An essay by Brian McLaughlin, Advocate


Recently I went to see a martial arts class. To my surprise it was most interesting.

I saw one jump what must have been a good two feet off the floor. Towards the end the same student was encircled by five men holding thick wooden boards. The student bowed respectfully. Then in an instant seemed to take flight and snapped each board into kindling. It was especially impressive considering the fact that the student was a little nine year old girl.

I was most proud as this impressive child was my Niece. When she came to hug her Uncle Brian I asked what most folks in attendance were wondering. "How did you do that?" She smile back at me gently and pointed to a small tin sign on the wall of the class room. It read, "Never, Never, Never, Give Up!"

I thought to myself what a wonderful lesson to instill in a child and dreamed briefly about what future miracles it would yield for one so young.

Later I thought this was a message I should share with my peers who are recovering from serious mental illness.

Recovery from serious mental illness is rarely a case of "and they all lived happily ever after." In my case and I believe many others, recovery amounts to a series of battles. Recovery belongs to those who "Never, Never, Never, Give Up!"

Respectfully submitted for your consideration,

Brian Patrick McLaughlin MS/CPS
MH Consumer Advocate
Erie County, PA.

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