MyBlog

Dog Days

Jani wanted mashed potatoes for dinner tonight so we stopped into the local grocery store. As I was scanning our items through the self-checkout, I happened to glance up and see Kate Gosselin and her eight children staring out from the cover of the current “People” magazine, with the line, Will Her Kids Be Okay?  After six rocky years on TV, Kate and her Kids face an uncertain future. “I’m really scared,” says Kate.

 

Not being able to watch much TV or even follow what is going on in that world, I had no idea that TLC had finally cancelled “Kate Plus 8” due to falling ratings, with the last episode having aired this past Monday.

 

I was going to buy the magazine, but 3.99 exceeds my disposable income these days, so I sped-read the article in the line, easy to do despite Jani wanting to go because “People” is hardly in-depth journalism. The article was only three pages long.

 

So the show is over after six years and 150 episodes (not counting the specials that aired on “Discovery Health” prior to “Jon & Kate Plus  8” being picked up to series by TLC). The six years was the first thing that struck me. Six years ago, Jani was four years old. Looking back now, I can see that time as the warning of what was to come, but I had no idea at the time. Jani was isolating from her friends, kids she had known since infancy. She preferred her imaginary friends, whose numbers seem to grow by the day. She would scream if somebody other than Susan or myself called her by any variation of her real name. People tried to be accommodating to this but it was difficult because Jani would change her name every day, sometimes several times a day: “Hot Dog,” “Blue Eyed Tree Frog, “Seventy-Six.” Friends kept whispering in our ear that maybe she had Autism or Asperger’s, which we angrily rejected. “She’s just brilliant,” we insisted. Eventually, we got so sick of those whispers that we took her to get evaluated by an expert in Autism. She wasn’t autistic. She breezed through the Stanford-Binet V IQ test, scoring 146. We were told she had the mental capacity of a ten or eleven year old, which only reinforced our determination not to let her deteriorating social behavior define her. She was a genius and, like most geniuses, she was “eccentric.” My attitude was “Who cares if she is rude to other kids trying to be nice to her? She knows the function of blood in the human body at four!” Even when the violence began, my first thought was that this was teenage rebellion come early. If she had the mental capacity of a ten or eleven year old at four, I wondered if now at five she was really fourteen or fifteen, rebelling against a world that didn’t understand her.

 

I was never scared for myself. I was scared for her. I was scared that despite her genius, all the world seemed to care about was her behavior. I was scared she would be written off. She was Good Will Hunting, or so I thought. The angry genius, not the polite child prodigies you see on “20/20” who start college at eleven years old. All it took was somebody to reach her. That someone, by default because no one else was willing, was me. I followed her down, determined that she would have at least one person in her life who would never bat an eye at anything she did or said, even hitting me. I was terrified that if I didn’t she would stop trusting me and she already didn’t trust anybody else. I thought I was her last link to humanity, the last person who could show her that our dysfunctional race still had something to offer. In the process, I severed my contact to the rest of humanity, including Bodhi and Susan. As she slipped further into her psychosis, so did I. When you decide to go down the rabbit hole after a loved one who is mentally ill, it will cost you. But you don’t think about that at the time. You don’t even know it. Other human beings become nothing but a pack of cards you knock over in your pursuit of your loved one.

 

Only in the last few years, as Jani has begun to stabilize, have I become aware of the world again and I feel like I don’t quite fit anymore. I am either too large for the door or too small to reach the key on the table.

 

Back to my connection to Kate Gosselin. I didn’t really become aware of her and the show until we shot “Born Schizophrenic.” Shot by a production company as a special for Discovery Health’s “Psych Week” in May 2009, the producers had hoped the special might serve as something called a “backdoor pilot” to a series.

 

This is how Jon and Kate got started. Their original specials on Discovery Health, years before us, served as backdoor pilots to “Jon & Kate Plus 8.”

