You can see Just Me Jen’s full comment here, but here’s an except from a comment on yesterday’s post.
I think the other benefit of being online and open is that you do get to connect to people. This sounds selfish but being able to give you information and ideas to help Gage made me feel like my illness had a purpose. I could help someone! I had always hoped that might happen but really never have known because I have a low comment blog.
When Jen started to read my blog (5 years? 6?) she came across it by chance. She’d Googled a kidney related thing and ended up staying for the crisis that was Gage at the time. Jen is an adult who suffers from mental illness and is an amazing advocate for herself. She’s been sharing her story for years. She is one of the reasons that we did finally decide to share Gage’s story…she’d not benefitted from being open. I’d reasoned that one day I wanted it to be better for Gage.
Gage was suffering and struggling. The weeks turned into months and the months into years. We were getting little help from our care team, even though he was in therapy and seeing a psychiatrist as well as a nephrology team.
I don’t know how many emails Jen sent me or how many I sent her (hundreds?), but they were all essential in understanding where Gage was coming from. I believe that I was able to help Gage sooner by understanding some ways I could help him cope. We’ve been lucky to have Jen’s wisdom. Her compassion.
I am forever grateful to Jen for reaching out to me at a time when I felt alone. I believe that Jen taught me one of the most important things about loving someone with mental illness when they are spiraling, cycling, manic or changing meds…
I blogged about it in 2010, in What she gave me.
The one thing I clung to then and still remember today as being the single most important thing to me was that Gage needed us to keep on moving on with life. When he was spiraling (everyday in some form) he needed to see that we accepted him and expected him to pick up life right where he left off. Through his manic periods he needed to know that we unconditionally loved him and believing he could move again in the world showed him that, just in the believing.
This is a prime example of why we share. Why we share faces. Names. I am hoping another parent, spouse, friend learns something about how to support their loved one. Maybe one day, Gage will be to someone what Jen has been to us.
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