Watching the Wreckage

I want to share something interesting with you.


“The Road Not Taken (When You Were Young)” blog, where I express our financial difficulties at the end, was published on 4/27. Since then it has received 1331 hits. The total number of those 1331 readers who donated?




Amelia (twice)













The amounts range from $10 to $160, with the average being in the $20-$30 range.


On May 1st, I published “Standing on the Corner with a Cup in My Hand,” stating that we had enough for one apartment but not the other. Total hits in the brief time since it was published (today is May 2nd)?  493. 493 hits in just over 24 hours. Out of those 493, how many have donated?




Sara and Tom.


In that same blog, I also published a link to “TeamIsaiah.” Isaiah is an 8 year old boy with the following (taken from the following link:


– Pervasive Developmental Disorder, A Typical Autism

– Psychotic Disorder NOS

– Mood disorder NOS

– Anxiety disorder

*Scitzoeffected and Bipolar *(Diagnosed by Psychologist – has not been formally diagnosed by a Psychiatrist as of today) His GAF score is 30 (Global Assessment of Functioning) “30-21 Behavior is considered influenced by delusions or hallucinations OR serious impairment in communications or judgment OR inability to function in all areas.” (e.g., sometimes incoherent, acts grossly inappropriately, suicidal preoccupation) OR inability to function in almost all areas )


The Rivers family live in a small rural community with very little resources for treatment. Since the family is on Medical (state public insurance) there are very few doctors that will treat such a serious case under such limited insurance coverage. Without a vehicle, the family’s only alternative is walking and busing. While this may not be an issue for another child, in Isaiah’s case it is a an issue that is overwhelming. The medical facility where he should be seen is a 2 hour bus ride away. Not an option. These facilities being UCLA and Loma Linda Hospital. Isaiah must be held onto and guided while walking as the “voices” (hallucinations) tell him to hurt himself and run into traffic etc.


His mother is no longer able to work, as Isaiah needs full time 24/7 supervision and is unable to function in a classroom setting. He is home schooled by his mom to the best of her ability.


While the family has said that they need a minimum of $5000.00, to recover some of the costs, and purchase a used vehicle for transportation. We anticipate that with Isaiah not receiving proper medical care because of funding, and getting worse by the day, the costing will easily double or triple shortly.


Please support this family in their dire time of need, to ensure that Isaiah doesn’t become a statistic. With your contributions, they can get the necessary help and create a safe home environment to keep Isaiah at home.


Even a $10.00 donation will go a long way!! Let’s give this young boy a chance at some mental peace and stability and put the family back on track.


The TeamIsaiah website has gotten 3857 views. You know how many out of those 3857 have donated?




Of which Susan and I were one. We donated 60 dollars, taken from the donations that came to us from the 16 people above who have donated to us.


On the 28th of April, our Facebook friend and member of the support group, Annie, posted this:


“Susan asked me to put this out here- I need $400 bucks (my house payment) before the end of the month. My church paid it last month after I was fired for false allegations and was out of work for 6 weeks. I got TWO jobs and then broke my arm. They would not let me work until I got a note, so I don’t have it this month.”


We told her she could put up a link to her story and her paypal link at, which has 2, 686 members. Out of those 2, 686, we have 1, 984 active montly users. I had just received $14.26, what was left after Paypal took its fee, from a $15 donation from Jacqueline (in the list above). I immediately transferred that 14.26 to Annie. Yes, we needed rent money but Annie was facing eviction for nonpayment of her house payment and her bipolar daughter had just returned home and this was no time to fear eviction (not that there is ever a good time). She would be evicted May 1st. We have longer.


Susan called her the next day to ask what other donations she had received.


Answer? Just our 14.26.


1, 984 saw Annie’s situation, just like 1, 984 saw the financial problems that the Rivers are having trying to care for Isaiah.


And did nothing.


When I found out that Annie had gotten no more donations, I struggled with what to do. We had just received $600 dollars from our FB friend Dawn to help pay our rent. If I waited, Annie and her daughter would get evicted. But if I gave her the $400, it would destroy any chance of us making our rent on both Bodhi and Jani’s aparments.