 

That is why, unlike our Oprah episode, unlike the 20/20 “Haywire” (I still hate that title), “Born Schizophrenic” ended on a hopeful note, which is why it is my personal favorite. The final shot of Jani and I riding scooters out of a local park was organic. The crew just happened to be filming and got that shot and that shot became the end of the show. Both symbolically and emotionally, it left the door open for either another special or a series.

 

We were not paid for our appearance on Oprah. Oprah doesn’t pay her guests, period. Travel expenses would have been paid had we gone to Chicago but Oprah, after meeting Jani at a friend’s house here in California, wisely realized it would be bad to try and get Jani to Chicago.

 

We were not paid for our appearance on 20/20, nor were the other two families that appeared. 20/20 is ABC News. ABC News is journalism. Journalists don’t pay for stories, and with good reason. It damages the journalistic integrity of the show and the subject.

 

We were paid for “Born Schizophrenic,” although since it was a documentary it was more of a “fee” for access. How much? About 15,000 grand.

 

This fee was paid to us once, so despite the fact that “Born Schizophrenic” re-aired over and over again on Discovery Health through out the rest of 2009, we received nothing more, nor were we expecting more.

 

In November, Discovery Health’s rights to “Born Schizophrenic” ended and it passed to TLC, which aired it once, the day before Thanksgiving 2009. Again, we weren’t paid. After that, the rights to the special returned to Discovery Health, which was now OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, which has aired it several times since (I have lost count), again without us receiving a dime. DVDs of the show are sold for educational purposes and we don’t get any of that, either.

 

Through all this time, the producers of “Born Schizophrenic” have been trying to generate interest in a series.

 

A series.

 

I had mixed feelings about that. I had no interest in fame. Even when we were shooting the special I was so focused on Jani that I wouldn’t come over to shoot my segments until I was satisfied that one of the crew (or quite often the executive producer and head of the company) was engaging Jani and I could relax enough to focus on what I was being asked. My stiffness on the Oprah Show had nothing to do with Oprah Winfrey. She was very nice and in another life I suppose I would have been star-struck. Instead, what you see is me worrying about how Jani is doing while we are filming (again, she was being entertained and engaged by the crew and producers).

 

Any series would have to work around us, tailing us while we tailed Jani, not the other way around.

 

But a series had its advantages. It would allow us to perhaps gather other families with mentally ill kids together, like we did in “Born Schizophrenic” (the producers flew in two other families from the online support group we set up). A series would allow us to build that community of families Susan and I have always wanted to do.

 

Because a series would pay for things we couldn’t. Kate never paid for those fancy vacations she and kids went on once the show became “Kate Plus 8.” The production company paid for that.

 

And the final appeal of a series was, of course, the money. A low five digit paycheck for each show.

 

The money appealed to me because it would secure Jani and Bodhi’s future.

 

Because one day I will be dead and gone. Before I am gone, I need to make sure that I can buy Jani and Bodhi a farmhouse somewhere on a lot of land where Jani can have her animals. I need to buy it outright and then establish a trust that will pay the property taxes and utilities forever. Beyond everything I want to do for other mentally ill kids, I want to make damn sure that Jani and Bodhi will never wind up homeless, that they will always have a home that no one can take away from them. Only when I know they will be okay can I go to my grave (if I can help it).

 

OWN, who has made I don’t know how many millions off advertising during airings of “Born Schizophrenic,” has, so far, refused to do a series. Their reason? They don’t want to “exploit” us during a difficult time.

 

The word “exploitation” brings me back to Kate Gosselin. TV by the Numbers has an article entitled “Kate Haters Rejoice! TLC Cancels ‘Kate Plus 8!’” She’s gotten kicked around quite a bit. I read some of the comments after that article and they are pretty vicious (kind of like some of the comments I get on this blog). Maybe “Dancing with the Stars” wasn’t such a hot idea, but the question is: “Have the Gosselin Kids been exploited?”

 

Before I answer that, let me ask you another question: How the hell would you pay for eight kids?

