Five star review number 105

The 105th five star review arrived on my Amazon page on January 29. I was so impressed with what Stace of Australia wrote about Leaving the Hall Light On and her sensitivity to our son Paul’s and our family’s struggles, and the different ways people react to physical vs mental illnesses, I wanted to share it with your here. The gist is: mental illness is an illness just like a physical illness and needs to be recognized as such.

paul tabloid

“I really related to this book. Having experienced major depression I knew a lot of the scenarios and can imagine how Madeline’s son Paul felt. How scared and alone he would have felt. This book is so heart felt and detailed. It’s a real life experience that they can’t take back but have learned so much from. I felt so sorry for Paul’s family and friends. In some places in the book I felt angry with the parents for criticizing their son after he’d passed away, but at the same time I knew that they’re hurting and angry that he left them. It hurts to hear them say ‘life is easier without Paul after he got diagnosed with Bi Polar’. I know that his illness effected EVERYONE around him, but he was still human… just almost ‘possessed’. I keep relating it back to my own life (granted it’s not nearly as bad as what Madeline and her husband had to witness as I’m not bi polar). I thought ‘it’s not our fault that we’re sick’, are we that much of a burden to our families? I know Paul’s side, but it was interesting reading the mothers perspective. And if we are such a burden to our families, imagine how useless that makes us feel to the rest of the world who are strangers with no obligation to love us. I know deep down Madeline and her husband know that as the illness took over Paul it wasn’t his fault that he took his life. It’s no ones fault, just a tragedy that a lot of people with major mental health issues unfortunately succumb to. I praise Madeline for telling her story of her life with and without her son. I can’t begin to imagine how it would feel to loose a child. I haven’t had a child. But I can imagine it would be devastating. Thank you for sharing such a private piece of your life with us to read and know that by writing about it, you are helping remove the stigma attached to mental illness. As I get older, I become more aware of the illness’ effect on others around me. I still have down days but I’ve learnt to keep it under control and try not to let it ruin my day or anyone elses. It IS a selfish illness. You can’t help want to end the pain at times. Mental illness is the hardest illness around. It’s stubborn to treat and what is worse is that some people don’t even consider it to be an illness. This is not to say that physical illnesses aren’t as hard and horrible. I’m just saying mental illness is less acknowledged and accepted. If someone is diagnosed with a physical illness, they get flowers and cards flooding in, sympathy, kindness, time off work, peoples acceptance of the medication given and people’s understanding. Now think about someone diagnosed with mental illness. No flowers, no sympathy due to lack of understanding – we also don’t want it (it makes us feel worse), most people try to be kind and get confused if it isn’t reciprocated every time (which is understandable, but when you’re mentally ill you’re thinking about how you feel more than how other people feel and can be down or vague). To get time off work there’s the awkward conversations and trying not to burst out crying whilst mentioning that you are sick but not wanting to tell them what you have. And then the medication that you hide from people out of fear of them thinking you are crazy. Crazy if you’re on it, crazy if you’re not. The ‘do you know what damage it’s doing to your body’ questions..Doctors pushing you to drug up, friends questioning whether the drugs are over-prescribed or needed. Life is so difficult for everyone when mental illness is involved.The subject matter may be hard, but it’s better not to sweep mental illness under the carpet. ‘Leaving the Hall Light On” is an important book that many people should read. My condolences to the Sharples, RIP Paul.”

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