No words can describe the terror of looking into your child's eyes and seeing nothing there. No way to contact and penetrate that being who was a part of you before birth, loved sight unseen, who now saw nothing. Nothing but a world she mumbled about in bursts of fear, shivering and then shutting down. The helplessness was almost BB's breaking point but I knew I had to find help, first for my loved one, then for the rest of us following her. I needed instruction on what to expect, what I could do to help her- now in the hospital and then once she left. Unfortunately no one wanted to share any information. It was at this low that I found an ever lower truth- the taboo of mental illness. No one came forth to help, no suggestions, no recommendations, nada. In a culture that's all about family, solidarity, opinions and being vocal, the silence was permanent in the latino corner. Through a friend in Crawfordville I was able to contact that local NAMI (National Alliance Mental Illness) chapter, who then helped me find help in Miami.
BB's forever grateful for the NAMI Wakulla group and forever changed by the incident. Gracias a Dios my child was released after three weeks in the ward, but obviously nothing will ever be the same. Babushka will never forget the frustration felt and never wants another mother to go through the same nightmare. I have started a campaign because it's time to end the taboo, time to #StopTheStigma. Mental Illness is just that, an illness. Like the diseases of cancer and diabetes, awareness and education on mental illness are vital.
A video by the National Hispanic Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, League of Latin American Citizens, with a very special speaker, Dr. Antonia Novello- the first woman and the first Hispanic to become Surgeon General of the United States.