 

“Well, it was her choice to have eight kids,” you say.

 

Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know we were playing God now, deciding who has the right to exist and who doesn’t. Do you have the guts to say to her eight children that they shouldn’t exist or would you prefer to hide behind your anonymous internet soapbox?

 

They were born. They exist. Punishing Kate punishes them, you idiots.

 

The show gave these kids opportunities that Kate and Jon (before he decided he wanted a different life) could not have done on their own. The show allowed them to get a farmhouse on 24 acres. They got to get into the best private school. They got to see the wonders of the world.

 

Now Kate has to pay to keep the farmhouse and keep her kids in that school without the income of the show.

 

But more importantly that any of that, the show gave Kate time with her kids she never would have had if she were still working 12 hour shifts as a nurse (“Dancing with the Stars,” notwithstanding). I don’t agree with all her choices but I certainly don’t think she was wrong to do the show and I certainly don’t think she “exploited” her children. Their lives are better for the show. They have opportunities they would not have had without it.

 

And the fact that Jon burned out so much that he traded in 25K an episode for some babysitter goodies only shows how hard, how demanding it was. Maybe the show gave Jon a way to cheat and a way to leave, but maybe he would have done that anyway after seven years. Raising kids, regardless of number or level of need, is the hardest job you will ever do. Our fathers did it by not being around too much. I wonder how many of our fathers would be able to do what we do?

 

“Exploitation” is a bullshit claim, unless you are talking about kids working in Nike sweatshops sixteen hours a day for a nickel. That’s exploitation.

 

TLC gave the Gosselin kids the world. And now they’re taking it away from them because the ratings aren’t there. That’s exploitation. And OWN won’t help secure Jani and Bodhi’s future because they don’t want to “exploit” them? No, you’re right. It’s much better to keep making money off “Born Schizophrenic” and never give anything to the child who made you that money. That’s not exploitation at all.

 

But I’m not really complaining that a reality show never happened. We never did any of this for money and if we never make another cent (which is entirely possible) I will have no regrets. We got the message out there that child onset schizophrenia exists. It was the second part of the message that never got out there: that we AS A CULTURE, AS A SOCIETY, are going to have to deal with them and help them, and when I say “help” I don’t mean beat them to death with the butts of tasers like the Fullerton Police did to Kelly Thomas, a schizophrenic young man who had stopped taking his meds because he was over eighteen, sending him back into paranoia and fear. Your kids get pulled over for speeding. Mine might get murdered because they don’t see the world as the rest of us do and don’t know what to do when someone screams at them to “Stop.”

 

I suppose I am particularly bitter tonight because next to me is a lawsuit for eviction which was waiting outside Jani’s door tonight.

 

 

Yeah, not helping me keep a roof over my daughter’s head is definitely not “exploiting” us. I have been sick for weeks with a sinus infection that won’t go away despite two rounds of antibiotics. It spread to my ears (I am now deaf in my left ear) and now into my lungs. Part of my lung has collapsed. I didn’t know that when I dragged myself in to teach last Friday. The next day I was on an IV because I was so badly dehydrated because I sweat buckets even in air conditioned rooms after slight exertion.

 

The book. What happened with the book. Well, my most recent draft got rejected, which after I thought about it made sense. I wrote at night, all night, because that was the only time I could, for weeks, trying to make sense of a life that still doesn’t entirely make sense to me. Of course it was a mess. Unfortunately, my contract only stipulates two rewrites and then the publisher has the right to drop the book. They have not done this, but they have pushed the publication date back and encouraged me to get whatever help I can. Susan is working on it now, along with my agent. I can write powerful scenes but making the craziness in my head make sense on the page turned out to be beyond me.

 

We’ll see what happens. The problem was I really thought I would get the next part of my advance and I didn’t. That was how I was planning on surviving. And at minimum it is delayed for the foreseeable future. I may never get another cent out of them.

