If you haven’t walked in their shoes…..

I clearly recall the day that James* entered the facility I am employed at. His family just dumped him and left.
I was still a volunteer at that time and was assisting one of the Diversional Therapists in calling Hoy. A group of staff members walked past us with him. They were telling James that the car park was just on the other side of the building at the end of the path. I knew they were lying. The only thing at the end of the path was Violet wing. Violet is the dementia unit. Continue reading

Fellow Blogger – Jill from Jill’s Experiences

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Actually the full name of Jill’s blog is Jill’s Experiences with Mental Health, Stigma, Alzheimer’s Disease, Grief & Grieving & Serenade2Seniors but it was a little long for the title of this post. As you can see by the title, Jill writes a lot of amazing articles about these issues. Jill’s posts are a combination of factual articles and memoirs of her life experiences. Her son suffered from Schizophrenia and in her own words this “ripped her family apart”. Jill’s husband later developed Alzheimer’s disease. Sadly she has lost both of these men in her life. On January 3rd, 2012 Jill received an award known as the Ministry of Health’s Shield in honour of her voluntary work in the field of mental health. She was awarded this within the Knesset (Parliament) in Jerusalem. You can read more of Jill’s story on her ‘about‘ page.
She shares wonderful memories of her husband in the post Being with you is like opening a can of Springtime. (How could you not smile reading a title like that)? and shared her anguish of her son’s illness in What we found in our late son’s notebook. In all of my dealings with Jill, I have found her to be an intelligent and lively lady with a beautiful and caring nature.

Welcome to my couch tonight Jill. I am truly blessed to have you here. I want to ask you what prompted you to begin blogging?

After my son developed paranoid schizophrenia and suffered for 16 years as he was medication resistant, he gave up and took his life. Some years later, my husband developed Alzheimer’s disease and passed away four years ago.

I know they are only words, but I am very sorry for your losses. I have found you to be a strong and brave woman. So you began blogging to write about his. How long have you been blogging Jill?

For two years.

And does your blog have a theme?

Yes, I blog about the blame, shame, stigma and discrimination accorded people      with a mental illness, Alzheimer’s or other brain illnesses and other handicaps. I also blog about the coping process and grief and grieving.

I’m sure that you have a wealth of knowledge in these areas. It is so good of you to wish to share this knowledge with others through your blog posts. Have you, yourself gained anything from blogging?

Yes, I have met dozens of people online who mail me and we have conversations.

I count myself as one of those lucky people. 🙂 Has blogging been a way of helping you deal with the challenges in your life?

I dealt with all my challenges before I was able to blog about it all as I wrote two books and many articles and short stories that were published.

So although blogging was not a way of dealing with challenges, writing about them definitely was. (A list of Jill’s books and articles can be found here).
How often are you able to blog Jill?

Every single day.

And where do you find inspiration for your daily posts?

All from personal experience and as I am turning 75 in February, I have had a lot of difficult times, as well as wonderful times as I was fortunate enough to have a husband who knew how to give me unconditional love. We were married in  1959.

How lucky you were Jill to have known true love for such a long time. And you have a birthday coming up! I will have to remember that so that I can wish my ‘blogging grandma’ friend Happy Birthday. You’ll have to let me know the date 😉
Do you have a particular quote or mantra that you believe fits your life?

Yes, and it was my husband’s favorite. Here it is:    

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

I believe the Serenity Prayer is definitely a favourite of a lot of people. Thank you for the reminder to us all.
Whilst you write each day, I am sure that you visit other blogs. What draws you to these blogs?

I find the varied subjects that people blog about fascinating. I am also impressed and a bit jealous of their superior knowledge of computers and the way their blogs are set out compared to mine!

I don’t think there is any need to be jealous. Each person has stamped their individual style on their blogs and you have managed to do the same with your own blog. I have enjoyed chatting with you tonight Jill. Before we go, do you have anything else that you wish to share?

Just thank you for the trouble taken to draw up these questions and distribute them.

Jill, you are so very welcome. Have a beautiful day 🙂