Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Mental Wellness: Real Stories from Read Survivors

Stress can kill you, destroy your mental ability to work, deal with family issues or life in general. Stress: a 6-letter word, yet so powerful and destructive in meaning. Financial problems, work related situations, teen issues, anxiety attacks and just the felling of being overwhelmed can often cause someone to give up on life and totally implode. Drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, suicide and unknown mental disorders that have not been diagnosed cause people to do things they would ordinarily never do. Suicide runs high and running away and escaping using many different methods just as high. Yet some might try to seek help where others do not.

Mental Wellness: Real Stories From Survivors is amore than just a book written by people who gave up on life and decided to fight back. It is a book of hope, courage and pro-life. Each story is told by a true survivor allowing the reader to hear the voice of each individual author and contributor to this book. Mental illness is not something you choose but these courageous people chose to fight back and survive. “I Will Survive,” because I am worth it and I have a purpose in this world and I will continue to fight for this worthy cause called LIFE!

Let’s hear the words of the authors and their stories.

Imagine being abused and tormented as a young child. Imagine being raped at three years of age and made to do things no human being should ever endure. Imagine living your life with 30 different personalities. Imagine a family dedicated to Satanism and using their children as commodities as if they were trading stock in the market. Evil incorporated Deb’s life even in adulthood as she relates to all of us. Imagine working with so many counselors only to be used and betrayed by one who is supposed to support and help you and have the behavior rationalized and condoned by another. Hear Deb’s words and read her inner most thoughts that she shares with you. Victimized and frustrated rather than give in and take a step backwards Deb learned many valuable lessons, which she shares with the reader. Deb you definitely have a great talent for writing. This brief article is so powerful and filled with who you are and not who you were. Written with hope and in strong and positive voice you are definitely heard. This reviewer would like the honor of reading more of your work.
Children are precious and every parent is blessed when their children come into this world. Rebecca’s voice is heard next as she shares with the reader her difficulties, her miscarriage and the death of her child who was stillborn. But, despite the flip
 flop behaviors caused by the medications she was given when diagnosed with PCOS, she stayed positive, strong and moved on with her life. With the support of her family, friends and a husband who would not give up on her she managed to get back on track. Read her story and shed tears for her losses as I did, and then smile at the end at her triumphs.

Next we have Mike who lives in an adult home and who learned to deal with life in a more positive way after moving into a home where the staff and residents gave and still give him the support his family could not. As he stated no longer “a spectator in his life, but a participator,” he decided to become a survivor!

The reason I have the honor of reading and reviewing this book is because of the next author Suzanne Robb. Suzanne contacted me and asked if I would be willing to review this amazing book of stories and let the world know that there are so many people who are working hard and have succeeded to get their lives back on track. Thanks Suzanne your voice is next.

Suzanne’s story is quite compelling and powerful as she learns how to deal with her suicidal tendencies and fights really hard to overcome them. Not understanding what caused her physical problems she went as most do to many different doctors for many different tests. With medications she improved but some were not compatible with others and it was long road for Suzanne before she learned what was really causing her problems and how to deal with them. Unexplained and sudden weight loss is one thing but not being able to control her emotions and constant panic attacks another. Agoraphobia and not wanting to leave home is quite debilitating. Read her story and hear her voice and know the courage that she still has and the uphill climb she works hard to maintain everyday.

Adrian suffers from depression and really had no idea all of the symptoms that encompass that word. But, moving back home after splitting with her fiancé Adrian began to move into a serious decline. Not wanting to directly confront her, her mother left a note on her computer suggesting that she get some help. Anger, rage and much more were her answer and denial another. Feeding the Black Dog as she calls Depression is not what anyone should do. With her boss telling her she had to relocate her job, with documentation from her doctors in hand, her appeal was denied. Instead of facing it she buried herself in drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Not a positive solution. Diagnosed with Depressive Illness. But, Adrian did not give in and finally decided to take the medication that would not cure her illness but allow her to live her life and become part of a new publishing company and continue writing and she should. Her words are powerful, her story is real and the end result you need to learn for yourself, as Depression did not win! Adrian Did!

R.M.’s problem is not one that has been solved but it is under control Hearing voices, loud sounds and not being able to focus his attention on anything when out with people, hearing what they say and dealing with the volume in his head has made life really difficult for him. He says it’s like having two television sets on at the same time and the blaring noises running through his head makes it hard to focus. His reality of the world is different than ours and he is dealing with medications that he have helped so far but worried that he will need more. His story is unique and his illness quite different than most. Along with his difficulty to focus for long periods and OCD he shares his story with the reader.

Inspiring, uplifting, heartbreaking yet hopeful each of the stories are different and told in the first person by the author. Each story will endear you to each writer rooting for them to succeed from start to finish as you hear their voices and read their words firsthand. Each story takes the reader back in time to where it all began so that you can experience the ups, downs and successes along with each author.

Parents can be cruel as Christine relates. One mother who abandoned her children but not before abusing them mentally and physically. As an educator this story really hits home and as an educator I would report abuse on the spot. Child abuse is inexcusable and the fact that Christine’s mother enjoyed tormenting her and her sisters causing one to run away and the other to live with their father is horrific. The story is told in her own voice the abuse is described and her pain is felt. This did not only affect her but her sisters too. Read her story and learn how she survived and enter Al-Alon to get help. Child abuse any kind of abuse is never justified.

Losing my sister last year I can understand Lauren’s pain when she lost her brother. The fear, the anger and reason so sad as her brother was diagnosed with clinical depression but this time he did not make it and how he died was devastating to the entire family especially Lauren. Alcohol was her answer including her siblings too. But, Lauren and her family decided to build on his dream to make sure that others survived and each year they hold a benefit the Frank S. Panobianco Benefit to Raise Awareness Of Mental Illness and Suicide Prevention. For anyone needing help or who wants to learn more go to www.fsl.l.lorg.

Take the journey with Elizabeth from the time she was six and raped to the abuse she took at home and much more. From an early age she drank, was depressed and lead what most would feel downhill life. But with the help of one program the Dr. Abraham Low’s Program recovery, which she still incorporates in her daily life plus Al-Anon and the support of the doctors. Forgiving her parents difficult working with mental health patients remarkable.  

Charles lost his wife and things began to spiral downhill and his depression uphill. Working through it was difficult getting help the answer. But, things are still hard for him and the road to recovery has many more bends and curves to whether but with the help Mental Health Housing and now being able to live on his own he is starting to work through it. Added to that he is giving back by becoming a peer specialist.

The final two stories are Katherine and J. Depression is horrible but if you do not give in you will be more than just a survivor. Katherine’s story is truly inspiring as she got herself into an adult residence and now is working with other mental illness patients plus is the President of the adult home. Read her story.

The final story is J called the Darkness. J recalls how she started to feel depressed her life with her family, what happened at work and her rise to realizing who she is and what she was capable of doing. Medication, therapy and working in child protection her husband and four children are her reason for living and herself of course.

I have just touched on their stories but there is much more for you to learn and read. Take all of the journeys with each author and read their stories and cry along with them and smile at their joys and successes. If you need help and someone reaches out to you take it. Family Service League helps individuals for over 85 years. Learn more by going to or call 631-427-3100. You are worth it! Life! It’s too precious to give it up. To each of the authors and survivors thank you for sharing your inner most thoughts and experiences with readers and thank you Suzanne for the honor of reading this inspiring book.
Fran Lewis: reviewer

No comments:

Post a Comment