 

Now the wolf is beating down the door. I teach two classes but that is not enough. Our only hope is to get back into a single apartment. Moving into one of the two we have is not an option because they are both one bedrooms and the lease rules only allow a maximum of three people in a one bedroom. We signed a lease so we cannot leave to a cheaper apartment complex. Our only option is to get caught up on the rent on Jani’s apartment (and avoid eviction) and then apply for a two bedroom in the same complex. A two bedroom would still be more than I can afford but about a $1000 savings over what we have to pay now.

 

I need, Jani needs, $1400 to get current on the rent on her apartment. Actually, now that we’ve been sued, we will probably have to pay $500 in legal fees, so that’s $1900. Then we need the deposit and first month’s rent on the new apartment (rent $1700 or so plus $800 security deposit).  Jesus. That is $4600. As much as I would like to hope, I seriously doubt we can raise that. Assuming we don’t by October 1st, the rent on Jani’s apartment doubles with the new month, adding another $1400, taking the total on her apartment to $3300, taking the total needed to get out of this hole and into a single two bedroom apartment $6800.

 

Wow.

 

That would have been less than half the pay for an episode of a series.

 

Jani is stable, but that stability has has a price. That is what your donations have bought. Her stability. You’re not investing in me. You are investing in her. Hopefully, she will never have to know about this.

Because I have no idea how to explain it.

 

[video:

100×100] This is Jani’s favorite song at the moment.

19 comments on “Dog Days

  1. im so sorry to hear you aRE having all kinds of trouble i so hope every thing gets better i am very fond of you all and hope for the best . if i had money i would so help but im a poor 22 year old with schizophrenia too and no job

    Note from Michael: How are you doing, Grace? Message me on Facebook.

  2. Jani’s Castle #5
    Jani Boosters: I’m going to donate $200.00 tomorrow. That will leave about $1,200.00. So, If only seven of us can donate the same amount, the rent would be paid on Jani’s apartment. With a little left over.
    I don’t know what to do about the added costs involved in moving into a single apartment. But let’s see if we can help the Schofields through this hurdle and then see about working on raising funds for a single apartment.
    One step at a time, as it were.
    As I’ve said before, the management of that complex is a pretty hard-nosed crew, and I’m sure they’ll evict at the drop of a hat. So if you’re going to donate, do it the quickest.
    I know times are ruff, but think about this: That all the donations you and I have made, have helped Jani in her battles with the White Rabbit. And Jani is winning. 400 and Wednesday are being pushed into the background where I hope they’ll stay.

    But Jani still needs our help. Animal therapy and so forth.

    In the end, it does take a village.

  3. Kate gosselin should never have assumed her life was being handed to her. She had years & years to save & could have purchased a more sensible home & is a nurse by trade. She also seems to be a very nasty woman. Of course her kids should be taken care of but it should not be expected. They have parents & it is their job to provide for them. I am pretty sure she will be just fine & don’t at all feel sorry for her, the kids, maybe a little. Her? no. Your situation is much different than hers so I feel it’s a bad example except in regards to wishing you had the income from a series to help. I get your bitterness but using a nasty example of a parent who is mean to everyone on national tv no less probably isn”t the best example.

  4. Michael, I am so sorry that you are struggling right now. My heart sunk when I read that your book had not gone through. As soon as I can get some glitches with my bank account/Paypal sorted out, I will donate what I can.

    While I see why you take offense to the mass hate against Kate Gosselin, I can tell you that changes that went on throughout the show were fairly disturbing. The reasons for the cries of “exploitation” aren’t just that the kids were on camera, and the parents were paid.

    I doubt you would ever keep Jani or Bodhi on the laundry room floor all day with the stomach flu, because you had some other family activities to film. Likewise, I doubt you would allow the network to air a scene where you help your son with a severe case of constipation (nor, for that matter, would you continue to air similar embarrassing scenes after your kids were bullied at school). I strongly doubt that you would be on here asking for donations if you didn’t truly need them. Kate and Jon Gosselin continued to charge to come speak at churches, and request “love offerings,” or raise money by selling pictures of their children. People donated under the impression that they would be supporting a family that desperately needed help to raise their children. Not long after that, they bought their new home, showing that they had financially been well beyond the means of those who had donated.

