This week my oldest son graduated from high school.
It took an extra year, but he did it. I am very proud of him.
I am proud of his brother, and sister too.
L-R: Middle Son 'Z', Oldest Son 'J', Daughter 'A' with her daughter (our granddaughter)
It was a family affair.
L-R: Z, A (their father - my ex husband) and J
Have you ever seen the movie "A Beautiful Mind"?
My son has a beautiful mind and every day he deals with the same challenges that are portrayed so well on that movie. When he was very young, he was diagnosed with a form of autism. Over the years things changed for him, evolved. Things became dangerous and volatile for all of us at times...never more so for J...because he was not in control of what was happening. I cannot imagine the confusion, frustration and fear he must have felt as his symptoms overwhelmed him. After he turned 18 his diagnoses was official, schizophrenia. (He is okay with me writing about it.)
Things are not easy for him, they never will be. However, he is moving forward and learning how to control his disease.
His brother "Z", took the major impact of living in a house overtaken by schizophrenia. It was never easy. "Z" was our sense of humor. He was the one who lightened the mood and often was our reality check.
It has been a road filled with dangerous pot holes, twists, turns and at many times complete devastation... for all of us. When one family member is impacted so dramatically from mental illness it can erode the entire family structure which causes a ripple effect throughout.
Society's lack of compassion for the mentally ill causes shame, which only adds to the burden on the family, limiting the support system, because you are afraid to share. Being a parent of a mentally ill teenager, the question is always there in the back of people's mind "what did you do to him?", "did you abuse him?" often they assume schizophrenia is caused by abuse. It is not.
Somehow, 'J' overcame, we all persevered. 'J' now has his high school diploma and is planning on attending community college this fall.
I am so very proud of him.
All of my children have completed high school, through adversity, struggle and chaos you cannot imagine.
I am proud of all my children.
Our Granddaughter is next...in about 18 years or so.
I have learned success is to be measured not so much by the position one has in life, as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.
~Booker T. Washington