Written by Greg Barber, Eco Friendly Printer
In my family, we unfortunately have mental illness with my younger son. Neil was an outstanding lacrosse player who became Schizophrenic starting in his junior year in high school. Even with his illness progressing, Neil had me say to his classmates at their 10th reunion, “Don’t feel sorry for me, I’m OK” and “If you haven’t achieved your goals in life yet, don’t worry, you still have time”. This was an incredible statement to his classmates, to take care of themselves, from my son suffering from Schizophrenia.
My advice to families going through mental illness is to not point fingers at each other blaming the illness on the other person, as it is beyond your control and nobody’s fault. Be nice to yourselves, and yes, take care of yourself. But do something positive. I set up a charity, in my son’s honor, www.neilswheelsny.com to de-stigmatize mental illness and to raise food for hungry families on LI. Doing this gave Neil and my family a purpose in life, and we have now raised over 100,000 cans and boxes of food, and I speak to families suffering with mental illness.
During this awful pandemic, we all find ourselves struggling to pay bills and worrying about our health. Many of us are working way too many hours and stressing out. I say, take a break. Go for a long walk, work out, play golf, do anything to rest. If you get sick, you can’t help others. “Take care of yourself.”