Stay Together For the Kids

About a week ago or so I got an email from someone who had watched “Born Schizophrenic: Jani’s Next Chapter,” asking me how Susan and I have kept our marriage together.


It’s another question that defies a quick answer.


More recently, we got an email from a producer of VHI’s “Couples Therapy.” I’ve never seen the show but it seems be along the line of Dr. Drew’s “Celebrity Rehab,” except without the celebrities. I was told that the show takes real couples and sequesters them away like a jury and provides therapy in an attempt to “strengthen their relationship.” This producer had seen us on Oprah years ago and was “impressed with our ability to stay together as a couple through such difficult circumstances.” She would like us to come on and do a segment on “enduring love.”


We’re not going to do it. Putting aside that I am not going to risk destabilizing Jani by taking a day to appear on a reality show, I really wouldn’t know what to tell these couples.


What is “enduring love” anyway?


It’s an interesting choice of words. What springs to mind when you read “enduring love?” Roses? Romantic dinners? Still making out like teenagers every chance you get? 25th wedding anniversary? Growing old together?


Probably. Even though the root word of “enduring” is “endure.” What springs to mind when I say the word “endure?” Pain? Suffering? Pushing your physical or psychological limits?


We do not “endure” something pleasurable. We “endure” something we would rather not experience.


So put that together with “love” and you get “a love you would rather not experience,” a love that will cause you pain, suffering, and test your limits.


Well, that doesn’t sound very romantic, does it?


But you want to know how to keep a marriage together under “difficult circumstances” so I well tell you.


The easiest answer is the age old axiom observed by every generation before the Baby Boomers: Stay Together For the Kids.


Except that alone won’t work. Because kids aren’t stupid. I saw my parents’ marriage disintegrating years before they realized it. When it finally happened when I was thirteen, it was almost a relief. Having your parents lead separate lives in the same house is no different emotionally than having them live separate lives apart. You just don’t have to shuttle between houses. My father couldn’t handle my mother’s journey to where-ever she was going. My mother couldn’t handle living what my Dad reasonably saw as a pretty good life.


I’m not saying that staying together for the kids isn’t noble. It is. It just won’t work. And it won’t be any easier on your kids when you split when they are 23 than when they are 13.


Right now I am reading the pass pages (or “proofs”) for the Australian version of January First to make sure they are correct. I had to read the book over and over again for the US version. Now I have to do the same thing for the Australian version. At least I get spared having to do this in foreign territories where the book is being translated.


Because I hate reading it.


Not because it isn’t good. I hate reading it because every time I read it I have to relive it. Sure it’s nice to remember how far Jani and our family has come when I am finished but that doesn’t help when I am on page 108 and I just left Jani at her first hospitalization all over again. It’s like Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five. Every time I read the book I get pulled back in time and have to relive the worst moments of my life, I have to relive watching Jani suffer. I have to relive the feelings of powerlessness and despair, exacerbated by the fact that the book is written in the present tense. I read it, and you will to, as it is happening. Right now.


The moments with Jani are so intense that it is easy to miss the growing resentment and anger I feel toward Susan though the story, unless you have to read it multiple times like I have. Almost from the beginning, though, it is there: a bubbling hostility toward my wife that keeps building. Although it might first appear that Jani is the cause of this hostility toward Susan, she is not. She is actually the distraction. Throughout the book, I keep having to push it down, keep it under control, because my main focus has to be on figuring out what is going on with Jani and getting her the help she needs.


It is this hostility that eventually contributes to what I do in the penultimate chapter, which, of course, I can’t give away.


However, it gives nothing away that I grew to hate Susan.


Yet we are still together and our marriage is stronger now than it was then.


How is this possible?


Because at the end of the book I do something that showed me it wasn’t really Susan I hated.


It was me.


Whatever the surface cause of the dissolution of a marriage may be, it always boils down to a single emotion:




“This” is a person. This person could be the person you are in a relationship with. Or it could be your schizophrenic daughter. Or your bipolar son. Or your severely depressed wife. It could be a child or spouse with a chronic and severe illness that will forever alter your life.


You can’t control them.


