To Tim (my husband) - I am sorry that Connor has been "sick" for much of his life as I know that neither one of us would choose that for him. Thank you for loving him anyway. Thank you for sticking around because I am sure that there have been times when you wanted to run for the boarder! :) This journey would have been so much harder without you by my side. Thank you! I love you!
To Emma - You have been an amazing big sister to Connor! You have always been there for him. I remember you trying to calm him down so many times and sometimes you were the only one who could. I wanted to protect you from the bad times, but you wouldn't let me. You jumped right in and loved your brother no matter what! I truly believe that God gave you a gift that I have seen in very few others that helps you to be there. You talk him down. You give him a reason to live. You never give up. :) You have also been there for your baby sister. She was so scared of Connor's behavior sometimes and you helped to get her out of harms way and you distracted her when she was worried or afraid. I am so sorry that you had to deal with some of the things that you have. I wouldn't wish the hard times on anyone and I wish I could have made them better for you. I love you very much. You are strong and brave and you have a HUGE loving heart. Thank you for sharing that with your family.
To Connor - I am so sorry that your life is not easy, that you have been so sick that you didn't even want to live anymore. I am very proud of you for sticking it out. I know that you have been in some places that I never could have imagined sending you and for that I am sorry. Your comfort sometimes had to come second to your survival. We have been in some scary places together, but at the end of the day you were always willing to do what you needed to do to get better. I am so grateful for that! Don't every stop taking your meds. You need them to survive. It is more than just mood swings for you sweetheart. If you are not on your meds, you are not yourself and it almost always ends in a hospital stay. You need to remember that bipolar disorder to you is what diabetes is to me. We have to take our medicine to stay healthy. You are NOT bipolar disorder. You HAVE bipolar disorder. You can do whatever you want as long as you take care of yourself. I love you!
To Abbie - You were so scared when you were little. I am so sorry that you were. You have so many people who love you. Remember how Mrs. Roberts used to take you to her office at school and just let you play and talk? She did that because she cares about you. Mrs. Clark offered to take you home for me when Connor was in the hopital. All I had to do was call and she would be there to help us out. Emma has always tried to protect you from the worst times. She loves you so much. Connor has worked hard to handle his anger in positive ways so that you are not scared anymore. He loves you too. I am so proud of you for going to counseling with me and talking about your anxiety. You are a very brave and smart little girl and I love you so much!
I am so thankful to all of my family for their support and their love over the years. I am thankful for the custodian at Memorial Middle School who saw Connor's teacher and I wrestling Connor in the parking lot trying to get him into school. He handed me a business card and said, "Call this number. They saved my son's life". I called and it really did make a difference for Connor. That's how we met Amber, the best counselor in the world! She helped me get Connor where he needed to be to get well. That's where we met Sandy, another wonderful counselor. Connor's teachers have been amazingly supportive! They have accomodated him where he needed it and they have also played hardball when Connor tried to weasel out of work he needed to do (ie going to school). I really can't forget Adelle. She works at OSU Psychiatric Hospital. She was an amazing advocate for Connor and his needs.
I hope you are reading this and you are thinking about the HUGE impact that mental illness can have on a family. We usually pull our family in and don't go anywhere when things are not well, but that doesn't mean that we don't need your love and support. A phone call or a card can make a really big difference. Connor and I made a video when he was 11. We encountered some very ignorant people who were afraid of mental illness. I am attaching the video below. It contains a message for everyone. Please BE there for people whether it is directly or indirectly...