After watching last night’s episode of Empire, I totally felt Cookie’s emotional response as a mother of a child suffering from mental illness. Mental illness reaches beyond the affected and puts a strong grip on family members who are trying to come to terms and cope. It’s a daily struggle with the unknown. Mental illness is an emotional roller coaster with many highs and lows, but with help it is manageable. It certainly helps you remain focused on the most important things in life and not take anything for granted. However, the flip side is when I see people who don’t understand. Don’t care to understand and are reckless with their behavior by bullying, poking fun and speaking negatively about someone with a mental illness is the quickest way to make my blood boil. There has been several instances where my son has posted pictures, his poetry or just his thoughts on social media and some insensitive gnats have tagged others and made harsh comments trying to get a laugh. My son maybe different from most, but he is a creative genius. One may not understand, but it’s still no reason to be insensitive and cruel. Furthermore, let me offer a word of advice. You make laugh, poke fun and call him and others suffering from mental illness derogatory names, but remember they are human too and have feelings. You know where you’ve been and where you are now, but the road to the future is uncertain. My son grew up a normal little boy who did all the things boys do. He always loved music and wrote beautiful poetry. He graduated from high school and went to college, but during his sophomore year his behavior became erratic and he would later be diagnosed as a Paranoid Schizophrenic. Then came the struggle with the broken Mental Health system to get him the help he needed and will need for the rest of his life. Finally, I love all four of my children unconditionally. We may not always agree, but at the end of the day I am a mother, their mother and will always be there and fight for their well-being.