And I don’t mean “control” in the sense of making them do what you want them to do. If you are looking for a slave for a significant other then you have bigger problems than I can help you with. Go on “Couples Therapy.”


“Control” does not mean making someone do as you wish. It means the feeling that you are in control of your OWN life. It means confidence that you can solve any problem that comes along. And what kills marriages is when something comes along that you can’t fix, that you can’t solve. And if you can’t solve the problem, then it is out of your control.


You become a bystander in your own life.


To not feel in control goes against every fiber of our being. All animals seek to control their environment in some manner because that is how we derive a feeling of security, one of the base desires of animal life (assuming you have a central nervous system). So unless you are a jellyfish, when you are not in control of your environment you panic. And you try to grab on to something that you can control.


This usually leads to engaging in some sort of risky behavior: drinking, drugs, sex. You can’t control your environment so you default to what you can control, which is your own body. Essentially, you are trying to escape your life. You justify this as “trying to forget” but what you are really doing is trying to switch out your current existence for another.


And it won’t work. I didn’t turn to drinking or drugs (partly because I’d already been through that in my teens and party, honestly, because it gave me a false sense of moral superiority). I didn’t go get a prostitute either because a few minutes of paid sex is not swapping out your life for another.


No, I went after another woman. A co-worker.


In my irrational state, I thought she was everything Susan was not. Strong. Determined. Fearless. The fact that she didn’t give a rat’s ass about my children completely went past me.


I was in pain and I was looking for her to relieve the pain. Susan couldn’t relieve the pain because she was in pain as well. She turned inward. I turned out.


This occurred in the summer of 2008. It was included in the original draft of the book but was cut because it dealt more with me than with Jani.


No, I didn’t sleep with this woman, although I had every intention of doing so. I was fully prepared to throw away my marriage. It’s not like Susan was helping Jani. Susan was an emotional trainwreck. Jani needed a strong woman in her life.


Yes, that is what I actually believed at that time.


So what happened? There is another old axiom: Where-ever you go, there you are.


In other words, no matter where you go, you are still the same person.


And I was still in pain. I was still powerless to fix Jani. I had no control over my environment.


What was fun validation from a younger man for her was me desperately trying to keep my head above the ocean of despair and pain that, if I let myself feel it, I feared it would destroy me.


And as I was drowning, I tried to grab onto her. And she pulled away. And I broke down into a sniveling mess in the CSUN parking lot.


That was not my last attempt to escape, although it was the last to involve potential infidelity.


There would be one more, and that one is in the book, at the very end.


They say suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Except what do you do when the problem is permanent?


I am here writing this, still alive, still married to Susan, still Jani and Bodhi’s dad, for the simple fact that eventually I got it through my thick skull that there was no escape.


I had to “endure.”


Because what was destroying me was not Jani’s illness. It was my inability to “fix it.” It was my feeling of powerlessness in the face of her illness. I could not deal with feeling powerless so I did what everybody does when you feel powerless: I turned on the person closest to me. Everything I hated about Susan was everything I hated about myself. Weakness. Powerlessness. Lack of control. The struggle to keep functioning.


So you want to know how to save your marriage?


Go look in the mirror.


What you hate about your spouse is what you hate about yourself. And what you hate is what you can’t control.


The reason Susan and I are still together is because we understand that the only things we can actually control are ourselves.


For awhile there in the summer of 2008, we literally were just staying together for the kids. Susan felt betrayed, as well she should. We had just spent six months in a foxhole and I tried to get out.


But the war is out there, too.


And for those of you who are wondering what life is like “out there,” the war doesn’t stop just because you leave the battlefield.


When I look back now, I cannot fathom what I saw in my co-worker. Because she has never fought this war. She had no understanding of the place I had been to, nor did she want to go to the places I still had to go.


So I guess, in the end, I have the same answer for both the person who wrote asking how we keep our marriage together and the couples on VH1: I have been to a place that very few people ever go. Even other women with severely mentally ill kids haven’t been to exactly the same place I have.


Only Susan has been to that place. Because she was with me the entire time.


So for those of you who are struggling in your marriages, remember that: The only person who has been where you have been is your partner. No-one else will ever quite “get it.”