What did I end up doing?


I wired $400 of the $600 Dawn had given to us to Annie.


Now we don’t have enough to pay rent on both apartments. We will be sued for eviction again.


But I don’t regret what I did and I would do it again. We give away a lot of the money that gets donated to us to other families in need.


What? You thought we were the only ones?


I did it because it was the right thing to do. Sure, you have to put your family first. But what about when you are gone? Wouldn’t you want someone to help your family then? Eventually, we are all going to need help.


So what about the rest of you who read my blogs and don’t give?


Some people tell me that it helps to get 501c3 status. Except that you can’t set up a nonprofit to benefit yourself. But that only applies to large donations. Nobody itemizes a $20 or 10$ donation. There is no point because it won’t get you over the standard deduction on your taxes to make it worth it. So unless you donate more than 10 grand a year, you aren’t itemizing your donations for the IRS.


If all 3857 people who have viewed “TeamIsaiah” gave just one dollar each, Isaiah would have $3857 dollars. If all 1331 people who read my blog gave one dollar, not to mention the 493 who read both, even accounting for what Paypal takes, I would have enough to pay rent on the second apartment.


So why can’t you give one dollar?


Everybody can give one dollar.


I just gave 460$ that I didn’t have.


I have thought about changing my block so people had to pay a dollar to read it (even though I have no idea how to do this) but all that would do is just drive down my readership, wouldn’t it? I would go from 4000-6000 hits on average down to probably less than one hundred.


So here is what I want. From now on, I only want people to make one dollar donations. Our paypal is on the front page or the address is I will wait a week and get back to you on how many dollars came in. Let’s see how many of you really care and how many of you are just the people who watch a car accident scene as you drive by but never stop to help. I’ll be watching “Team Isaiah” too. I can track how many people hit that link.


Time to stop your car and get out.


Or keep driving.


But if you keep driving, don’t bother coming back.






160 comments on “Watching the Wreckage

  1. The way I see it…
    I’ve never posted here before, but I’ve read for quite a while. With no need to obscure my identity, I will fearlessly say this:

    Whether you admit it or not, according to this post you’ve written, you truly believe that people SHOULD donate to you. I pour my heart and soul into my website as well, just like millions of others on the Internet. If people feel moved to donate a buck or two, how wonderful the generosity of strangers! I’m willing to bet your sense of entitlement, because life has dealt you a mothereffing horrible hand, has cost you much.

    Note from Michael: Mommytopia and I just had an private exchange. She is a good person.

  2. wish I had more
    I wish I had more – but I don’t. :'(

    Note from Michael: Shawnna, you gave ten! I was only asking for one! You just covered for nine other people!

  3. I refuse to be the type of person who just passes through and does nothing. I did my part by donating 10 dolars to your paypal. I know its not much, its almost nothing, but living in brazil and the currency issues, at least i was able to give more than the 1 dolar you suggested. hope Jani and Bodhi are good. Best Wishes, Camila

    Note from Michael: Camila, you covered for nine other people, letting them off the hook. But thank you 🙂

  4. I agree that everyone needs help and money. However that’s the thing, EVERYONE NEEDS HELP AND MONEY! I am only 16 and have –
    Mood d/o – nos
    Major Depression – Recurrent:Moderent
    This only includes my mental health not my pysical health problems.
    I want to help so bad! However I can’t! My goal in life is to be able to run my own “state hospital” to help kids like your kids and all the kids I have been around. I have problems but even so there are so many that need more/better treatment.

    Note from Michael: Cheyanne, I should have made this clear. What I said does not apply to my readers who under 18. You help by spreading the word. You are the next generation. You will carry on this fight when Susan and I and all us adults are gone.

  5. can you do email money transfers through your bank account online in the states? please email me, lame excuse i know but i dont really get paypal and its super easy to send email money transfers, and no wait time or fees…

    Note from Michael: You can, but doing a wire transfer from another country is expensive and I wouldn’t want you to spend that kind of money.

