This is rough...but it's my heart…

I got angry at a woman, today. I don't know her, and she doesn’t even know I'm alive. And yet, her very existence, well, more to the point, the existence of the bumpersticker on her car, filled me with a stupid, unreasonable rage.

That f@cking bumpersticker. 

You know the one. It’s festooned with the same innocuous slogan that is plastered on every minivan in America. “My kid is an honor roll student at YourTownHere Middle School.” Really? Who cares? Who really f@cking cares?

My daughter is an inmate at Clifton T. Perkins psychiatric hospital in Jessup, Maryland. There’s no bumpersticker for that.

So, good luck to you, lady, and your honor roll student. Believe me, that sh@t changes without warning. My daughter was an honor roll student, a world-class musician, an actress, a funny, well-loved kid with a beautiful smile and laughing eyes. Now she has schizophrenia.

Or is it bipolar? Or borderline? Or schizo-effective disorder? Or none of the above? The fact that she was diagnosed — or misdiagnosed — under virtually every category in the DSM-V (or is it IV?) is part of the tragedy that has tormented my daughter and my family since she was a child. Because after a being let down and abandoned by medical systems on both sides of the Atlantic, my beautiful daughter could fight no longer and succumbed to the demons that have haunted her for nearly all of her short life.

They raged through her body and soul, writhing like snakes beneath her skin, robbing her of the ability to think, go to school, work or even show the most basic of human compassion and emotion. Her life became a wasteland of days spent searching for and then wallowing in whatever she could find to self-medicate her pain and fear away. The demons had won, it seemed. 

Despite our best and constant efforts, my good wife and myself, weary from the fear-filled days and sleepless nights felt like all was lost. At least, we would often console ourselves, things couldn't get any worse. 

Until they did.