Northern Lakes Community Mental Health has created a new Virtual Recovery Center blog on its redesigned web site. Each day for the month of October, a personal recovery story is being added in recognition of National Mental Illness Awareness Month. The stories are by real people who live in northern Michigan and include words and images created using disposable cameras in a “photobiography” project funded by a federal anti-stigma block grant administered by the Michigan Department of Community Health.
Below is the beginning of Deb’s Story (that’s her photo to the right too!):
When you think of an ideal childhood setting, what comes to mind? For me, lots of room to run, lots of siblings to double as friends, loving parents, good values and strong faith. That was my childhood. I did not recognize until I was much older that my childhood also came with a misconception of what mental illness is. Growing up in Traverse City, I was never allowed to even see the infamous State Hospital. Heavens know, getting â€œtoo closeâ€ could be dangerous. Ignorant thinking perhaps, but acceptable thinking in the 1960â€™s.
It was not until I was in my teens that it actually came out that I had two great aunts that resided at the State Hospital. It had been a well kept secret. My mother, being a very compassionate woman, would bring them to our home for an occasional outing. I remember the blank expressions and constant movements they both had, not understanding why; it was very frightening. I remember thinking, â€œI never want to end up like that.â€