  6. I was inspired by your generosity – you helped even when you couldn’t afford to.
    I made a small donation, hope it helps.

  7. I’m 21, living on my own with extreme SAD, depression, and 2 disassociation disorders. I have no job, and currently have .50 in my bank account. My last few dollars bought my dog food.

    If I could, I’d cover the rent for you guys. But I can’t even cover my own rent. Not everyone can give a dollar, even if you can.

    Note from Michael: Very true, Rhe. Again, I wasn’t referring to you. I am glad you were able to buy dogfood for your dog. I too put our pets first, always making sure they eat even if we can’t. Let me know if you need help. I can’t give much but I can help out if you need it.

  8. Michael,
    I donated a small amount, $5. Sorry it couldn’t be more. I went to donate the same amount at the other site link you gave, but to donate on it with paypal is a minimum of more than I was planning to do. Do you know a way that I could donate $5 to them also using paypal?

    Note from Michael: I will pass it on to her. I am waiting to get her paypal address.

  9. I’m on disability so I can’t get a normal credit card (also only 21 and have no credit rating), I tried to donate the little money left on a prepaid visa card that I got for christmas but paypal wouldn’t allow me to I don’t know if it was because of the card type or if it was because there wasn’t enough money to cover a transaction fee, I’ll buy another card tomorrow and try again then.

    Note from Michael: Geeze, I should have been more specific. Samantha, you are on disability. You don’t need to give. Please. Do you need help from us?

  10. I was only donate $12. My husband is unemployed and I have 3 small kids. My 8 year old has bi-polar and I know your struggles are so much more than mine but I understand partially what your going thru. Praying for yours and Susan’s strength and Jani and Bodhi.

    Note from Michael: Your husband just got laid off. I am refunding 11 of the 12 dollars.

  11. Michael, I have donated in the past and will donate again, but I can’t right now. I can barely pay my own rent and ask my family for help almost every paycheque. Please remember that there are those of us who are not here for the trainwreck – we’re here because we’re trying to support you in every way. Sometimes support isn’t about money. I will give when I can, but I can’t right now. Next paycheque, I will put money aside to give to you guys.

    Note from Michael: No, it is fine. I am starting to feel like this is blowing up in my face. My goal was to target the people who had money, not people like you who don’t have it. Please, take care of yourself. We will be fine.

  12. I gave as well, twice last month…. thru the Jani Foundation. I gave to you as an agent of that money to distribute as needed to others including your family. Is that what you want to continue to happen? It is very hard time wise for me to personally donate to every person who needs financial assistance by logging into everyones paypal account. And honestly while I read everyones story, it is hard to know who needs how much how often. I know that puts alot on you guys, and I am sorry for that (this is why i dont maintain a foundation :))….keep doing what you are doing! Thanks for all the support you offer to others, including me!

  13. Sorry…
    Can’t donate for the next two weeks at least. 🙁 Will as soon as we can though. As always, our prayers are with you guys.


  14. Five Dollars
    I saw you tell another person on disability that they didn’t need to give. I think that is kind of you but if you are going to say that it is okay for your family to give when you guys are financially unstable, then I think it only fair that you allow others who are financially unstable to give to you as well.

    I am on disability as well. I can’t work due to the severity of my schizophrenia and aspergers. Therefore, the only way I can find my purpose in life is to help others…either by donating or volunteering. Obviously I can’t volunteer to help you guys but I can give you some of my money and I try to do so once a month. I know that $5.00 a month isn’t much but it is the best I can do and I strive to do everything to the best of my ability.

    Note from Michael: You are right. It is a contradiction in me. But it is because when I hear about others’ struggles it makes me want to help them and if nothing else I can help by not taking their donation. But I also see your point. And yes it does help. I can’t say your donation doesn’t help us.

