War Weary, Burned Out Mom Seeks Hope, Sees Bright Side


Happy dealer holding car keys

Happy dealer holding car keys


Dear Pete,

I am the Mother of a son with schizophrenia. I am shell shocked – “war weary” – am suffering from caregiver burnout and am often sad beyond hope because of what individuals and families go through, including what I’ve been through trying to get my son help.

Is it possible for you to ask for stories about positive outcomes of persons living with mental illnesses?

Here is a true story I like to tell about my own son that makes people smile. Sometimes it helps all of us to laugh.

My son, Art, has always loved cars. He went looking at cars at a local dealer’s lot when he was manic. Of course the car salesman came hustling out and said to my son “Hey you like this car? You want to take it for a spin?”

My son said he did and the salesman slid into the driver’s seat and away they went.

We only know what happened because a friend of my daughter worked at this dealership and she told us.

When the car salesman came back my son was no longer riding with him. The car salesman was laughing and shaking his head.

“What’s so funny?” my daughter’s friend asked him.

“Did you see that tall, blonde guy?” he said.

“Yes, actually he is my friend’s brother.”

“Something isn’t quite right with him,” the salesman said.

“What happened?”

“ Well, I got in the car with the guy and he said , “Can you make this car go on the highway? So we drove on the highway.”

Then he said, “Can you make it go right?’ Which I did.”

He asked me, “Can you make it go left than right again, etc. The next thing I know he says to me, ‘Stop!  This is a very nice car…and that’s my house. Thanks for the ride.”

He gets out and waves at me and walked into his house.

Maybe each month you can share messages of hope, joy, success, love, and recovery that have to do with mental illness. I think such positive stories would help all of us have hope.


Charlene Turenne

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.