In The Eyes Of Mental and Medical Illness by Cherrie Chandler

I am a 36 year old single mother with bipolar and depression to four children with some sort of mental illness or medical illness. Pertaining to many mental health facilities and many suicide attempts, I have struggled all my life to stay sane.

First off I have a 16 year old daughter Marisa, she is a brilliant girl that can become whatever she wants to be. But her bipolar, anxiety and depression get her down. Counseling won’t help because she won’t talk to others. So I tend to pray a lot. She has just got into horse therapy. Where she goes with a lady from church and they groom the horses, clean stalls and just the surrounding has found her comfort. She also has Von Willa Brans disease which is a form of hemophilia. Which keeps her from any contact sports. She will be playing tennis this summer and horseback riding to keep busy.

Then there is Mitchell my sweet loving boy. Who sees the world different then all of us. He is scared of it. Mitchell is paranoid schizophrenic and has a chromosomal abnormality. Mitchell has tried to or threatened to kill our family and his friends in the past. He is also mentally a 4 year old boy. Unfortunately our mental health facilities here in Michigan denied him residential. Finally, 2 years ago, we found a great psychiatrist, and the meds he is on have helped. No suicidal/ homicidal actions. He says the voices and the visions are gone. But Mitchell is still scared on a daily basis. Scared to walk in another room if a light isn’t turned on or if he thinks those scary things are around. He hasn’t gone outside more than 15 minutes because he is scared what will happen. It’s a day by day struggle.

Third there is Meiky who is 8 years old. Meiky has asthma, allergies, epilepsy, and is autistic. Meiky didn’t learn to talk until he was about 4 1/2 years old. He was scared to touch rice, sand, grass and water was his biggest fear. Meiky takes medication on a daily basis to be able to make it through school. My mornings are like hell. He whines about his clothes, he whines about what he’s going to eat. He is very aggressive with people especially his siblings and especially Mitchell because he knows he is weaker then him. He also takes many other meds that could have an effect on his attitude but they are for health issues.

Then there is Madyson. The baby of the family. She is 3 almost 4. She seeks continuous attention even though she gets it from everyone. She has severe anger issues. She bites she hits she kicks and she threatens. We don’t know what it is. Either she has the same thing her brother Mitchell has, even though she shows characteristics of it or because of the trauma she has seen with him acting that way. She is just doing it. She will soon have an in home therapist.

As I have been through so many obstacles. I’ve come further in my relationship with God. I go to as many groups as possible to become more aware. I’ve been in leadership groups, advocated plenty of times at meetings and IEPs. And I know my purpose in life is to help other parents/caregivers. Teach them how to deal with these situations, refer them to groups and show them how to advocate, become better, and learn about all they can do. To help their children to become successful no matter their diagnosis with mental or medical issues.

Submitted by Cherrie Chandler