When my husband and I were going through our most difficult times with our “challenging” daughter, Renee, we felt very isolated, lost and paralyzed. We knew we couldn’t get through this on our own. We needed tons of wisdom, comfort and strength from other parents who had walked this path.
We looked for help in my community but found very little. This made us feel even more discouraged and alone. Because of the lack of support we found, we decided that when we felt strong enough and had experienced a good bit of inner healing, we would reach out to help others who were hurting like we were.
Our desire is to offer encouragement, support and hope to parents who are suffering the pain, grief and heartache of having a child whose decisions and choices are breaking their hearts. This includes children who suffer with mental illness.
This journey with our daughter has taken us to many dark places we would never have imagined: Self-harm, mental illness, substance abuse with both alcohol and drugs, suicide attempts, panic attacks, rape, psychiatric evaluations, hospitalizations and rehab programs.
Thankfully, Renee’s not where she once was and is doing much better today. She’s traveled the country sharing her story of hope many, many times to a wide variety of audiences. She has spoken on high school, University and College campuses, to church youth groups, at rock concerts and music festivals.
Five years ago Renee published a book, Purpose for the Pain, a collection of personal journal entries chronicling several years of addiction and cutting, into the early months of recovery. She says, “It wasn’t my own strength that helped me stop drinking or slashing at my flesh. It was God….it’s all about Him!” She’s now a singer/song-writer performing under the stage name of Bearcat . She released her first EP in June of 2012, available on iTunes or online. December 2013 she released acoustic versions of some of those songs, also available on iTunes. Singing her emotive songs are now the way she shares her message of hope.
A unique aspect of our story is that in the spring of 2011 a movie was made about Renee and how her story was the genesis of what became a global non-profit movement, To Write Love on Her Arms (twloha.com). As of today, the movie’s title is Day One http://dayonemovie.com/ . A release date is not known at this time.
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