lisa zarcone
Author of The Unspoken Truth


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Mental Health Awareness - Are You Educated?

Mental Health Awareness Month - May 2019

As we are stepping away from child abuse/safety month and now placing our feet firmly into Mental Health Awareness Month, we are continually reminded that there are many things going on in our world and the people who surround us every single day.

Mental Health and Child Safety go hand in hand and we must find balance in how our children are cared for all over the world.    As adults we must be proactive in caring for our mental health.     It is our responsibility to do so, because our thoughts and actions affect all that are in the circle of daily life.

As a young girl growing up my mother suffered from severe mental illness, which was quite a complex mixture of depression, mania, psychosis and grief from the loss of my brother.   She also suffered from diabetes and a thyroid condition.   This combination of mental and physical diseases fought against one another for years as she battled it all.  

Many times, she was misdiagnosed because she was such a complex case.   You can imagine the chaos that was going inside her body and mind.    Unfortunately, there were limitations and lack of knowledge at this time in our lives (the 1970’s era), and mental illness in general was frowned upon.     You just didn’t talk about it, which further complicated my mother’s conditions.

The question that I always ask is this --- 

“When a parent or guardian is mentally struggling without proper support, who helps the child”?   This is a daunting question!

Long story short my mother fell through the cracks of a flawed and limited support system and I fell with her.   My mother’s instabilities opened me up as prey because my mother was making very poor decisions.  She allowed many strangers in our home from all walks of life.   

During her times of mania, she felt like she could conquer the world, and in times of what she called “the great depression” she was like a lead balloon basking in deflated air.  You can imagine what all of this dysfunction did to me as a child, and as time when on I was subjected to mental, emotional, physical and sexual abuse (sexual abuse was by another source).   

Because of the lack of care and support my mother’s mental illness festered to the ultimate levels and she unknowingly brought a perpetrator right into our home and basically offered me up to him.   I was a 12-year-old little girl already damaged by my traumatic home life, and this was the icing on the cake.    The abuse I endured was horrendous and the daily battle was excruciating.

I am sharing all of this, not to put my mother down or mental illness, but to show people that when someone is struggling from mental illness and does not get help the repercussions travel on through a whole family!

We need to continue to advocate for mental health and break the stigma of silence.   I say this so many times “Silence can be deadly”!!   It is not just a physical death; it is an emotional death.

Mental Health struggles comes in many forms.  WE say mental illness but that is a broad term.  There are countless people young and old struggling from PTSD (due to trauma/abuse/combat), depression (chemical imbalance), mania, psychosis, schizophrenia, anxiety, etc.   The list goes on as there are many different components, terms, diagnosis’s and physical health factors that can play into this whole equation.

The best defense that we have to combat this problem is to talk about it, learn about it, and be proactive about it!   This is why I say mental health and child safety go hand in hand because I was on the latter end of this problem.   I suffered tremendously because of lack of knowledge!

I have endured my own mental health issues due to the abuse that I endured.  It has taken me years to sift through the ashes and deal with the rubble of my past to clear the air and my mind.    I do not wish this battle on my worst enemy because the pain and suffering can be unbearable at times, and far too many get sucked up into that sadness and do not make it out alive!

I am one of the lucky ones, and now I can stand here today stating my case because of all the work that I put in.     I also believe I am here for a reason and that is to raise awareness, educate and share my personal experience with all of you, so that maybe one day more children will be saved from this horror and more people who struggle with mental health issues are acknowledged and helped.

We can do great things together if we can support one another along the way.   I ask you to take the time and educate yourself on mental health issues and learn how to get beyond the stigmas.

I ask you to STAND WITH ME, as we raise awareness together.

If you decide to read my personal story The Unspoken Truth A Memoir you will understand my painful journey, and the struggles of my mother.

I wrote my story to raise awareness of child abuse/safety.   My second book that I am working on now is called “The Book of Joann” and this will showcase my mothers’ journey from childhood on throughout her life.   I will share her personal struggles and how it affected our relationship as mother and daughter.

I hope you continue to follow along with me as we take this journey together, educating and raising awareness.

Look around you right now – what do you see?    There may be someone sitting right next to you struggling tremendously inside his/her mind and you do not even know it.


Embrace the Journey and God Bless,

Lisa Zarcone

Author/Child & Mental Health Advocate/Public Speaker/Blogger/Inspirationalist

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Mental Health Awareness Month - Break the Stigma

Mental Health Awareness Month - Break the Stigma