  15. Micheal, I wish I could do more right now but I cannot. For now I will give the 5 and after paypals fees I hope it is at least 4. When I can I will give. I know you need the help. My family and I are going through a rough patch too and I have another little one on the way. I won’t go all into details about my financial woes. What I will tell you is I read your blog often an have followed Janis Journey for quite a while now. At least since I saw you guys on a special on TV. I hold a special place in my heart for your family. I sometimes wonder if I could one day be in the same situation with my children. My husband suffers from a mental condition. He is a paranoid schizphrenic. I worry about my son and the baby I am carrying. Wondering if they could travel the same road he did. He had a tough time but is now controlled by his medication. He has flourished into a man that I see as so capable and healthy. Anyways enough about me. I hope this little bit helps. Stay strong I hope better days will be upon you guys soon.

    Note from Michael: Wow. See, this makes me want to get out of the car and help you. Whatever you need, we are here for you. Remember that. Our email is

  16. Stuff
    I’m half blind, still at school, dyslexic & just gave you my last $10 which was for gas this week, so I have no gas money & can’t go anywhere. Does that make me disabled? Disadvantaged? I have no idea, but please don’t tell me I didn’t need to bother. Some people (like me) have a lower guilt threshold than others and even tho I’ve donated before I felt compelled to give you the last of what I had after reading this post.

    Note from Michael: The request was for one dollar, so you overshot by nine. I would like to return the nine but you didn’t leave your name or an email I can match to the paypal list. I have looked over the list but none of the $10 donations match your listed email here. If you would kindly email your email to and let me know what name and email you donated under I will like to refund $9.

  17. reasons for not giving yesterday
    Hi, Michael and everyone,

    I guess there’s never really a good reason not to give. But it seems like we are all sharing here, so I want to add to the conversation. What I add to the conversation might not be popular, but here it goes:

    I gave last month. just a small little amount, and I was so happy to do it. I didn’t do it through paypal because my finances are so screwy that I find I can handle things better by avoiding “red card” transactions. Maybe that’s stupid of me, but our family of 7 had over $300 in bounce fees last month because we simply don’t make the money that the world would want us to make, apparently.

    So, I came to the site to read how things are going, and to get my little envelope and send something snail mail. And then I stopped.

    Your Road Less Traveled entry made me upset. My own baggage and fears, by own past experiences, they all “converged” to have me feeling sad. I didn’t want the honesty. I didn’t want the exploration by a man of what it would be like to not be with a particular woman. I’m a bipolar middle aged woman. I’ve been off all meds for 9 weeks now. My insurance changed the rules in January and my three prescriptions went from $10 each to $130 each. We simply couldn’t afford them. But being off my meds sometimes makes me irrational and immature. Your post reminded me of marital infidelities of Christmas past, and I just got mad.

    We aren’t all craning our necks at the wreckage without giving. Some of us are just in our own wrecks.

    I’m glad I posted this because now I feel ready to give again.

    Sometimes it’s just complicated.

    Note from Michael: I understand. And you make a very good point. It is beginning to hit home for me that for so many of my readers they to are trying to extricate themselves from their own crashes. Is there something we can do for you? You can email us at or

  18. Michael, thank you for the wake up call. For a few months now I have read your blogs and spoke about Jani and your plight to friends and family, all the while sympathising with you but at the same time mentally thinking “but I am in Australia what possible good could I do”. This blog woke me up to the truth that Jani’s story not just for people in America but for everyone throughout the world who believe that a small gesture from them can mean that Jani and others can recieve the love and help they need from those who know them best..their families. Hopefully my small donation helps in some way even given the exchange rate. I may not be able to give regularly but certainly intend giving again. Take care

    Note from Michael: Thank you, Terry. Email me at and let me know where in Australia you are. The reason I ask is because I have several families in the support group from Australia (and Australian doctors still seem to be in denial that mental illness doesn’t respect the magical age of 18). Anyway, I appreciate the gesture but you have done your part for us. If you wouldn’t mind, I would love to put you in touch with families local to you who could use your help when you can.

  19. Michael, given the lack of response from people who you think should send you money, maybe another fund raising strategy would be prudent.
    It is one of the worst decisions I’ve ever heard to expect strangers to pay your rent. Strangers have their own expenses.

