Dear Mr. President,
I am your typical, lower middle class citizen in a lot of whys. For the most part, I just want to work hard, do my best for my husband and children, and be left alone to create my own life.
But that’s not why I am writing. I am writing you for something much more important than my own wants or needs. I am writing you because of my experience with mental illness. Schizophrenia to be exact. My grandfather had it, my mother and her three brothers have it and my sister has it as well.
Sir, if you do not have any experience with Schizophrenia, let me tell you, it is a disease that rips your heart out into pieces and leaves you to exist with the bloody, broken fragments. There is no other way for me to describe it. It is a horrific disease for everyone involved. No one escapes without damage.
You cannot force someone to get help or make them take their medication. And when they try to kill themselves, from the mental pain they suffer, from the inability to cope, they are held for 72 hours and then let go…again…and again…and again…and again…..and again…and again.
My sister will not let us help her and so I wait for the call. Every day when the phone rings, my fractured heart stops for a moment because I know this could be it. She doesn’t want to be our mother because it took a part of our souls to grow up with an actively, undiagnosed Schizophrenic mother. But she is just like our mother was (before our mother was medicated). And so we watch it happen all over again, except for this time our mother is watching it too.
Unless you have experienced it yourself, you cannot imagine the pain of watching yet another loved one become smothered further and further by this disease, not knowing if they will find the power to fight their way back and feeling like you’re powerless to stop it.
I don’t claim to have any answers. God, I wish I did. I really do. I just feel compelled to write you in hopes that maybe, just maybe, this will reach you. You are the leader of our great and sometimes frustrating nation, you have the ability to influence great change. I have never been to Washington…but it seems like it could have a lot in common with Schizophrenia; frustrating and infuriating, ripping the hearts out of those there.
I cannot relate to the struggles of Washington and I pray that you cannot relate to the struggle of Schizophrenia…I wish no one could. But I ask for your help. Please learn what you can about this disease and help where you can. It is leaving a silent path of destruction across our nation, ripping families apart and taking people’s lives. If it were a foreign enemy, we would be in a state of emergency. If it were cancer, it would be shouted from the rooftops and those inflicted would be given love and support and help…but it is schizophrenia. So we silently stand back and wait until the fractured hearts stop beating. But I refuse to be silent anymore.
Mr. President, please help.
Amy Lucille Kish