That is what “enduring love” means. It doesn’t mean to “endure the love.”


It means to endure life together, whatever it throws at you.


To endure together, to rise together, to fall together, to fight together.


To persevere together.




28 comments on “Stay Together For the Kids

  1. Stay
    Brutal. Almost too intimate. I feel I’m reading something I really shouldn’t read.

  2. Wonderful and insightful post, as always! Thank you for sharing Jani’s journey and a part of yours as well. It’s an eye-opener and is refreshening.

  3. Thank You
    Thank you for saying what most people won’t even admit to themselves. It is so much easier to blame the other person than to face your own demons. Thank you for sharing your honesty and your family with all of us.

  4. Thank you.
    Your honesty is refreshing. It is so easy to blame the other person than to face your owm demons. I know this from personal experience. When it is time to actually face your own short comings no one wants to look in the mirror. Thank you for sharing Jani’s journey and your family.

  5. thank you
    i dont really know what to say theres so much i want to say but i dont know how like Jani i live with Schizophrenia ever since i was little iv had hallucinations(one rat that goes with me a man that stands in my back yard in a black overcoat and a black hat telling me to come outside a little girl named amy that was my frind untill the man took her away) voices(mainly my father screamng my name in an angery tone or insalting me or telling me to do bad things to people dont go outside. paranoia (people watching me talking about me not likeing me and i feeling of anger anxiety fear loneliness paranoia and more all mashed to geather ina mangaled mess never knowing what to make of the world around me simply because it didn’t exist or did it? thing is i didnt have help my parents didnt care enough even after i tolled them even though it was 6 years ago i still remember what they said or what my father said anyway. he walked away leaving me more confused came back later only to say that he was going to forget that i tolled him because he didnt “know how to deal with it he didn’t want to understand” tolled my mother “not get involved with it and that its my fault and my problem to deal with” i didnt know what to do i felt completly abandond not only did i live with this feeling of lonlyness from the time i started school i come to findout that my own delusion of no one careing was true then i shut down even more the hallucinations got worse the voices got louder the whole bit i lived like that for years pushing threw everyday even now as im typing this the voice in my my head is thelling me not to that they dont care they’ll think your a creep a random a retard looking for somthing that dosnt exist that im worth nothing i could put more but id rather not.

    then i seen you your wife and jani and bodi and it made me happy happy to seen this little girl have mother and a father that love her and will do anything to help her because even tho she has this huge challenge shes happy and bright i know thers bad days then really bad days then hellish days but theres also fantastic days happy days and normal days i guess my reson for writeing you this is i wanted to say thank you thank you for helping your little girl because in doing so you helped me
    i apologize if this came out chopy and allover the place i tryed to keep it as fluent as possable

    Note from Michael: David, if you are on Facebook contact me via We have a private online support for individuals with MI just like yourself. Great place to find people who totally get you.

  6. Whoa!
    Thank you for your insight. Makes me think about my marriage and the things I hate about my husband. Not him but his behaviors. Whoa! (:o) is all I can say. God bless you and your family.

  7. I’m ok
    Michael I’m OK! I got help and back on meds. sorry about the group.

    I missed you guys! MEOW!

  8. Good writing and Expression
    I’m continually floored with your wife and yourself. By the time it was evident that 2 of my 3 children had issues, I was already divorced. However my son is now 20 and has had little contact with his father but he is just like the males in my husband’s family who are living with bipolar. Just an observation on my part of over 20 years… My son is just like his father but it seems more part of his make-up biologically that being raised to be like his father or with his father.

    My daughter whom I love and miss, is 17 and much like the females in my husbands family with bipolar…more manic and wild behaviors.

    However, all 3 of my children display anxiety and depression…my family heritage.

    AT any rate, I understand your journey and it’s not easy. It’s not an easy solution problem…it’s ongoing… it changes. It’s dynamic. Yet it’s the same. It’s heart wrenching. It’s painful.

    I remember the first time I left my son when he was 10 in a children’s psych ward. I cried all the way home. I felt I had failed. I had to admit defeat. I beat up myself a lot in the beginning. But then I learned and empowered myself. Or so I thought.

