I am excited this week because my son, known to most of you as Mike, and I will speak for the first time together about his mental illness, our family’s struggle, and his recovery.
We will be appearing this Thursday, May 24th, at the Loudon County Public Library’s Cascades branch at 7 p.m.
I will offer my perspective as a father, discuss how his breakdown impacted my relationship with him, and how his illness led to me writing my book, CRAZY: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness. I’ve also been asked to describe successful recovery programs that I have seen as a journalist who has visited and spoken in every state except Hawaii, Mississippi and Arkansas, and has visited mental health services in Brazil, Portugal and Iceland.
Mike will speak about what it is like to have the symptoms of a mental illness, the many challenges that he faced and how he eventually came to grips with his disorder. He will talk about what did and didn’t help him — including things that I did that backfired!
We would not have been able to appear on a stage in the past few years during much of our journey. After I published my book, Mike had two subsequent hospitalizations and, at one point, was tasered by the Fairfax County Police — after I called the police seeking help. There were times when I wondered if I had lost my son forever.
If you are a parent or the loved one of someone in crisis, please have hope. My son is living proof that if a person with a severe mental illness wants to get better and is given access to the services that he/she needs, he/she can do it! Recovery is not only possible — it should be expected!
Please attend if you live in this area — even if you have heard me — because I can guarantee you that what Mike has to say will be well worth your time!
The Cascades library’s address is: 21030 Whitfield Place, Potomac Falls, VA 20165, and the event is open to the public without charge.