As one of our central focuses as a community, we are dedicated to working to help equip, encourage and empower families to discover additional ways they can support loved ones – children and adults – in their own home, in the often-long journey of finding deeper and more lasting healing.
We know, that as parents, it is often difficult to sort out what really helps and so we have gathered some of the best resources available for parents here. Likewise the atmosphere in our homes is very often influenced by the relationship that exists between the primary caretakers and/or parental figures in the family unit. Here we are sharing some of the resources we have discovered to help strengthen our intimate relationships.
When facing painful emotional challenges, outside support is both welcome and often crucial. Sometimes, though, families can become so focused on their need for outside support that they forget their own capacity to support, care, counsel and help heal within the walls of our own homes.
Miracles at home. Sometimes this will come sooner. Sometimes later. Even when it takes many years, our experience is that more healing always can come – even when others have given up on it. To illustrate this point, we share a story offered by one courageous parent.
The girl in the story struggled with both mental health challenges and addiction – and had “got so bad that the state was going to commit her for life, to a long-term, mental illness state-run facility.” That’s when, this mother recollects, “we said, no, we are taking her home.”
After being in group homes and hospitals for years, this family decided to take her home from the county lock-down hospitals. They describe the experience:
It was a terrifying idea to bring her home. We didn’t know if she would live, or anything. At the time, it was just terrifying. But I could see the state‘s solution was, ―she‘s gone way over the edge . . . she‘s a crazy person beyond belief‖—she was like a real crazy person. Her eyes were crazed, her mind, she was so unkempt. I grieved the death of my daughter for quite a long time. She was just gone and there wasn’t much left. We took her guardianship; we took it all back from the county. They were ready to commit her permanently; they felt they had done everything they could do. . .
When we brought her home, that‘s when the acceptance came. We had been through so many things trying to fix it—kind of like the county, ―we’ve done everything we can do—she‘s not going to fit into normal society. We just accepted, “this is just the way she is going to be” and brought her home. It caused a lot of disruption with our younger son. . . .We just keep pounding it into him, “that‘s just Anna”. . . It took a long-time, it was very gradual; I think we were all walking on egg-shells for awhile . .
Clearly, this was a huge leap of faith and a challenging experience. What did it mean for their daughter?
We had been through 3 years plus with her, when slowly things started to turn around with her. She requires a lot of extra attention and just a lot of understanding . . . She is doing much better—light years better. She has been holding a job—one for over a year and a second job for six months now. She has a singing career now. She still lives at home. She was suicidal for 3 years straight [at the worst], but we haven‘t had any re-occurrence of that for some time. She‘s not the person she used to be…
Doctors said that this girl‘s situation was one of the darkest situations and they couldn’t believe she was doing better; they were totally shocked.
When asked how her daughter had recovered and stopped her drug abuse, this mother emphasized, “she did it all on her own. She was heavily addicted to meth. . . .We didn’t even know that she had made the decision to quit; she stopped the drugs on her own, how she got off the meth I will never know. She made decisions internally. What we did was accept her. What she did . . . a lot of her doing better came from inside of her, maybe from having the right environment.” She added, “When she was surrounded by all these mentally ill people, you‘re not really cared for, you‘re kind of left to [yourself] and you feel hopeless and helpless. That‘s kind of how she felt. When we brought her home, there was a change in the environment, [to more] loving.”
In spite of this mother‘s insistence, it is clear that the atmosphere of warm acceptance in this family‘s home was crucial to the daughter‘s progress:
I’d like to say that we did things, but we didn’t do that much; we would just talk with her gently….She just decided to stop doing drugs. You don‘t probe with questions—that sets her off. It gets to her and upsets her easily. We take whatever information we can get. She just said that she made these decisions; we don‘t know why or what influenced it. A lot of it goes to her. . It was gradual, and it was all her….The state was ready to commit her to life. She‘s gone from that to being a pretty productive member of society. She came out of it all on her own.
She just needed the love and support of her family….A lot of it is validation . . . when people try to fit her in a mode it devastates her and exacerbates everything that is wrong. I’ve adopted an attitude of that‘s just Anna‘—you can‘t use logic, if you try, she‘ll bite you and hate you‘ It‘s just let her be her. . . .When someone is willing to understand her problem and have the flexibility to work with it and deal with it—and understand that she is very different, she tends to blossom.
Last resort as the best resort? Clearly this story is on the far end of the continuum when it comes to intensity. Although this is perhaps an extreme example, it offers lessons for many other situations – especially this one: there is more power and possibility available to us than we may realize. However long it may take to discover or realize it, we believe it’s worth it to consider.
Is this kind of a pathway possible for your own loved one?
Something to attentively consider. Because we believe there is immense untapped potential in “home-centered, community supported” efforts – the great bulk of the resources included here are aimed at helping equip and empower families to know what to do to make their homes sanctuaries for healing.
Here are two video lessons to help encourage your family in offering a haven like we describe above (part of the Mindweather 101 online class):
Things any family could do. Additionally, there are those among us who are passionate about investigating other resources right now to help guide, inspire and support families. At this time, we would appreciate your consideration of five things any family could consider doing to help their home atmosphere be a little more healing:
- Soothing food. Make the food you eat a little more gentle and nourishing
- Soothing sound. Make the music and media you consume a little more gentle and nourishing (paring back on that which is unsettling and despairing).
- Soothing conversation. Make the conversation you have a little more gentle and nourishing – being mindful of how anger and high levels of stress affect all of us
- More movement. Move around a little more! Balance sitting with opportunities to move the body. Your mind will thank you. (:
- More space. Make space for people to be, to breath, to learn and to grow – avoiding coercion and pressure. And working to help your loved one act when they feel ready to.
If this information resonates with you, there are considered approaches for implementing some of these strategies in your own home. Still feels daunting? That’s okay. Let’s do it together. Please join our Sustainable Healing Online Community as we gather together and consider tried and true principles, steps and concepts that can lead to greater understanding and healing in our homes and families.
Don’t underestimate the impact of adjustments in your own home and family. That’s why – from audio podcasts and video courses, to written guides and online community meetings – everything we include aims to help awaken and strengthen these capacities in our homes and families.