    The professionals in my state and community blame parents… and they trust the word of any psychiatrist. Sadly, most in my community lack the concrete experience or education to treat children. Or they simply don’t believe in childhood mental illness. I guess it’s better to look the other way or to blame parents.

    None of this helps my child learn to cope with her life as it is nor to learn to trust the system. It’s been two years since I saw my child. I simply agreed with the social workers that she needed more care than I could provide and I refused to take their blame. They wanted me to prove myself as a parent. I’m sorry but at this stage of the game, I had already proven to myself about my love, my desire to help my children, and my ability to work hard for all of us.

    I am just amazed with you,and I am going to be working on my story..when social services gets involved, either for what others see as neglect/abuse or because in many states, one HAS TO GO VIA SOCIAL SERVICES to access care. I want a voice to my daughter’s story and I want my granddaughter to know that I didn’t give up on her but the social workers wanted to give her away and they bullied my child into doing so.

    I have a lot to say but this isn’t the place. I want to say thank you for putting a face on parenting a child with SMI… thank you for not being afraid to share with all of us.


  9. You have an incredible ability to pull the most honest and raw meaning out of events. It takes a heroic amount of pain and energy to take all that you hate about the world and fit it into a larger context, to step back and see what is really going on each step of the way. That is something rare and truly valuable.

    Please keep writing.

  10. Deeply moved.
    Ive been following your story for the last 2 years.
    You are very very lucky that so many people around the world care so much about every one of you.

    This entry in particular really stuck with me.
    Your honestly is beyond admirable.
    While I’m not married, this was so inspiring and insightful.
    And on top of thinking of Jani every day..recently I’ve been thinking of this entry
    Enduring life.
    That is beautiful.

    It breaks my heart that I can’t help Jani.
    I don’t have money to donate and if I could, I’d fly to her in an attempt to assure her she is not alone.
    I’m 23 and living(or enduring? Haha) with a debilitating mental illness.
    Unable to work, pills every day, it IS a struggle. Until your blog I couldn’t possibly understand what my parents have had to go through. But I want Jani to know that it will get better.
    Your ability to remain in the moment is beautiful.
    In therapy, “mindfulness” is greatly stressed. It’s a difficult concept to understand..let alone apply, but the way you focus on “just staying alive”’s helped and inspired me immensely.

    I know Jani feels most comfortable around people who are mentally ill and I understand her fascination with it.
    I wish I could permanently instil in her the fact that we don’t grow up to be murderers, we don’t have to live in hospitals for all of eternity, we don’t have to smoke meth. It doesn’t mean we are criminals or bad people.
    There is a stigma, absolutely. In the news, all the absurd headlines, they have to mention they were mentally ill.
    You never open the newspaper to see articles about groundbreaking strides a schizophrenic has made.
    When I was young, I found lists of successful people, politicians, artists etc who were diagnosed with something, anything. It made me feel better. It helped me realize that it’s not necessarily a gift(I’m sure many people tell you she’s simply an indigo child and needs to be off meds in order to save the universe) but we can do amazing amazing things.
    Have you considered just mentioning in passing historical figured who have struggled as well?
    Eg, Beethoven and listening to his music in the car or something? It may be more kid friendly than listening to Syd Baret, but if it helps to listen to pink Floyd knowing someone in the band was mentally ill, hey, whatever.
    I certainly have no idea what does and doesnt help Jani.
    But I’m wondering if this is something that’s crossed your mind…and in your opinion, would that just make her more fixated on her “problems”?

    Regardless, I’m sending loads of love from Canada.

    (and keep up with the videos. They’re rad.)

  11. Special delivery
    I watched your Oprah interview on YouTube, and then watched some other videos about Jani. It brought back some things about our son who we struggled with as parents (he’s 22 now and in the Army and doing well). He was a child with several diagnoses… obsessive-difficult temperament, oppositional defiant disorder, ADHD, and then bipolar disorder. Somehow, his symptoms abated after puberty and he is completely off medications now.

