I am writing because I just read about your story on NAMI. My heart goes out to you and your family. I am in the same situation with my daughter who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at aged 18. She has been hospitalized since Feb and is awaiting a residential. While words cannot help with your sadness on losing your son please take comfort in knowing that he is free from pain and madness from this awful disease. God Bless
Hi Laura, You don't know me, and I've never reached out to a stranger this way but I want to express my sympathy to you for your loss. I read your story with Zac about feeling lucky regarding him a while ago. I feel the exact same way about my son with schizophrenia and I posted it to my page. Your story touched me because it is almost exactly like mine. I happened to stumble across your article again while searching for a mental health article to post on my Facebook page, and found you again and just saw Zac recently passed. I am crying and so saddened for you. God Bless.
Hi, just saw your public story through CooperRiis' facebook page. I am in tears. Our stories are so similar. My son and I keep his story very private for reasons hopefully you understand. Thank you so much for sharing. Your sharing reminds me, it's not just us and there are loving hearts that "can relate". Being able to relate is so much different than someone who "understands or sympathizes". Thank you, You are AMAZING!
Laura thank you so much by stating mental illness and mental health is Not the same thing.my husband Clarence has paranoid schizophrenia.it has been a roller coaster ride.but it's very inspiring to hear people speak out for mental illness awareness!!!!Thank you
I read your article in the USA Today newspaper...just wanted to send my best hopes and understanding to you...I'm a mother of a son with schizophrenia. Such a similar beginning! Jesse was very athletic, popular among his peers and teaching staff, did well in school...and then one summer it started to unravel...and like you, we at first thought it was typical teenage rebellion, asserting of independence...until little red flags started popping up all over...Jesse is 36 now and is such a sweetheart...always has been...but my heart still aches for him...for what was robbed from him...from all of us...namaste...
Hi Laura, I just read the article about Zac and I am so sorry for your loss. I believe Zac and my son attended St. Thomas Aquinas school together and were in the same class. I can't even imagine what you are going through. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Laura, there are no words for me to express my sorrow. My heart aches for you and your family. I pledge to you and Zac that I will share your story to cultivate more mental health allies, advocates and compassionate humans. Everything that you have done for Zac and for families experiencing mental illness matters. You have both made a significant difference even though it may not seem that way. I wish I had words to ease your pain and bring your more comfort. I just want you to know I am thinking of you and sending you love and healing.
I have followed your page for a year, as I, too, had a son who suffered from schizophrenia until he took his own life in February of 2011. My heart breaks for you. May your dear Zac rest in eternal peace.
I am so sorry to hear of your son's passing? Do they know why he died so young? He was definitely an inspiration to us all.
Laura, I am devastated with and for you. Zac reminded me so much of my Jesse. Please know i am really here for you if there is anything I can do. I am not always on facebook because I go on it at the library. Sending so much love!!! Jesse was 24 and he was so much like Zac. Blessings on you for all the work you have done. Blessings on Zac on his great passage. Know your son is an angel now. After Jesse died I heard from him (from within me). He said "Mom I don't have schizophrenia anymore". He was free. All I ever wanted was for him to stick around for a real cure. He never believed he had schizophrenia. Believe that your beautiful Zac is always with you and believe that he is free. Sending so much love Laura!!!
Hi Laura, I just wanted to check in and see how you're doing. I've followed your journey through your posts and blogs. You don't know the countless number of people that you've helped, including me. My 9 year old grandson has mental health issues, I believe he is bi-polar but doctors say he is too young to diagnose. I don't need to tell you, finding the right care has been a nightmare; but your posts and blogs have helped significantly. You have shown me courage and let me know that being an advocate gives us hope for the future. I never met Zac or Leah, but feel that I know both of them; your writing is eloquent and passionate. Thank you for sharing Zac with us. Please know that there is a whole lot of love, support and prayers coming your way from Chicago.
Hi Laura, I would love to be a connected to you by FB. I heard the story about your son. I was raised by a schizophrenia and bi-polar mom who now lives in a nursing home. She has many of the same symptoms. Trusts hardly no one. Believes no one is really there to help her. She calls me and tells me not to call her anymore because I am not doing anything to help her. She wants to go to the hospital she gets there and tells the doctors they do not know what they are doing.
