My book, Sooner Than Tomorrow — A Mother’s Diary About Mental Illness, Family, and Everyday Life, has been six years in the making. In a few days, it will become available on Amazon. The journey continues.


(page 445 in Sooner Than Tomorrow)

First, thank you to my son, Patrick. Thank you for your poetry, your Facebook posts, and your life. You’re the most courageous person I’ve ever known.

Thank you to my daughters, Megan Mace, Marisa Farnsworth, and Kerry Joiner, for reading Sooner Than Tomorrow and giving me permission to put it out there, sharing our family with the world. Your endorsements mean everything to me.

Thank you to everyone I mentioned in the telling of my story. We’re all in this thing we call “life” together.

Thank you to early readers: Ann Hedrick, Pat West Guinn, Kathy Hayes, Mary Lyn Rusmore-Villaume, Rosemary Sarka, and Irene Underwood. You gave me the cojones to believe in myself.

Thank you to the cheerleaders, those of you read my book excerpts week after week at and sent me emails, text messages, cards, and letters: Joan Andersen, Tama
Bell, Chris Biswell, Judy Bracken, Madeleine Cunningham, Bev Chinello, Deborah Fabos, Anne Schmidt Francisco, Heidi Franke, Sheila Ganz, Jeanne Gore, Joyce Herrerias, Swannie Hoehn, Rose King, Nancy Krause, Joan Logue, Grace McAndrews, Jan McKim, Mary Murphy, Fran Neves, Liz Noel, Teresa Pasquini, Den Proudly, Karen Riches, Mary Sheldon, Stace Shurson, Sandy Turner, Kimberlee West, Annette Williamson, and to so many more of you who left comments, likes, and loves on Facebook. You kept me going, especially on the days when I thought, what am I doing?

Thank you to Sharon Lefkov, Kerry Joiner, and Michele Joiner for proofing my pages for spellings and typos. Thank you to my little brother, Jim Moon, for bringing my old photos back to life. Acknowledgments also to Sue Clark, my first editor, who read every page out loud with me and assured me, “Yes, this is interesting.” And to the Lincoln Library writer’s class who listened, in the beginning, when Pat was still with us.

Special hugs to Pat’s Facebook friends.

Thank you to Michele DeFilippo and Ronda Rawlins at 1106 Design for your professionalism and guidance.

And finally, thank you to all of you—those I know and don’t know—who are reading Sooner Than Tomorrow. Readers are the whole point of writing. The why in the what if.

—Dede Ranahan

P.S. Love to my heroes—the millions of mothers of the seriously mentally ill who fight for their children every single day.


YOU DON'T MATTER by Theresa Assunto

Imagine having a problem, a medical problem.

You go to the doctor. The doctor says, "I can’t help. I don’t understand what’s wrong with you."

So off you go to a specialist. Surely the specialist can help. The specialist takes his time, talks to you a bit, and gives you meds. "These meds," he says, "will help. Maybe."

So you take those meds. The meds don’t work. In fact, they make you worse. So off you go back to the specialist. This is where it gets fun. The specialist says, "Well, I’m not surprised you got worse. That’s a side effect. Let’s give you meds to counteract the side effects."

Here’s the best part. The supposed specialist then says, "I really can’t diagnose you for about ten years. I'll give you different meds during that time and hope one might work."

At this point, you're so sick you can’t make medical decisions. If you're lucky, you have someone to advocate for you. Oh, and did I mention that your friends and family don’t call to see if you or your caregivers are okay? They think you simply need to shake it off and your caregivers are doing it all wrong.

After years of medicines that have destroyed your body, after years of hope that you'll get better, you have to wonder why you keep trying. You're now alone and still getting sicker. That diagnosis, the one that was promised long ago, is still elusive. Was your recovery ever really going to happen? Did all those specialists kick the can down the road while racking in tons of money?

Finally, when you’re at your sickest, you’re put in handcuffs, loaded into a cop car, and taken to a hospital. The hospital staff doesn’t help you either. They give you different meds, ignore you for ten days, and send you home. You don't have cancer. You don't have heart disease. You don't have lupus. You don't have diabetes. You have a serious mental illness and you don't matter.

UPDATE 9/6/2018: After six years at one not-for-profit practice, my son hasn't been diagnosed properly. He's not getting any better. He sees a nurse practitioner, not a doctor, for 20 minutes every two months. She consults a psychiatrist who has never met my son to make medication decisions.

So, we waited eight months to get an appointment with a psychiatrist in a practice that calls itself "neurological associates.” We finally saw this doctor and told him, “ We want help. We want a diagnosis. We want testing.” The doctor sent for my son’s records and we returned today. The doctor says to my son, “You have a chronic disease, most likely schizophrenia. I really can’t help you but I’ll continue to see you if you want me to."