    But going through the hard times, I had a thought that maybe might give you some comfort too. I thought that maybe God had a special, but difficult, person he wanted to bring into the world for some purpose, and he needed the right parents to raise the child. He wanted a couple who would love that person no matter what, and would give their lives to help that person fulfill the purpose God had for him. He chose us, and I am honored.

    Jani does have a reason for being here, and God loves her. Just maybe, God knew that you and Susan were just the right people he could trust to raise Jani to be the person that God wants her to be.

    Sorry if that sounds stupid and trite. But it did help me get through the times when I wanted to get in the car and just start driving until I ran out of gas somewhere else in another place. Maybe it can help you?


    Note from Michael: No, it doesn’t sound stupid or trite at all. It is very comforting. Thank you.

  12. You are doing an amazing job!
    Jani is such a beautiful little girl- her shining spirit just radiates out from her. I think you and Susan are doing an amazing job of helping her to live in this world, and I think it’s so wonderful how you try to see her world through her eyes. It’s obvious that you both love her very much. I can’t help you financially, though I wish I could, so I will try to help you with kind words and encouragement. I pray that God will put loving arms around all of you and give you all both strength and guidance. Please don’t let the critics get you down, they haven’t walked in your shoes and can’t know what it’s like. If it’s true that children choose their parents, then I believe Jani choose you because she knew that you and Susan could best understand her and help her. I wish I could meet Jani and just give her a big hug. I can’t imagine what it’s like for a little girls to have to fight for ownership of her own mind. It doesn’t seem fair that she should have to go through that. I think it really helps that you are so open with her about her disease and that she is articulate enough to understand as much as she does. I hope it helps you all to know that people care and wish the best for you. I will continue to pray for all of you!

  13. You are doing an amazing job!!
    Jani is such a beautiful little girl, she has a shining spirit that just radiates from her!! I think you and Susan are doing an amazing job of giving her a good life. I can’t imagine the dedication and energy it takes to keep Jani in this world. She is so lucky to have TWO parents who are dedicated to doing it. It’s obvious that you both love her very much. Every time I see Jani and her struggles, I just wish I could give her a hug. It doesn’t seem fair that a little girl should have to fight for ownership of her own mind. And will always have to. I pray that God will put loving arms around your family, and give you all strenght and guidance on your journey. Please don’t let the critics get you down, they haven’t walked in your shoes and can’t know what it’s like. If it’s true that children choose their parents, I believe Jani (and Bohdi too) chose you because she knew that you and Susan would best be able to love her and help her through life. I love how you care so much about trying to see her world through her eyes. Jani and Bodhi are lucky to have you both as parents. I will continue to pray for all of you and I hope you can take comfort from the fact that there are many people who care and pray for you. I can’t help you financially right now, but I hope I can help you with kind words and encouragement. God Bless you all…

    Note from Michael: That is very comforting, Suki. Thank you.

  14. Love You All…!
    I Can Only Imagine What Your Family Has Been Through…But There Is Relief..!

    Jesus Christ Is A Healer & Jani Can Be Healed From Schizophrenia and Bodi Can Be Healed From Autism…!

    I Have Actually Prayed For A Child With Autism…and The Child(Who Never Made Eye COntact, and Didn’t Like Being Touched) Looked Me In My Eyes, after I Prayed…!

    I Have Been Healed From A Pseudo Tumor…and He Relived My Pain

    My Husband and I Just Lost Our 3 Month Old Son To SIDS Febuary 2, 2012, But Jesus Healed Our Hurting Hearts, and Restored Our Minds…!

    I Love Your Family, and Was Moved By The Trials You All Are Enduring…and I Know Jesus Can Bring You Relief…!

    If You Would Like More Information…You Can Email Me

  15. Are you still using Lexapro? Diet…
    Hi Michael! Read your magnificent book!

    Couple of questions…

    1. Since I’ve seen what damage SSRI drugs can make to a person’s mind, I would like to know is Lexapro working for you? I’ve seen how SSRI pills makes a sane person insane.

    2. What is Jani eating usually? I’ve personally noticed the difference proper food can make.

    Note from Michael: For me personally, Lexapro has been a miracle drug. It doesn’t work for everyone (some can have bad reactions). I have no side effects that I care about. I couldn’t handle my life without Lexapro.