    No one is perfect. But Jon and Kate did not handle their fame or money in a way that would benefit their children. Their new income did not allow them to stay home with their kids. After buying their home, Kate was gone most days of the week, flying across the country to promote their books and show.

    The reason I post this isn’t to “prove you wrong,” or anything like that. It’s to give you peace of mind: If you keep your mindset as it is now, with your support of your children at the forefront of your mind (rather than how to best market yourself, kids or no kids), then no one has any foundation for calling your show “exploitation.” I really do believe that it could help to get the word out there about mental illness, and having more than just sixty minutes could allow you to articulate the parts of your special that people missed completely. OWN likely fears the sort of backlash that Kate Gosselin received – but the vast majority of the criticism came once the show stopped being about a family learning how to raise eight children, and began focusing on “showing the world that Kate Gosselin has ‘arrived’.”

    Eesh. I’m not sure I got my point across here, and I apologize very much if this comes out as snarky. That was not my intent at all.

    Wishing you the best.

    Note from Michael: Not at all. I can’t say I followed the show or know what happened or what Jon and Kate did with their kids. For me, I think at least part of the problem was there was no larger causes to work toward. Fame only means something if you do something positive with it and I can’t say that Kate did that (hopefully she will). My point was that cutting the show and cutting off the money that comes with it can hurt the kids just as much as never having been a show at all.

  5. Abuse?
    I have recently been lead to your blog through other websites. I have been reading the last several weeks and waiting for a new entry. I have some questions for you and was wondering if you would answer them?

    There have been reports that you have abused your child. I have seen the quotes from your blog of you describing to me what seems very much like abuse and yet it almost feels as though you don’t consider your actions abusive?

    How do you explain the incident where you shook your daughter when she was a baby? What would you say to parents and caregivers who are raising children who are also survivors of shaken baby syndrome?

    My only other question for you at this time is can you tell me why you are the best person qualified to care for your child whom you have admitted abusing?

    Note from Michael: I never admitted “abusing” Jani. That is the word used by you and your ilk. Yes, when I was younger and Jani NEVER slept and I had gone days and days without sleeping and we were going to the pediatrician over and over again and asking her why Jani wasn’t sleeping (I am not talking about through the night-I am talking about a grand total of three hours a day, split into ten minute increments, when she was a newborn. See how long you can go without sleep. We made it by working in shifts (five hours on and five hours off) until Susan had to go back to work. When it happened I was so tired I was functioning automatically. I dropped everything (school, work, etc) because I couldn’t function without sleep. As I said we kept trying to find answers and no one had any. One night, after hours and hours and hours, I snapped for a split second. It was nothing like the violent shaking associated with Shaken Baby Syndrome. Doesn’t make it right, of course, but I think it is ridiculous to suggest that I am an unfit parent after a SINGLE incident that happened over nine years ago. If so, you better hope you never have kids because if you fuck up even once then we’re taking them away!

    But everybody who accuses me of “abuse,” what they really consider abuse is that I allow Jani to take these anti-psychotics. There are all of them anti-medication.

  6. Michael that was the BEST so far!
    Michael you may be going through hockey sticks… but that was the BEST Blog POST EVER!

    “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know we were playing God now, deciding who has the right to exist and who doesn’t. Do you have the guts to say to her eight children that they shouldn’t exist or would you prefer to hide behind your anonymous internet soapbox?

    They were born. They exist. Punishing Kate punishes them, you idiots.”

    I stopped and yelled, “Bravo, Michael! Brav-O!”

    Annie

  7. I’m sorry things are so rough. I’m having a difficult time as well. We just have to trust we are strong enough to make it through. It will be okay.

