October 4-10 is National Mental Illness Awareness Week. n Sadly, a stigma around mental illness still exists. Too often people suffer in silence because they believe no one will understand or that they will be judged. Last year I wrote the following poem about my experience of living with a mentally ill parent. My hope is that it will help other people know they are not alone, and shed light on the impact mental illness has on parent child relationships.
I Didn't Get To Be A Little Girl
I didn't get to be a little girl...
Because too much time was spent
after each of my older brother's EARTHQUAKE SEIZURES,
my mother's attacks of anziety,
and road trips to Bryan Memorial Hospital to visit the psychiatric ward.
Lost count at #7,the time
she had shock therapy,
or maybe it was #4, the time she told me I was
"no daughter of hers". First childhood family memory,
age 6. News we were leaving
my best friends who
lived across the street
to move to Lincoln, NE.
Six years old, going on 20.
At age 10, I could decipher tone and mood, knowing,
with accuracy, if she had
taken her medication
Or if the shoe would drop, requiring another trip
to the hospital
Lincoln was the
"land of little resources"
for families like mine..
No hospital follow up or support,
for the kids or hubby at home,
once the crisis passed.
Between dance classes,
summer camp and roller skating, I became her caregiver, starting
at age 10.
-(c) Sara Minges, 2019
Sara Minges is a transformational storyteller, life coach for women, touring spoken word artist, International Speaker and Founder of Wonder Woman Rising. She's an esteemed member of the Forbes-featured GPS global speaker community where are members are in 120 cities, 29 countries, and 6 continents. Our founder is Fortune 100 global speaker Christopher Kai. She's also the author of 3 full length poetry collections and lives in Overland Park with her orange tabby kittens, Honey and Tazzy. She can be reached at 913-244-8786. To book her for an event, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.