Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Consumer Critique: Why Did She Jump?

Disclosure: I received complimentary products to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own. 

Why Did She Jump? by Joan Childs is a powerful tale of her daughter's suicide and her own journey towards peace and healing. Pam, like Six million people in America, suffered from bipolar disorder. Ironically, both Pam and Joan were psychotherapists and sought treatment for Pam's bipolar, yet she still finally succumbed to the journeys. 

The book looks at the effect bipolar had on Pam and on the family. It's a heart-wrenching, yet cathartic, story to read for anyone who has been close to someone with mental illness or suicide. 

I had a chance to post a Q&A from Joan Childs. 

Q: Why Did You Write This Book?
A: I was compelled to write it. It was as if I had no choice. Grievers are nocturnal and the computer called to me each night and my muse drew me to write. I must have used it as a catharsis, a way of discharging the pain of losing my daughter. I sometimes thought it was my daughter who wrote the words I felt in my heart. In addition, I thought the book would be a legacy to leave to my other children as well as to help other families who have suffered similar struggles of mental illness and suicide in their families. The process of loss and grief is a topic that needs to be addressed.

Q: What have you learned from this tragic experience about loss and grief?
A: Everyone experiences loss and grief differently. Loss and grief depend on many factors. There are stages we all go through as time passes. No two people experience it the same. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Grieving is the healing feeling and it is vital that we grieve our losses in order to move forward. It eventually becomes a personal choice: to be a victim or a survivor? However, we can't make that choice until we feel the feelings. We can't heal what we can't feel.

Q: What were the issues coupled with this illness; bipolar disorder?
A: It is not an easy disorder to diagnose because it mimics other mental illnesses, not unlike Schizophrenia. To secure a differential diagnosis, it takes time. Our health system lacks so much to support and care for this illness. Quite often there is nowhere for patients to go to be effectively treated. The admission to a psych unit in a hospital often makes the outcome worse because the hospitalization is very short, not leaving adequate time to care properly for the patient. Patients with this disorder need long term treatment and our health care system does not support this need. Quite often addiction to drugs and alcohol are ways for patients to manage their feelings. So, if addicted, they have what is known as a dual diagnosis: addiction and bi-polar disorder. It is impossible to make a differential diagnosis without first dealing with the addiction.

Joan E. Childs, LCSW, has been in private practice since 1978. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker specializing in couples therapy, known as Encounter-Centered Couples Therapy, trained in the first three year Master class with Hedy Schliefer, LMFC. Joan is an expert in Codependency, Inner Child Work, Original Pain Work, and Second Stage Recovery. She is certified in many modalities including a master practitioner in NLP, (neuro-linguistic programming), a master practitioner in EMDR, (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), Supervision, Hypnosis, PAIRS, (Practical Applications for Intimate Relationship Skills), and is a Certified Grief Counselor. Joan provides lectures, workshops and seminars dedicated to her profession of mental health and women's issues. She is a spokesperson for bipolar disorder and suicide.

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