My son is mentally ill not stupid. My son was excited to go to this appointment. He thought he'd get help and the voices might go away. My son is devastated. He says, "See, no one wants to help me.” My son, obviously, doesn’t want to go back.

The doctor says, “I'll see your son again if you want me to, but isn’t this a far ride for you?”

I am sad and angry.  What doctor tells someone they have a chronic disease but “Sorry, I can’t help you?”  He also said, “There’s no testing for your son. No hospital here will take him off all his meds and try to diagnose him.”

I'm angry but not surprised. Today is our 25th wedding anniversary. My husband's sad. We hugged and he went to bed. No celebrating here.


Hi Everyone,

I'm back from my blog break and posting more stories on Blog 1 (Your Stories) beginning tomorrow. My blog of Sooner Than Tomorrow - A Mother's Diary is completed. I'm leaving the blog (Blog 2) open for new readers while I research the best way to get my writing published. It's a daunting undertaking.

While attending a writer's conference, one speaker gave me this good news. She said (to the audience): "The publishing world is changing."
"If you're an unknown writer over 70, don't try to find a publisher."
"If you're an unknown writer of a memoir, don't try to find a publisher."
"If you're writing in diary format, don't try to find a publisher."
"If you're writing about mental illness, don't try to find a publisher."
"If you're writing about someone who died less than ten years ago, don't try to find a publisher."

Hmm? My writing checks all her boxes. What should I do? Give up? Go away? Write something else that means nothing to me? These are fighting words.


I've lots to consider. If I self-publish, among other things, I have to buy an ISBN number, apply for a LCCN number from the US Library of Congress, hire a professional cover designer, hire a professional graphic designer to format the interior pages of my print book and/or to convert it to an eBook, possibly purchase an editorial book review, and register my book with the US Copyright Office. 

Then there's marketing. Posting my book on Amazon doesn't cut it. People have to know it's there. They have to be directed to it.

So I'm asking myself, what do I want to accomplish? I know I want my diary in finished book format per my original intent which was to leave a book for my descendants. Should I defy all odds and look for an agent/publisher? Should I publish my book myself? If you've read A Mother's Diary on my blog and you have any thoughts on this, please let me know. Your feedback will help me sort out what I should do going forward.

If you haven't read A Mother's Diary, it's still available on Blog 2. To read My Diary from the beginning, read the Introduction in the navigation bar above, then go to "Scenes from the Trenches" June 14, 2017, in the Archives on the right hand side of the blog page. To continue reading, scroll up in the archives from June 14, 2017. 

I didn't know, as I was writing, that I was capturing the last year of my son's life. In A Mother's Diary, his voice comes through loud and clear. However this goes, I'm grateful. In these pages, Pat will always be alive.

All my best, Dede

P.S. If you aren't subscribed to Blog 1, it's continuing. Hope you'll sign on. If for nothing else, for Happy Pics :-)

DEPRESSION by Donna Hairston

Two weeks ago, I ended up in a difficult situation. At the time I thought I handled it pretty well. Even when I went to therapy that Monday, I was convinced that I wasn’t bothered.

The next day, I didn’t leave the bed. The bathroom and kitchen were my only destinations. The day after that the same. Since I’ve been through this a million times, I knew what was coming.

A visit from The Monster.

You would think that I’d be able to fight him off by now. That I would have his death planned out. Nope. He’s a crafty bastard. He sneaks up on me. He wears nice clothes most times. Whispers sweet nothings. I drop my guard thinking he’s a friend. And then….

The bed is my bestie. Pajamas and ratty t-shirts become my uniforms. My hair is styled into a matted afro. Hygiene is basic and quick.

Mirrors avoided. Conversations muted.

Insomnia. Staring at the TV. Reading is limited to medicine bottles and commercials.

It’s like drowning. You’re paddling. People are screaming “STAND UP! JUST STAND UP!” They don’t know that the monster is holding your legs. The only thing you can do is lift your chin a little bit above the water.

Exhaustion. Sleep 12 hours and wake up exhausted. Sleep 3 hours and wake up zombie like.
Days run together. Time means nothing. Appointments are ignored. Parenthood is suspended. “Thank God my kids are older,” is what I whisper. I remember the days when they were younger and the monster visited. #sigh How am I still living?

“Get out of the house.“ Come by for a visit.“ Call a friend." Don’t they understand that all of those things are painful? That walking to the next room takes all of my strength?

No, I won’t tell them. “I’m doing ok. Thanks.” That’s my standard reply. “I’ll see you soon.” Yeah, right.

On the 11th day I left the house. Alone. I had to squint because the light shocked me. Maybe this is the beginning of his departure. Hope?

Nah. 30 minutes. He came with me. Followed me everywhere. I think he even drove me back home.

We’re back in the bed. Staring at the TV. Wearing our uniforms. Praying for sleep. Or maybe even death. It’s hard to tell some days.

I hope he goes home soon. I have a birthday coming up. They expect me to be semi-sociable. #sigh