  8. Donated. It’s not much, but I hope it helps. (I also pre-ordered your book on Amazon… I hope that a bunch of pre-orders hopes to convince the publisher to stick with you…)

    Note from Michael: Thank you. The publisher is sticking with me. Just yesterday we got an email reconfirming their commitment. The question is can we survive until then.

  9. To Christine
    This is to Christine…
    Before you make judgments about Michael, please read as much as you can of this blogs. You will then get it. It wasn’t abuse.
    I can only imagine raising a child like Jani with the whole world not understanding her condition. The world doesn’t have the resources to help families with child onset schizophrenia, like they do for other diseases and mental conditions. They may have a few but not many at all.

  10. Wait a minute Mr Schofield. I asked some very legitimate questions and you immediately became hostile. I am a mother to two beautiful children. My youngest Sean is the survivor of a shaking abuse and though most people would not know this just by looking at him, when he was not much older than your daughter at the time you shook her, my son’s father shook him violently over very similar circumstances.

    Sean was not a good sleeper. I had him by C-section because during labor he became breech. He was born fine with no complications but I nearly died during the C-section. Because of the surgery complications I could not care for Sean and so most of the work was left to my husband and my mother while I recovered. I know Sean needed his mommy though and that was the beginning of the sleep difficulty. No matter what my mother or husband did he would not sleep.

    My husband was growing increasingly resentful. He had prior anger issues and he was even violent with me on two previous occasions ( which is similar to you because of the incidents you write about between you and your wife). One night I was readmitted to the hospital for infection and Sean was alone with his dad. That was when my husband shook Sean. Sean was taken to the hospital where I was when my mother discovered what had happened.

    My mother called the police and my husband was put in jail. Sean was kept at the hospital for a week under observation. For the most part he was fine but the drs were concerned because it was then he began sleeping a lot. Then as Sean grew we noticed developemental delays and eventually we learned that his brain had been damaged by the shaking.

    I share this with you because I have concern for your daughter. You have claimed that my reason for asking questions was because I am anti medication and that is not true. You have insulted me and my child by dismissing the seriousness of this situation and calling me “ilk”.

    I think I understand now why so many people are reporting that you are a child abuser. Unlike my husband (ex by the way) you have gotten away with what you have done to your child. And the shaking incident is not the only incident either. I have read that you have hit your child and with held food from her. I have also read the blog where she told a residential staff that you had molested her.

    I was really hoping that the the things being said about you and this situation were not true but Because of your response and because you did not answer my questions I am more inclined to believe that you are a child abuser and a deeply disturbed man who should not be caring for a child.

    I hope that justice will find you as it did my ex whether it be through the legal system or through just your life circumstances (which it does seem like is happening now) and I hope that your daughter can heal and find the help she needs and deserves.

    Christine

    Note from Michael: Don’t play dumb with me, Christine. You came here with an agenda and everything you say is a warping of the truth. Jani never accused me of sexual abuse. The claim was made by BHC Alhambra therapist because they stupidly put her, by far the youngest, in with a group of teenagers sharing legitimate stories of abuse. Jani was interviewed time and time again by CPS and she never said that I did anything other than accidentally hurt her once when I was giving her a bath, which was what I told them. You people obviously don’t read my blog because then you would know that Jani NEVER accused me of anything, that there was ONE violent incident between my wife and I years AFTER Jani was born, and I was lucky with the shaking because Jani was wide awake and bright eyed and has never suffered any developmental delays. We hit her only, before we knew she was mentally ill, only once after days and days and days of being continuously hit and again nobody being able to tell us what was wrong. We begged and begged for help and none was available. We never “starved” her. Before her diagnosis doctors and therapists told us that we just needed to be “tougher” on her. Part of my stress was making two dinners, one for her and one for us. I was repeatedly told to just make one meal and if she didn’t eat it, not give her anything else and eventually when she got hungry enough she would eat it. She didn’t so we stopped that.