    Note from Michael: I have been lucky in that respect then. Strangers have come through for us time and time again. And everybody that I have given money to is a stranger. I have never met Annie or Sierra. Just because we are strangers doesn’t mean we can’t care about each other.

  20. As soon as my bank account is linked with paypal I’ll send you 20$ (it takes a few days). About being on disability I actually live quite comfortably (I live in Canada if that makes the difference). I’m fortunate enough to have a rent subsidy from mental health services they pay the bit of my rent not covered by disability and my hydro bill. I have very little debt (only 600$ from student loans my schooling is paid for through grants and scholarships). The only time I ever have money problems is when I’m manic and spend my entire cheque in one day. You need the money more than I do

    Note from Michael: Thank you and if you ever need someone to talk to in your manic states (or non manic) we are always here. I answer everything and you can email us directly at or

  21. Hi Michael,

    I have been reading your blog for a while now, and of course I saw you guys on tv as well. I read your blog for lots of reasons, but I guess I can see how on your end it looks like we’re all just gawkers. Jani’s story fascinates me, because reading about your struggles with her illness always reassures me I chose correctly in not wanting to have children. Even if they’re born with all their fingers and toes, there are invisible disabilities. I can already tell you’re a much stronger person than I am, because…I really don’t think I could handle your situation.

    I’m not married, I don’t have kids, and I do have a job. But I have bills too, and my job didn’t schedule me at all this month so money is tight. I was considering going back to waiting tables, but I fell down and busted my knee up really badly. I don’t have insurance, so I’m just crossing my fingers that I get better on my own (it’s been about 8 days and I’m still limping). Lucky for me, my boyfriend is very sweet and cooks dinner most nights so my food is taken care of. I sold some shoes and clothes online to get money in my PayPal account.

    At first when I read this entry, it kind of pissed me off. I guess partly at you, and partly at my own self because I had never donated before. And since I had never donated, I thought you were talking to me–saying I was a bad person for being interested in your story but not helping. And then I thought, shit, Alison, why HAVEN’T you helped? Even though money is tight for me too, it doesn’t make my problems worse than yours. I know $5 doesn’t help you very much, but that means it doesn’t hurt me very much either. I think you deserve my $5 just for writing a blog that I like to read.

    I didn’t like that you were guilt-tripping your readers, but it worked, so I think you did the right thing. It is really easy to think, “Well if I were him, I would…” but if I were you, I wouldn’t know where to even begin… Stay strong. Thank you for your writing.

    Note from Michael: No, I don’t think I am any stronger, except that in perhaps that I must take the slings and arrows that come my way when I right a blog like that. I find it odd that people keep referring to it as a guilt-trip because I didn’t see it that way at all. Guilt-trips are not confrontational. If I wanted to guilt trip I would paint things being worse than they are. What I perceive of what I wrote was that I was confrontational, challenging my readers in a way that no one else I know does. Did it work? Yes, but that makes me feel that I was wrong about my readers. I made me realize that I had become myopic and was not considering that there are plenty of readers who are struggling too and my blog seems to provide some sense of not being alone. I took my readers for granted. I won’t do that again. This type of blog was a one shot deal. I will never be able to write something like it again.

  22. Help
    I can’t watch the wreckage without trying to help. I mailed 240.00 yesterday. I hope it helps.

    Note from Michael: Keri, you have already more than done your share. But thank you.

  23. I just donated $10, please pass along some of it to help others. I don’t consider reading your blog as “watching a train wreck” but rather like reading an epic poem; there are villains, a damsel in distress, and a warrior who won’t give up. It is full of quiet hope.

    Note from Michael: Ashley, you are right and I was wrong. In my desperation, in my bitterness at being trapped in a life I will never get out of, I lashed out at my readers, failing to realize they too were bleeding as well. To use the car crash analogy, I hit a wall and called for help, only to realize everyone around me had crashed to. I have learned a lot from this blog. I don’t regret what I wrote because it was from my core but I will never write something like that again.