I, too, have sons with schizophrenia (actually bipolar disorder with schizoaffective disorder), I, too, will never give up the love I have for my sons and the determination to be there for each of them. I read your "book" on the Bring Change 2 Mind site. I cried. I can relate. I had to give you my utmost gratitude for you and for your ability to share. I understand when the lump comes in the throat and the tears well up in your eyes... My adult sons are now in their forties. They are each married and both are being successfully maintained on Clozaril - a medication I have a love/hate relationship with but truly am thankful. May God continue to bless you and your family. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Please continue your quest to help others in their understanding of the difference between mental illness and mental health - it is so important. Until we meet again, I remain in awe of your story
Hey, I belong to one of the same Facebook groups as you. I just read your USA Today article and watched the video and I just wanted to let you know you're my new hero... I live in MD actually it's about only 20-30 minutes at most south of Baltimore. I myself suffer from bi-polar 1 which had almost crippled my life it hit me late in my high school years and I was transformed into a completely different person my parents were totally lost at first I can almost still hear them telling me that I'm on drugs cause I'm not sleeping or that I'm annoying cause I talk to fast too randomly too much telling me to leave them alone before I drive them Crazy or they threaten to hit me ( which has happened more times than I can count I almost perfected making up lies about the source of my bruises) well long story short I'm 27 now I still live at home I'm on lithium among others and my parents have basically given up on me they tolerate me living here but it's hell sometimes they refuse to do family therapy or talk to my doctors they poke fun at me yell at me kick me out blame illicit drugs for my symptoms last time I was hospitalized at Shepard Pratt in Towson I put them on the visitors list they never showed up or even called to check in on me so I've stopped expecting their trust help or even compliments or love but it's not all bad I'm doing ok now a little better in fact despite not really having any close family or even friends but the point of this too long message is so say you're my hero... The way you help others and the way you love your son is amazing this world could use more like you. Mental disease and health is way too often brushed aside or ignored and the way people differentiate between understanding, funding or treating a physical illness or injury and mental illness is sickening only the ignorant and uncaring truly believe in it. Today I am happy and I'm starting to accept and love myself despite being affected by sometimes very severe bi-polar and deep down I'm grateful for it it's made me a more compassionate and open minded person it's shaped me into who I am today. Tell your son it's going to be ok eventually and he's not alone and I will pray for you guys and also Others who need someone in their life to love them... Thank you for being so amazing and so courageous.
Thank you for posting the information you do. I have depression, work in a group home comprised of residents coping with mental illness too, and there are times when I forget how much they've been through and exactly what they are going through.
Hi Laura, you don't know me but I follow you and know your loss. You "liked" my boat painting and I wanted to tell you a story about that painting. My 30 yr old (as of yesterday) son has schizophrenia and I painted that picture 9 yrs ago on his 21st birthday. The reason for the soulfulness of that painting is because I painted it out of sorrow and grief. I didn't name it until a few years later and the subject matter was only chosen because it was a beautiful little boat on Balboa Island. As the years passed and I looked at that painting I realized that it was such a statement of my son's condition at that time; restrained by an illness while the two slivers of boat in the distance are there but helpless. Thought I would share that as I know you are grieving. I share in your grief and am so sorry for the loss of your son.
I have a son who has been diagnosed with bipolar. He is presently in jail. His fiancee tried to get help for him to no avail. This is his third manic episodes in 10 years. It is devastating.
I have a son with severe mental health issues and he's facing a life in and out of jail. I started a gofundme to help with relocation costs, we live in Kansas now and we've tapped out their resources for him. I did months of research to find an alternative and I found one in Indiana. We live on an income of 733/mo for a family of 5 so moving is going to be a real challenge, and without help I don't see it happening. Jail as you know is not the answer.
First off, let me say that I'm deeply sorry for the loss of your son. You don't know me. But I am a Morris resident and found your story when researching information on what was going on with my own daughter. When your last name sounded familiar from the area, I was dumbfounded to read that you were from these parts. I will make it short. My daughter was born with 22q deletion syndrome which wasn't diagnosed until fifth grade. We just knew that she had a lot of physical abnormalities and learning disabilities. This past year, on the second day of her senior year in high school, she started having severe delusions and anger. She was never an angry person, always very sweet. We had her committed as she was trying to hurt me and talking about suicide. She has since been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It was the one possibility that may occur as part of her genetic syndrome that we prayed would not be a part of her story. I had a large pool of friends and lost most of my close girl friends after her diagnosis. No more phone calls or texts to see how we were doing. No meals brought over when she was in the hospital as was done when she had open heart surgery. My friends scattered and I lost my "support structure." I am a pharmacist and had to give up my position in order to care for her needs. It's been the roughest thing we have ever gone through. Sue Paulson was my daughter’s special Ed teacher for many years and found it to be another interesting coincidence that she's part of your family. I just wanted you to know that from a mom to a mom, I appreciate all that you've done to raise awareness for mental health issues. I understand much of what was written in the USA article. So much work needs to be done in the mental illness area. Best wishes.
I am so sorry for your loss. My son is following, being dragged through a similar situation. I really appreciate your offering families a place to stay and the incredible notebook....I have information scattered about. We need more options within the community when people get out of hospitals...to help rebuild a crumbled life. To give our children what your son wanted....or at least to help provide the opportunities.
They decided to change my sons med. He got worse and worse in the hospital and then he hit someone and they put him in solitary confinement which they call Therapeutic quiet. He has been there for five weeks. Mattress on floor, eating food with his hands. We said he would need help to get beyond this, just like every time he has gone into the hospital for help and they do outrageously inhumane things to him in the name of good. I am trying to focus on what they can do, and I certainly don't want forced treatment in any way. This is his life, and he was having difficulties before this all started but since taking meds everything has happened. As you know there are many parents like us. My belief is we need to speak together to find better ways, not just chemical prisons.