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An Open Letter to the Mother of Someone With Mental Illness

Posted by Alexandra Van Rijn on

“It’s Not Your Fault” 

Written by Jill Martin


It’s not your fault,

I know, I know. You still feel guilty, 

Please don’t.

Because it’s not your fault.


I know it’s your job to protect me.

Believe me, you have.

I mean, I’m still alive, right?

But no matter how well you protect me,

You couldn’t have protected me from this.


It’s not your fault.

Somedays, you won’t be able to help me,

No one can help me,

And that’s okay.

I promise.


It’s not your fault.

Even though I may want to blame you.

For not knowing, 

For not understanding,

But it’s not your fault.


Mental illness is not a dirty word anymore,

You can talk about it.

Don’t hide it.

Because it’s not your fault.


I know.

All you want to do is make me feel better,

But sometimes you just can’t,

And that’s totally okay.

That’s not your fault.


Keep asking questions,

The more you understand,

The easier it will be to accept me.

And it’s still not your fault.


It’s not your fault.

Your job is to love me.

Love me despite my illness, 

Love me unconditionally,

And you do it so, so well.

So thank you.


  • My loved one has said these things to me on a few occasion – except for the part to keep asking questions. I am not supposed to ask him questions. And tho he tells me it is not my fault, he also fears that know one else will tolerate the thoughts that he has. I have even told the police that when things happen (e.g., when they have to shoot because someone with smi puts their hands in their pockets to reach for what could be a gun), it is not their fault just like is it not my fault nor his fault. It is the fault of the illness. The damaged brain. Some people have injuries you can see and are tolerated by others more than those damages that can’t be seen. We only see the damage caused by those damaged brains.

    Maggie on

  • Stabbed right to my heart. My mom took me to meet my shrink for the first time she wanted to listen all the story from me but we (me, and my shrink) asked her to leave the room. It should be 1:1 she was like but doc I’m her mom. Mom, why don’t you try to understand? Now she gets angry, because I chose to talk to a doctor not her. She thinks that no one knows me better than her. Not only that she blames herself for not being a good mom, she also think I’m not sick and it is all in my head.
    Why don’t you try to understand ;( I need help but you’r ignoring my sickness just because you don’t see it . You should support me , not being so immature , want to win against doctor, thinking you are the person who can help me and think I hate you because I’m not ;( it’s not about you it’s all about me.

    Lyn on

  • Having long worked in the mental health field, primarily with young adults, I recognize how important it is for our youth struggling with mental illness to have a strong base of support and understanding from their families.

    jesse vasquez on

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