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The CMHA near where I live has a Family Support Group that meets once a month called Journeying Together. Caregivers are all on a journey – the journey in search of recovery for our loved ones.

You are all at different places on it. Some  of you are just starting out and are going to face some tough days and probably already have. You will face challenges, some of which anger me as you know from my previous posts, because I wish we were moving forward faster. You will meet some wonderful people in the mental health field just as frustrated as we are at the lack of funding and public education. But they are the reason that my son is doing so well.

This is an excerpt from a blog called Heal Suffering: “Hard work will reap benefits. Recovery occurs in stages, each one a success in its own right. Celebrate each success… Recovery is about progression, not perfection.  Each day is a new chance to begin again.”

As my Family Support Group leader pointed out at one meeting that I attended, “They [our sons and daughters] are doing their best.” Whenever you get frustrated,  remember that. They are doing their best and that is all you can ask.

You can do it. You can help your sons and daughters succeed on this journey. I know, because I did it.

There are so many good things that come from being a caregiver. The joy when your son or daughter finally becomes independent. Those years you put your life on hold, totally worth it. Would I do it again? Absolutely. We all have our limitations, but we too try our best. We do what we can and that is our journey.

There is quote which I cut out of the paper years ago at the beginning of my journey seven years ago: “A strong person knows she has the strength for the journey. But a person of strength knows it is in the journey where she will be come strong.”

About Bonita O'Neill

Bonnie O’Neill is a 67-year-old retired elementary school teacher from Ontario. At the age of 60, she began a seven-year journey – caring for her 26-year-old son who had just been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. This blog documents that journey. She loves to knit and finds that living with someone with schizophrenia is a lot like knitting. Sometimes your work is wonderful, sometimes it unravels, sometimes it gets tangled and sometimes you just want to chuck it.

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