Personal Note…


For those who aren’t connected with me on Facebook, you may not have heard some personal news that has had me shaken for the past few days.

On Tuesday morning, my mother passed away. (obituary)

I would classify what I am experiencing as a really complex story of grief. Mix in a complex amount of mental health challenges, mental and physical abuse, trauma, and the complex inter-family dynamics that all of those factors create.

From the age of when I was three, my mother lost her vision, that loss, amplified signs that my family had noticed for years, but couldn’t quite identify. The signs of what professionals diagnose as paranoid schizophrenia.

The mother that I knew always was affected by this challenge. Some of her delusions resulted in mental and physical abuse. Notice that I said her delusions resulted in.

One of those instances resulted in my witnessing my father’s attempt to take his life. Fortunately, for about four years, that memory was locked away in the back of my mind. Until someone at the middle school of my school district successfully completed suicide when I was in high school. For about two weeks, I couldn’t understand the flashes of memory that were coming to me. Then that last piece of movie frame was inserted into the movie reel, and the movie was finally able to complete itself.

This was my first experience with the debilitating nature of mental health challenges, the loss of control, and in this case the simultaneously being in two realities, our consensus reality, and the reality of being 11, and looking out of my bedroom window at my sister’s house.

Thankfully, as time went on, unless there was something that happened to trigger that memory, the second reality became less frequent.

At 12, after my father passed, one of my mother’s delusions which was emotionally hurtful, led me to need to do something, anything to get away from that environment.

Up until 5 years ago, when she needed to go into a nursing home, my sister and I would go into her house weekly to see that she had anything that she needed to get.

On May 11, 2014, I posted this article on this blog entitled “Mother’s Day“, as a compliment to an earlier response to the Wall Street Journal’s April 1, 2014 editorial called “The Definition of Insanity” (“Re: The Definition of Insanity“).

I re-posted these articles in memory of my mother.

About Joseph Alex Martin

Joseph Alex Martin is a Copeland Center-certified Mental Health Recovery including Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) Advanced Level Facilitator. Joseph began utilizing his own WRAP in 2008 following his certification as a Peer Support Specialist. Joseph was a Certified Peer Support Specialist in Pennsylvania for 9 1/2 years, and is now living in New Jersey and working in New York. In his role as a Certified Peer Support Specialist, Joseph supports the recovery of his peers in their plans to take action to recover wellness in their lives.
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