Year 1: Plea for Self-Compassion *

      I wrote this post the day after I poured my daughter's ashes into the Pacific Ocean. Kaylan had such sweet young friends & family members, and I hated the idea that one of them might be suffering and blaming themselves for her death. I'm not sure that I consciously knew about a possible suicide contagion effect, but I felt a need to try and protect them.

DATE: 24 Jan 11

           NAMI helped me when I needed answers to questions about my sweet dad's schizophrenia and is helping me now with questions about my daughter's terminal depression. I urge everyone who needs answers, or who suffers from an illness themselves, to visit NAMI and become educated about mental illness. It is NOT a character defect.
           I feel fortunate to have witnessed the physical manifestations of deteriorating physicality during the times my dad had acute episodes, because I know without a doubt that these can come on lightning fast like food poisoning. It is important that people who suffer depression are aware of this, and ALWAYS REMEMBER to dial 911 first. Before anything else.
           I myself have have suffered 3 periods of depression in my life. Mental illness is a physical ailment exactly like diabetes or arthritis, with varying degrees of severity and times of "flare ups."  Excessive sugar, caffeine, narcotic medications, and especially alcohol exacerbate the symptoms & speed the end of life for anyone who has a chronic illness.
Everyone is precious. Everyone is necessary. Everyone is needed.
           Peace and love, Erica

          Nowadays I'm unsure about the nature of mental illness. There's been so much research over the past seven years that points to connections with autoimmune function, brain structure, bacteria, and other scientific things. The most hopeful thing to me is the work that's being done on mental, emotional, and physical resiliency and wellness.

Link to the National Alliance on Mental Illness

Greater Good Science Center