My Son Tells His Side of Crazy

For the first time, my son and I both gave speeches recently about mental illness and our journey together to recovery. I couldn’t have been prouder of his talk. There was a time — when he was repeatedly hospitalized, arrested and even shot twice with a taser by the police — when I wasn’t sure that we would ever reach this day.  I wondered if he would survive or join the ranks of the nearly 600,000 persons with severe mental illnesses in our jails and prisons, the thousands of homeless wandering our streets or the departed who fell victim to suicide.

Thankfully, my friends in the National Alliance on Mental Illness and other mental health advocates offered me hope. My wife, Patti, became my rock and we were blessed because my son got help from a dedicated case manager who finally got him the meaningful treatment that he needed.

But the real hero in our story is my son, who many of you know as “Mike” from my book.  He calls his speech RESILIENT, which is a fitting title.  Unfortunately, our actual presentation did not get filmed because of a snafu with the camera. Luckily,  Mike made his own tape. The T-Shirt that he is wearing is in honor of a friend who recently died.

If you take the time to watch this two part video, you will not be disappointed.

No one should be defined by an illness. Recovery is not only possible –we should demand it.

About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.


  1. Kbetamax says


  2. a hopeful mom says

    Mike, you are a brave and inspiring individual.  I have a 28-year-old son named Mike who is also mentally ill and has faced serious legal problems as a result, but he still has not reached a point of acceptance and refuses treatment.  It often feels hopeless, but your speech have me hope, which I desperately needed today.  Thank you for being vulnerable and moving past the stigma of mental illness in order to help others and offer hope.  You’re awesome! 

  3. “Mike”, your story has been so inspiring to so many.  SO glad that you and your dad have been able to navigate the tricky path of America’s mental health system.  Your story illustrates how very much more needs to be done, but how there IS now hope.  THANK YOU for your bravery in both speaking and allowing your story to be told.  I very much hope to meet you and your father some day.

  4. Kalena1960 says

    Thanks so much for your story. Through your experience you bring others hope!

  5. Mike, fabulous job with your speech.  You are certainly a writer!  You were even better in front of an audience, which could not have been an easy thing to do.  Pete, thanks so much for coming out to speak at NAMI NoVa.  I hope this isn’t the last time you speak together with your son.  You are both inspiring and bring us hope. (P.S. If not for your blog, I wouldn’t have heard about the event- -thanks!)

  6. Pete and Mike,
    Thank you for posting this.  May I put Part 2 up on Shrink Rap?