Troubled Minds: Read an Excerpt

Kate, the youngest, also tried to "fix" Mom. Twelve years old at the time, she remembers "trying to figure out what was actually wrong with her, like a puzzle, because I wasn't satisfied with the explanations we were given, but at the same time I didn't really want to know." Kate says that each time Mom went to the hospital, "I purged the house of anything she had touched that I might come in contact with. Some of it was real cleaning, like washing all the towels, doing the dishes, scrubbing the counters and toilets. Others were not so direct, like throwing out all the prepared and opened food that I thought she would have touched—just erasing her existence in any way I could and pretending she was never coming back."

Dad, already feeling low and inadequate as he struggled through long-term unemployment and then underemployment, sank into depression. He wondered how to help his family and himself. He needed help, but as he says, "With mental illness, you don't have a cast on your head or anything else to show that you're a hurting person who needs sympathy."

Because we were all in crisis individually, protecting and preserving ourselves as best we could, we didn't openly reach out to one another and develop solidarity...We desperately needed an outside voice to lovingly name our trouble and call us together.

-from chapter 3, "Suffering People" 

4/28/2013 4:00:00 AM
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