One of the things I admire is the willingness of some people to put themselves ALL out there. Especially when it helps others. We are all subject to scrutiny and judgement, but those who deal with illnesses/disorders/abuse of any type who place their stories out there for all the world to see, just in the hope of helping one person, have my deep respect.
The world of mental illness is a lonely one, particularly for those who suffer from it, but also for the families. It is difficult to get people to understand. It is disappointing when we here criticism of how we should have/could have done things differently and/or better. The criticisms come full and hard and fast at times. “If you didn’t let your child,” “If you had given them this medication,” “If you didn’t give them this medication,” the list goes on and on. But, I think, we torture ourselves the most. I don’t think I know one parent of a child with a mental illness who hasn’t beat themselves up and down. We question, we listen, we try all the time to figure out just what is going on.
This brings me to bravery. So many parents of children with mental illnesses are brave, very sacrificing, and extremely generous. They put their lives on hold, speak out, speak up, get the best they can for their children. They also support, listen to and encourage other families. But, that said, it is nothing compared with the bravery I see in the children. For a child with schizophrenia, life is a terrifying world full of bombarding images, senses and information. Some of it they can trust, some they cannot. They move forward, even though so many things are trying to hold them back.
One set of images captured my attention the other day. John William Keedy, a photographer, put out a mental illness picture series unlike any I have seen. Here you can see his work, and a little snippet of why he put it out there. He is just one, doing something he can do, to help others.