Welcome to 2013! If you are like me, you have taken some time to contemplate and review the past year. I like to do an inventory of what went well, what went askew and what, if anything, really went off the rails.  The good news is that most of the past year was pretty darn good; especially given the crisis I was in during the year prior. This past year found me coming out of the crisis, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and creating this blog as a way to share my experiences and lessons learned with the entire Internet! (and by “entire Internet” I mean it went global with readership in nearly 30 countries to date!)

My intent for the blog from the start has been to be an expert of my story; to share tools I discovered and information I learned with those who are experiencing difficulties supporting a loved one with mental health challenges.  Through it, I found my voice, my passion and a strong desire to help others by sharing my story and advocating for improved services and better support. The experience has also been incredibly raw, scary and leaves me feeling quite vulnerable each time I publish a post to the blog.  Yet each time I do, it is met with positive feedback and gratitude and I know that I am making a difference.

As I think about where this journey will take me during 2013 and what my next steps are, I’ve had to take a long look at where I still have hurt and sadness that needs to be addressed as a result of my personal experiences with mental illness.  Sounds simple, but just because I know that I have to address some deep emotional feelings, doesn’t make it any easier to determine what I really need to look at and what I don’t see.

There is an old saying “you don’t know, what you don’t know”.  Right? Isn’t that the universal “get out of jail free card”? Or is it? As I think about it, I wonder if we really do not know or if we choose not to see it.  My guess is, for the most part (major trauma events excluded), the latter. I believe that, generally speaking, it is a choice not to recognize those things inside of us that cause us pain. I also realize that we, and more specifically I, have to be ready and willing to look at it before the healing can begin.  Even though I have done so much healing over this past 12 months, there are still parts of this story that have been too deeply painful for me to look at.  There is still so much heartbreak around not feeling as though I could help my son enough during his darkest days and I am still coming to terms with the sadness I feel when I think about his attempt to end his life.  There are also other deeply painful situations that I haven’t even started to look at, situations and experiences that broke my heart over and over again.

It’s easier to focus on the good stuff. My son has really come a long way these past 12 months. He has kept himself grounded and has not had any major crisis along the way. I have come to a place of “new normal” even though it is as polar-opposite from my old normal as I could possibly imagine.

I celebrate my son’s progress. I am grateful to see and be able to share that there is light and normalcy that comes after a crisis. The proverbial rainbow did show up after my storm and I am grateful.  However, I know that I need to continue to focus on the parts of me that are still in need of love and healing.  I believe that you can’t heal what you don’t see, but I am choosing to seek out those things, so that they can be healed.  I am not going to bury those hurts away, because ultimately, life has a way of “forcing” you to see the things that you do not want to see and I will have to face them sooner or later.  I am choosing sooner.

Thank you all for your continued support, your stories and your feedback!

Please feel free to email me your thoughts and recommendations to farfromparadiseblog@gmail.com.

You can always send me an email with any questions regarding this information or any other mental health system question/inquiry.

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