Stephanie Dawn Milton, 55, of Chatsworth, Georgia died from bipolar disorder and suicide in recent days. I find that important to say to hopefully, maybe, help reduce the stigma around the word.
My mother struggled with mental illness for the entirety of my life, and grappled with the feeling that her illness was a moral failing or weakness.
She loved sunflowers, horses, all types of feline, and owls. She wanted to visit the tropics one day and retire in a mountain cabin, although those days will never come.
She had a heart of gold, although she most certainly thought it was three sizes too small. She was “prickly,” some would say. But those familiar with mental illness may simply recognize that as a symptom of bipolar disorder and agoraphobic tendencies.
Coworkers remember her as a nurse who sat with patients who had no family around, a fellow parent who spent her own money buying clothing and diapers for mothers and babies in need, and a friend who would swap shifts with others whenever they needed it.
I remember my mom as doing her best to love and care for me, even when she wasn’t in the headspace to do so. Like all parents, she both succeeded and failed thousands of times over the course of my life. I never questioned whether she loved me or was proud of me, it was clear to me that she did.
If love could have saved her, my
Mom would have lived to see one hundred. However, mental illness clouds your judgment and perception. She couldn’t see how loved she was and how many resources and options were available to her. There was no saving my mother. We fought this fight for the entire 25 years of my life. However, if your battle is still going and you have hope, please reach your hand out for help. Someone will be there to guide you.
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