    Jani’s diet is mixed, although she refuses and always has refused to eat meat (doesn’t want to hurt animals). She eats a lot of vegetables, pasta, breads, cheese, eggs. She loves to cook so we generally cook at home, making things like vegetable stir-fry.

  16. About diet…
    Thanks Michael for the info!

    Regarding Jani’s nutrition… Since she’s skipping meat, does she get enough fats? They are essential to well-being, see for example:

    Nature’s own food for a developing child is breast milk. It contains fat.

    In your position, I would remove pasta and white bread from her diet altogether. Reason e.g. here:

    I would suggest fish, chicken, nuts, milk (with fat), butter, fruits, berries, vegetables, wholegrain, high fibre bread, yoghurt, dark chocolate, cheese, eggs, even bacon now and then.

    No artificial sweeteners, no artificial anything.

    When I was young, I ate a lot like Jani now: pasta, bread, margarine… I was scared of fats, did not use dairy products. And I was weak, confused, not on this planet.

    Now I eat bacon and eggs every morning, and haven’t felt better.

    That’s for now… Have a nice weekend Michael!

    Note from Michael: Chicken and fish is out of the question. She will not eat any animal. Although I think your points are potentially valid, I don’t think you understand that there is no “taking away” foods from Jani or forcing her to eat something she doesn’t want. I don’t know whether it is her schizophrenia or just she is very willfull (probably a combination of both) but there is no changing her diet and I am not going to force the issue when she is doing so well at the moment.

  17. Thankyou for your honesty.
    I want to say thankyou for your honesty. My husband and I have been married for ten years. We have one child, he is 6. I suffer from depression, often severe. I have suicidal thoughts repeatedly when I am not on my medication. from time to time in the past I have decided to try going off of it and it never ends well. I stay on it now, because my family means more to me than anything in the world and they need me to be stable.

    My husband is in the military and I have had to deal with numerous deployments. There have been times for both of us when we just did not know if our marriage was going to survive. There are days and even weeks when we go through the actions of being married but not the feelings, and there are years that we have spent thousands of miles apart. I have seen so many of my friends marriages fail and others who have endured the impossible combination of separation, sickness, infidelity and yes, even mental illness and still survive. I am not sure what makes one marriage work and another fall to peices. There are still times that I am not certain my own marriage will survive but a recurring dream keeps me grounded. I dream that my husband and I either never met or never made the commitment of marriage. In my dream I am so terrily alone and unhappy. I have no son, no husband, no life worth holding onto. Then I wake up and realize that my family is real and is still here, and I just cry from shear relief and happiness. Sometimes just realizing what life would be like without the people in it who make it both wonderful and terrible is what keeps me sane.

    Likewise, hearing stories from people like you who are not afraid to be honest about just how tough keeping a marriage together can be inspires the rest of us as well.

    Note from Michael: Thank you for your honesty, Tana. We have a totally private support group on Facebook for adults with MI (you can contact me via Facebook at but I have a close friend whose husband is in the military and deployed and I would really like to put you in touch with me. If you don’t have facebook, you can email me at

  18. About diet again…
    Hi Michael!

    In your position, I would try to find a way out of pills. In the long run, it would really benefit her, and the whole family.

    That’s your call, of course.

    However, do consider, and think where would you like to see your family in the next three years. Do you get there by continuing doing the same as before, or by changing the behavior?


    Note from Michael: I am not a believer in “alternative” treatments as a replacement for medication. Medications have given Jani her life back, a life she very nearly lost. She has a chance now. I am not about to go on some wild goose chase for a cure.

  19. thank you
    Michael – what an amazing tribute to life and relationship. You have brought out such important ideas for everyone to keep in mind. I admire your honesty, and I thank you for teaching me some life lessons.

  20. I understand… If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…
    Hi Michael!

    I understand… Your path has been really rough. If days are now good, I understand you don’t want to change anything.

    I’d like to point out: proper food is not “alternative” treatment, it’s the normal. Our bodies are not designed to need any pills for running properly.

    When you are ready, at least consider thinking changing diet. You can keep the pills there also.

