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Penny’s Story

As an adult in his thirties, my son was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder.  However, there were indications that he was dealing with ‘something’ much earlier in his life. As parents, his father and I sought counseling for him when he was about fourteen.  He went on to graduate from high school then college, with honors in a double major.  In his late twenties he says he started to self-medicate, which ultimately led to his return home and a need to restart. It was then that he was treated for depression and started to attend Narcotics Anonymous.

In his early forties, he experienced a triggering event which led to a relapse into drug use and a debilitating state of depression.  It would be two years before my son and I spoke again and three years until we saw one another again.

One late evening I read an announcement of a NAMI Family-to-Family course being taught for family members living with adults with mental illness.  In thirty six hours I was sitting in my first of twelve classes.  By the end of the course I realized that my son was now dealing with a Major episode of depression and whatever self-medication was occurring, the depression had to be treated and he needed my love and support to make that happen. Together we found a treatment program for him.

My story exemplifies the impact NAMI Wake can have on those with mental illness and their families. Your gift will help other mothers realize the disease their child is facing and provide avenues for her to advocate for access to on-going, supportive mental health services for her child.

My son illustrates what can happen when access to consistent, on-going and supportive mental health care exists.  How proud I am to say he is currently enrolled in graduate school, leads three support group meetings a week, has a part time job and is a research assistant at the University he attends.

Please join me in supporting NAMI Wake. Your gift will help empower many more mothers in the fight to save their child’s life.

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