I often receive free books to read and review and today’s book came through another Facebook post that drew me in. NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) has been a previous Comments for a Cause recipient. The North Carolina chapter is quite active and provides a great deal of help to those who are struggling with mental illness or have loved ones who are affected. I saw a post that the local NAMI chapter had some books to give away and I thought that would be a perfect book for me to read and review.
Behind the Wall: The True Story of Mental Illness as Told by Parents was compiled by Mary Widdifield and Elin Widdifield, MA with a foreward written by John G. Looney, MD, MBA. The book is divided into chapters with each one devoted to the story of one child from the parental point of view. They are honest, emotional, and their words are very difficult to read at times. While I “know” about many mental illness symptoms it is impossible for me to totally understand what it is like to live with any of these diagnoses that were described in the book.
First off, this is NOT an easy book to read. Anyone associated with any type of mental illness knows that there are no easy fixes. There is no magic pill to take that will “fix” everything. Those who suffer with mental illness have a life of medicine adjustment, counseling and therapy, and challenges. But the positive is that IF you can navigate the system there is help available. Maybe the one affected can’t be “cured” of the illness but there are positive things that can be done to help control the symptoms.
One chapter began with the tagline “The journey begins, chaos erupts, and diagnosis seems elusive.” So many of the words of the parents in this book echoed those same words. As I read each selection I realized that without professional help parents feel isolated and adrift when trying to deal with their child. No matter how old your child becomes that is always your child. You always want the best for them. And so you continue, as these parents demonstrated, to search for help and solutions for your child.
This probably wasn’t the best time for me to be reading such a disturbing book, and yes it is at times, as my grief is bubbling near the surface these days but I am very glad I was able to get a copy to read. I plan to share it in my Little Free Library and hope that it reaches someone’s hands that can really glean some help from it. I always believe that it is better to be educated about things and that knowledge is power. Reading this book allowed me to gain a bit more knowledge on a subject that many deal with every single day of their life.
Thanks to Janice Detwiler Kimball and the local chapter of NAMI for a free copy of this book. I am grateful to those who were willing to share and for the authors who compiled and told their stories.
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I’m so glad that talking about mental health is becoming a little more open and that there is so much more information available. I’ve learned a lot over the past few years but especially this past year with the pandemic affecting a lot of people and their mental health. As a parent watching your child deal with mental health issues must be so difficult. I can’t even imagine.
Interesting. I do imagine it isn’t an easy book to read, but hopefully, it will help many. I think with all of the isolation we’ve all experienced and particularly with children and teens, there is going to be more instances of mental illness, severe depression, etc. Parents are going to need all the help they can get.
Thanks for sharing this book. I need to get my hands on a copy. And then review it. Education is vital in creating understanding and empathy. Such an important topic. Thank you for focusing on mental health and how it affects families.
I will send you
This one!!! I thought you might be interested in it and you can pass it on when you are finished!
I thank our Lord that the illness of mental health is being studied more. People are just beginning to see it as a real illness. My heart goes out to people and family struggling with it.
Oh, thank you so much, dear friend. That is incredibly sweet of you. I look forward to reading this book. Thank you for increasing awareness of mental health issues.
I’m reading a hard book right now and it is taking me a long time to finish. I think it’s because it is so deep. Such an important subject and love that you are sharing it with your Little Free Library to share the resource with others!
Thank you for the throughtful review! I do hope you encourage people to buy their own copy as well, so they can write their own notes and thoughts in the margins and also explore the questionnaire in the back at different phases of their journey. Stay healthy and keep working towards understanding about mental illness.
Of course! I included the link so folks can find a copy that way. I shared my copy and they are in turn sharing it with someone else who will benefit from it but of course buying your own copy is a great idea. Thank you for your story and sharing of yourself,