This is a priceless account of the agony, shock, love and stamina of a mother faced with a child who has ben dealt the unkind hand of severe mental illness. Easy to read, clearly sincere and uncontrived it is alogether memorable. Her feelings are described with endearing honesty and simplicity, over the space of several years and through the various stages of her daughter's illness and recovery. Her early feelings of utter uselessness are so real and understandable, the only solace coming from basic mothering activites such as ironing her daughter's pyjamas on the eve of being admitted to a psychiatric unit.
One of the many remarkable features of this account is Jean's appreciation of the irreplaceable role of in-patient care, when sanctuary is needed, and the oft repeated affection of specialist staff. She bucks the fashionable trend of demanding a right to be involved in the detail of her daughter's care, recognising the dangers of over involvement and seeing her daughter's relationship with her teams as her own business.
Her relationship with the ward cleaner is a great comfort and is a useful reminder of the totality of a service which is discounted by planners and managers.
Altogether this is a refreshingly sensible and emotionally riveting account from an intelligent lady who is blessed with the unusual combination of modesty, insight and the energetic desire to do something to ease the plight of those afflicted with mental illness.