusing on depression, which is what the doctors say my daughter had- depression caused by stress. I started a blog, a Facebook page, all in hopes of finding help and perhaps in being help to someone else. I'm a writer, a blogger to be specific, and these are my tools, my way of communicating and in my world this is how I survive.  Meanwhile, my first born was fighting to do the same; she was in another world trying to survive.

Cristyl is back home now. To say we have all been changed by this is an understatement; things will never be the same.  Daily medicines for at least two years, and fear of a repeat episode are always in the background, but also in her life is the proof of how much she's loved.  Her estranged father flew in from another country just to be by her side- something she longed for so many times, and he's remained in contact, just a phone call away.  Cousins, aunts, inlaws, and of course daily visits by me and her boyfriend helped her know she could come back and be loved.  But it is a battle, at times hourly, but it's worth it- she's worth it.  As her mother I pray she comes to believe that. There will always be memories, scars, but these will fade. Hopefully she'll come to realize that scars have their purpose. They remind us of how strong we are, for we have lived through the pain and were not defeated.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Too good to be True.

Cristyl was a good girl. She was a happy baby; I called her my "Summer Child"  because she was always full of energy and sunny in disposition.  She was popular, pretty, captain of the dance team,a high school cheerleader, a good student who was loved by her teachers. Unfortunately she didn't love herself.

Despite all outward signs, my daughter was a very scared little girl who was always seeking approval-never wanting to be judged as anything less than perfect. So she internalized and assumed, never showed her true feelings or went against authority.  Confrontation wasn't for her.

It makes total sense that her mind would prefer to go into oblivion, catatonic, instead of her asking for help directly.  Looking back, I wish now that she would have been more demanding of others, more vocal in her needs/wants.  In her present state even an insult would be deemed a blessing.

On June 28 I received a call saying my daughter had been admitted to a hospital; she was completely incomprehensible and void of sane mind, drifting between catatonia and psychotic.  And here the journey for truth, healing and acceptance began.