    I wasn’t hostile before which is why I know you came here with an agenda. I answered your question. I am not a child abuser. I have made mistakes, often at the encouragement of medical and psychological “experts” around me. It’s nice for you that you are apparently lilly white and have committed no sin.

  11. Michael; I am so sorry you are having a rough time. I have been interested in Jani’s story since I saw her on the “Born Schizophrenic” show on DHC.

    To all the others out there who just want to criticize; I suggest you spend a day in our shoes. My son has severe autism and is very prone to what I could only call a psychotic rage. He will hit me, kick me, throw things at me, hit himself, bite himself, scream, etc. for hours at a time. He cannot tell me if he is in pain-the only way to do that is for him to act out. My husband and I are not mind readers, so something like a sinus infection could take us weeks to figure out. In the meantime he is destroying our house, hurting himself, screaming for hours, and hurting us. Do you know how isolating that is?? We have help, but his therapists and doctors do not live with him, and they get to leave. We are the ones dealing with his behaviors NON-STOP. People DO have a breaking point. I am not condoning abuse of any kind, but to sit on your high horses and criticize parents with kids like Jani or my son without even having a hint of what our daily lives are like, only shows how judgemental people really are. There is not a line of people standing by waiting to provide respite for a child like this. How many people could you really trust with a non-verbal child who could not tell you if anything happened? Not many. If anything, I am giving this family huge kudos for fighting for Jani. It is physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting fighting the good fight everyday.

  12. Maybe I’m just being an optimist, but it sounds like a good sign that Jani is at least aware of social trends (like popular songs), because she didn’t used to be, did she? She’s forming opinions about things in the “real” (or what the majority agree is the real) world. That’s progress compared to where it sounds like she was a few years back. Either way, she has good taste in music :).

    Note from Michael: I completely agree. It is huge that she is aware of popular music but still maintains her own unique tastes (wanting nothing to do with Selena Gomez or Justin Bieber). She really is growing up and sometimes, every so often, I actually have a moment to stop and marvel at where she is now. That is why we are ready to move back into one apartment if we can raise the funds. But yes, I never thought I would be able to discuss popular music with her. She is coming back to us, wanting to learn about the world again. I’m actually very excited about the future.

  13. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK
    After seeing the special the first time, it touched me so much I cried. Then I made my Husband watch it with me. After seeing it the second time, I cried…again, this time while working out at the gym, and I didn’t care who saw. After that I was determined to help somehow. I searched for a way to send donations and I hope the donation sent through this website/paypal makes it to JANI. I don’t usually go off doing this, but I felt an overwhelming need to do SOMETHING. I can understand not having enough, feeling like where is the food going to come from this week? I myself live paycheck to paycheck, 2 kids, 1 apartment…Husband with unstable work….a new baby…and though I may not have much, that doesn’t mean I can’t try to help. No matter how small my donation may seem to me, I hope and pray it helps in some way. You guys are doing a great job and don’t forget it. You revolved your life around your child and never lost track. You are heroes.

  14. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK
    After seeing the special the first time, it touched me so much I cried. Then I made my Husband watch it with me. After seeing it the second time, I cried…again, this time while working out at the gym, and I didn’t care who saw. After that I was determined to help somehow. I searched for a way to send donations and I hope the donation sent through this website/paypal makes it to JANI. I don’t usually go off doing this, but I felt an overwhelming need to do SOMETHING. I can understand not having enough, feeling like where is the food going to come from this week? I myself live paycheck to paycheck, 2 kids, 1 apartment…Husband with unstable work….a new baby…and though I may not have much, that doesn’t mean I can’t try to help. No matter how small my donation may seem to me, I hope and pray it helps in some way. You guys are doing a great job and don’t forget it. You revolved your life around your child and never lost track. You are heroes.