    All the best for you and your family!


    Note from Michael: I respectfully disagree. First, schizophrenia is like any other serious illness and requires medication to manage it. To make the statement that “our bodies are not designed to need pills to properly function” is to ignore what science has given us. By that logic, there is no need to seek improvements/cures. Second, the human body can be deficient/lacking in things that medications can replace. Finally, although not perfect, medications are the single best weapon against severe mental illness. Life expectancy and quality of life are dramatically improved with medication. Medication saves lives.

  21. wow.
    I just finished your book and came straight to your website. I don’t want to repeat everyone else, but I’m so amazed at the strength that your family has shown in being an advocate for your daughter, and finding a way to do it as an intact family unit. Your writing is so brutally honest, and I felt the contempt, anger, love, and desperation in your words. You are a gifted writer. Thank you so much for sharing not only Jani’s story, but the story of your family as well. Putting everything about your life out in such a raw, honest way cannot be easy.

  22. hi 🙂
    i just tead your book Mr. Micharl and i had seen your family on a tv program it was cause of that show that i buyed your book. 🙂 my name is Mary and i have been diagnosed with severe ptsd and a very long time ago when we were little DID bit it wasnt called that back then it was called MPD i did not have a suportiver person in my life like jani has with you and i managed to do alot of the things on my list in my life that we all wanted to do. its very scary being diferent from evryone and nowing it sinse your a kid makes you feel even worse makes you questin people like why me? yes i now its a naughty questin to ask and im not realy asking it. :-)im using it as an example. anyways jani is sooo super pobbberly lucky to have such a great suportiv family :-):-) i bet she does all the things she puts on het list!:-):-)im legally blind so i sirry if i messed up any words sam wasnt bein nice n didnt wanna help me tonite

    Note from Michael: Thank you for writing. It is reminder that I need to get this page ADA compliant as obviously it is not. I apologize. We do have a great private online support group for adults with severe mental illness and we have another DID (three in one body). They are very friendly. If you are interested please email me at

  23. Just a note.
    I started watching with a documentary special on discovery one day, and all i can comment is “Bravo”. ya’ll seem to be extra-special people who live in extrodinary circumstances and still manage to create a wonderful existence for both of your kids. Thank You for Inspiring the world.:D

  24. axiom
    You know, I never knew what was meant by “Where-ever you go, there you are.” Thanks for explaining that. 🙂

  25. Regards from another parent
    Michael, I contacted you last year and told you I am a psych prof and we use Jani’s story in my classes to illustrate and discuss schizophrenia. I asked you last year about sleep problems, and told you about my son, Jacob, who has severe disabiltiies.

    We were talking about Jani in class today when a student told me they had seen you on tv and that you were divorced, had had an affair, and that Bohdi had been diagnosed with autism. I was so saddened to hear all of that! Now that I read your blog, it seems you are still together as a family, unless something has changed in the past few months. If that is so, I am truly relieved. Only parents of kids with severe disorders can understand the stresses and strains, and very often, it drives people apart. I hope that you and Susan, like me and my husband, have been lucky enough to find your way back to one another through the stress and strain. To add more, we lost two children in a car accident 20 years ago. When that happened, Jacob became the light of our lives, and no longer seemed so difficult. We felt so lucky to have him as a gift to our lives. But losing a child also breaks up relationships. Somehow we have weathered that, as well. I hope that you and Susan continue to grow and love, in spite of the marathon that you are living.

    Note from Michael: I do remember you, Nancy. It sounds like a case of your student believing everything they read on the internet where they take a grain of truth and blow it out of proportion. No, Susan and I are far from divorced. In fact, we have never been closer. We are still working together for Jani and Bodhi and kids like them and working on setting up the Jani Foundation as an actual nonprofit.

    No, I have never had an affair. Back in the summer of 2008 I almost had an affair with a co-woroker and have mentioned that near fatal stumble in my blogs before. Perhaps that is what your student is referring to.

    Finally, yes, Bodhi has been diagnosed as autistic but that was some time ago (before we spoke last). He has been diagnosed as autistic since 3 and will be 5 this month.