To the mentally ill who have no voice. Please listen.

cherryblossom_cover_smAfter visiting family in Wisconsin, a place where cold people have warm hearts, it is good to return to our home in Southern Illinois.  I have been thinking about what my next blog would be.  The answer became clear while I was surfing over the internet and discovered a blog that grabbed my attention.  Because of time restraints, I do not follow a large number of blogs.  But this one caused me to quickly click the “follow” button.  The blog, “Weathering the Storm: Overcoming Bipolar Disorder,” is truly remarkable, and is written by Kait Leigh, a young lady who has bipolar disorder.  Kait’s life is one of overcoming the struggles brought on by mental illness, particularly bipolar disorder.  Even if you or a family member do not suffer from bipolar disorder, you should check out her blog,  Where her story is filled with the blackness of night, she has become a truly compassionate and caring person. Please check it out.
I became very interested in bipolar disorder when I wrote my second book, “Cherry Blossoms & Barren Plains:  A woman’s journey from mental illness to a prison cell.”  Rebecca Bivens was found “guilty but mentally ill” for killing her five-year-old step-daugther.  Becca had been diagnosed as being bipolar but was not taking her medications.  Add to that the fact that she was being physical and sexually abused by various men.  Combine the two and you have a formula for a trip into madness.  Now that Becca is in prison and taking her medications, I find it difficult to believe that this woman committed such a violent crime.  Becca, the woman that I know, is a loving and caring person.
Through my research on mental illness, I have discovered that if someone suffers from a severe mental illness, he/she is not necessarily violent.  If untreated, they can be.  But with proper counseling and medication that can become valuable members of our society.  With all of the shootings that make headlines, it is easy to jump to the conclusion that the mentally ill are violent.  We usually find out that each one suffered from a severe mental illness but was not receiving treatment.  Yes, the mental health treatment in the USA is lacking.  The gov’t does not care to spend the money on people who have no voice.  You will learn more about mental illness if you click onto Kait Leigh’s website & blog at
When I wrote my book about Becca, I used different metaphors to describe what a person suffering from bipolar disorder might experience.  Here is one of my metaphors.
“It was as if someone or something, possibly alien, took over her mind.  I can see how an imaginary octopus-like creature might have controlled her thoughts.  Living in the lowest part of her brain and hidden by darkness, this creature, the one I imagined, reached outward with its eight tentacles, each lined with two rows of suction cups, and latched onto her hard.  No one escapes its grip.  When threatened it released an inky-black liquid that allowed it to slip away.  Even if one of it’s tentacles was severed, one quickly regrew, making it impossible to kill.
This octopus-like creature, the one that I imagined, the one that invaded Becca’s mind, is called bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness.  More than 2.5 million American adults, or roughly one percent of the population, struggle with bipolar disorder…..”  

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