  15. Unbelieveable!
    I honestly can’t believe the people that come on here and accuse you of being a bad father and worse, a child abuser! As if you’re not going through enough as it is. I wonder if some of these people are just trying to rub salt on your wound or are they really that dumb that they think you’re abusing your mentally ill daughter.

    As someone who cares for and loves someone in my family who has mental illness, I KNOW YOU’RE HURTING INSIDE AND DOING THE BEST YOU CAN FOR YOUR DAUGHTER BECAUSE I DEAL WITH SIMILAR ISSUES! For those of you who just don’t get it, we’re hurting deeply for our loved ones and sometimes with our loved ones’ behavior, you forget in an instant that it’s the mental illness making them act out- we make mistakes- like anyone else!

    Think about this, if you can, why in the world would anyone blog so diligently about their loved one’s mental illness if they didn’t care? People that don’t care or are abusing their loved one don’t openly discuss the pain of trying to help their loved one!

    Michael has been very open about his family’s situation because he wants to help his daughter and to help others and by just reaching out to tell his story he’s helping others, including me. But goodness forbid he casually mention shaking his child once out of frustration and desperation, because then we have these idiots that focus on single words like ‘shaking’ or ‘yelling’ and forget everything else he’s talking about.

    Let me tell you this, unless you have a mentally ill loved one you’re trying to help and you know the struggles we go through in the process, you don’t get to judge! Because you have no idea what we go through. Not only are we battling to try to save our loved ones but like Michael said- we who care for them pay a deep price in the process- we become very emotionally and even mentally scarred ourselves and we can’t function well in society because we become used to battling a world we don’t know anything about, a world only our mentally ill loved ones can hear or see!

    Note from Michael: Very true, but they are going to judge anyway. I guess they need something to do. At any length, compared to what we have gone through with Jani and what we have achieved in terms of her well-being, I could give a rat’s ass if a handful of people think I am a child abuser. Jani is doing well and that is all that matters.

  16. What state do you live in? Surely they have medicaid, medicare, and she has to be eligible for disability right? Surely you can get financial aide from HRS or what ever it is called in your state, and move in to affordable housing?

    Note from Michael: This is an older post so I am not sure what you are responding to, but I will answer your questions.

    1. We live in California.
    2. We don’t need Medicaid because I have private insurance thanks to my job. That being said, Medicaid (and private insurers) often don’t pay for mental health care or will try to limit inpatient stays.
    3. She is no longer eligible for disability because I make more than 2 grand a month, spread out over a year. Even when we were getting SSI for her it was less than $200 a month. Disability does not pay very much for anyone. Certainly not enough to survive on.
    3. I don’t know what HRS is but there is no financial aid from anyone. The only financial help we have ever gotten is from private donors. Government agencies have nothing to offer. The “welfare state” is not nearly as big as people think it is.
    4. We now live in one apartment again so your last question is somewhat mute in terms of us but in California, there is a waiting list for “affordable housing” (called Section 8 here), with the average wait time being two to six years, depending on the county. Demand for affordable housing far outstrips available units.

  17. People have nerve to judge
    Question and forgive me for being blunt but I’m from Brooklyn…Where do these people come off judging and accusing you when they never met Jani or you and have no merit to assume based on a blog written by a parent who is doing whatever he can to champion her cause. Forgive me a again JACKASSES these doctors ( all of them) Michael is going to until he gets the diagnosis he wants ( get a grip) are f**ing mandated reporters do you think they are all in cahoots. Again Michael and forgive me please the only thing I see you to be guilty of is possible a little eccentricity yourself which isn’t a crime. It is obvious you struggle with depression and as you say climbing into a hole after Jani I am sure flirts with your own “sanity” for lack of a better word but I am sure its messes with your mind. You are a warrior and your Daughter, well I am inspired by that little girl I think of her all the time and I pray she outgrows her condition. Then candilini can be the subject of a childs fantasy book like puff the magic dragon or wizard of oz. I smell the makings of a project and possibly Jani is the Author not you Michael ( wink wink) just an idea…………

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