Thursday, July 14, 2011


I attended my first NAMI meeting tonight. I have no idea why I haven't been to a meeting until now. Per the confidentiality agreement I’m not allowed to talk about stated meeting. But I suppose I can talk about NAMI in general and my own personal response.
NAMI is a beautiful organization. The acronym stands for National Alliance on Mental Illness. They support people and families with mental illness. Aiming to reduce the stigma of mental illness, they structure support in a gazillion different ways, perhaps too many to count. Support groups, educational classes for families, community wide fund raisers to increase awareness, and more are all part of the NAMI package.
Of course, in going to such a meeting I couldn’t help but ruminate on my brother. I couldn’t help but dwell on the fact that I found a beautiful organization, six years too late. I couldn’t help but feel guilty for not finding these people--committed to plugging some of the holes in the treatment and service to the mentally ill after his death.
But that is not the point of NAMI. NAMI is not so much about wallowing in your guilt over what you should have done, or would have done, or maybe could have done to help someone. NAMI is about holding all of these should of, would of, and could ofs and deciding to walk forward anyways. Its about recognizing your own limitations, your own humanity, your own shortcomings, and still getting up in the morning to put your shoes on. And so I shall.

In case you are interested in checking NAMI out, here's the national website.

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