“I am no longer climbing an unknown and dangerous mountain all by myself”

 Reflections from a Warrior Moms Community Member

 Sandy D. June 23, 2023

Each Wednesday afternoon nine women get together over Zoom to share their weeks, their stories, resources for treatments, their heartbreaks and triumphs, no matter how big or small they may be. This is done with the help and support of Maggie Smith and Virgil Stucker. These experienced mental health professionals recognized the growing need for a supportive community for Moms’ whose children have serious mental illness and have gone out of their way to provide an environment that can help nurture “the nurturers”.

Ours is the second out of three Mom’s groups that has started, and I can say without a doubt, I am completely thankful to be included. Our group’s journey began a few months back; some Moms were excited, some may have been a bit reluctant, but over the course of just a few months, we have come together to learn, understand, and deeply care about each other, our children, and the journeys we are all on to seek less stigma, better treatment, and a better life for our sons and daughters, as well as for ourselves. Everyone has their own individual and family story, the ages of our “kids” range from 30’s-teens. Their ages don’t matter because the experience of heartache, confusion and trauma is something we can all relate to.

Because options for help are often unconnected and substandard, we know there is no mental health care ‘system’.  This is a “do-it-yourself” illness, where you need to educate yourself and your family, as you seek treatments and therapies. We often have to fight back against the ‘system’ that is offered to take care of our loved ones suffering from serious mental illness. It is scary, tragic, and can feel like you are climbing an unknown and dangerous mountain all by yourself at times as your child’s life hangs in the balance. Guides for this journey are hard to find.

This is happening at the same time that family, friends, and some doctors will tell you that people with serious mental illness never get better. We Moms know better; we know, meet, or read about people who have recovered and we share these stories of hope with one another. We know there is no guarantee, but each of us understands deeply the power of hope and love and are committed to finding a better way forward.

We listen, support, and offer insight to each other because we have all walked this long, hard road and we know that the mental health ‘system’ will never love our children like we do (even when we don’t love them at the moment). Our Warrior Moms meeting is a place to learn, share, grow, and become empowered, and meet some amazing women, who I am honored to call my friends, along the way.