“Tell them that mental illness is for real.”

cherryblossom_cover_smThe reasons that our brain can fly into madness are as mystifying as a trip into outer space.  The photos, the words, the creative simulations that bring us close to flying through the universe, or walking over moon dust, seem like make believe.  Traveling to an illusionary world, where neurotransmitters pop and crackle like fireworks on the fourth of July, is even more baffling.  Only one percent of the population, roughly 3 million people, make the trip.  They are so unique that we call them by a different name — bipolar.  Becca is one of them.  

Becca was found guilty but mentally ill for killing her five-year-old step daughter, and is serving sixty years in prison.  While writing Becca’s story, and even today, she is unable to remember the moment when she took Dani’s life.  When asked how does she know that she committed the crime, she answers, “because they told me that I did.”

At the conclusion of my manuscript, I asked Becca what she would like her family, friends, and the people of Streator, Illinois to know about her?  “I didn’t know what I was doing, I was out of my mind.  I can understand how some people might try to use mental illness as a way to get out of trouble.  But I had medical evidence  that I was in and out of mental hospitals and had a history of black outs.  It wasn’t like I was faking it.”   She went on to tell me that she wished that Dani was with us.  I miss her so very much and I love her even more.  “Just take my feelings,” she said, “and put them into words.  You’re good at that.  Make them see that I was sick then, but I’m different now.  Tell them that mental illness is for real.”

For more information on Becca’s story read “Cherry Blossoms & Barren Plains:  A woman’s journey from mental illness to a prison cell,” by Larry L Franklin

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