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?
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?
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?
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.
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.