  24. Michael, I have been following your story since I saw your special on discovery health. I am currently unable to work due to the health problems of my 7 month old daughter. However, spending many nights in the children’s ward of the hospital, I learned about a little boy named judah. Started a fundraiser for him on In 3 weeks we raised $5,000 — however, I was posting on every message board a link to the website, facebook, myspace… Some people simply can not donate, but they can share the link. I DID NOT JUDGE anyone who came and visited the site for their ability not to donate. Simply sharing the link was all I asked. When they needed more help, I started fundraisers again, and only raised a couple hundred.. but I was thankful for what people could give. I am a firm believer of karma, and also to give what can.. I currently have $2.00 in my bank account.. and I tell you any extra money I have after taking care of my daughter goes to others. So what is 1331 people visited and only 13 donated… I didn’t think it cost money to read this blog. People give what they can, I don’t think ANYONE who has extra money who has read this blog has simply passed it over. A lot is on the same boat, circumstances may be different, but a lot of people are struggling financially, myself included.

    Note from Michael: I can’t argue with you at all. You are right. But I never claimed to be perfect. In moments of desperation, I can’t always be so calm. I have no other answer. This is who I am.

  25. I really find this blog entry in poor taste. To imply that the vast majority of your readers are only here for what you describe as a train wreck is insulting. Your graciousness and tact have flown out the window and with it went many caring souls with very little to nothing to give.

    If begging for handouts is no longer working for you and your family then it’s time to find something that does. You are being a bully.

    Note from Michael: Again, I can’t argue with you, Carmen. However, I don’t apologize. I did what I felt I had to do. Desperation makes you do desperate things. The reality is this is who I am. I am very generous and my whole life is about the cause of bettering the lives of mentally ill kids. It doesn’t mean, however, that I am always going to be nice about it. Sometimes my criticisms work and sometimes they blow up in the face (more the former than the latter) but this is how I fight this war. If I drove people way then that is too bad but I am not about to apologize.

  26. Point taken
    I’ve been a reader of yours for a long time. I have never donated, as the result of my personal situation that doesn’t need to be disclosed here. Please note, though, that this adds up to four requests for donations over 6 days (your three blog posts, plus the one for the other family). I would bet that many of the reader counts that you counted are repeats, as many of us check your blog often. Thus, you are insinuating that we are bad people to not donate 4 different times over 6 days. That is presumptuous, to say the least, not to mention that it goes against all of your prior defensive posts wherein you’ve responded to criticism (ie smoking costs) by insisting that no one is being forced to donate. This blog suggests otherwise. I won’t be bullied into donating, and am unable to for my own reasons. So, consider your point taken, I won’t be back.

    Note from Michael: Point taken. But I never insinuated you are anyone else were “bad people.” Again, if you feel guilty (which I know from personal experience is where anger comes from) then that is your problem. Those feelings are your own. You can’t blame me. If I wanted to guilt trip you, I would remind you that this is about a little girl. But I don’t apologize. If this drives you away, then so be it.

    Although, out of curiosity, what made you start reading in the beginning?

  27. I just sent you $40.00 I think some of what you are running into is everybody just paid their taxes. What the Bleep are our taxes going for if you have to do this just to survive.
    Oh—I have BP2, had to stop working as a nurse because I was afraid I would make a mistake and hurt someone but the SSI folks say I am not disabled.
    DO NOT send money back, my husband makes enough for us to afford the donation, it just makes me angry that we just paid all those taxes and the donation is still needed while big business screws itself up and gets government bailouts.
    Anyway, I wish you all the best.

    Note from Michael: There is so much here I don’t know where to start. You are right. I never expected to have to do this. You know, I still teach a few classes at Cal State Northridge (all online because that is all I can do). I have my own tax bills that I can’t pay yet (everything was 1099 last year). But I don’t know what you pay taxes for. The roads are full of potholes. The schools have too many students for too few teachers. And there is no social support for people like this. If I knew Jani would be okay, I could work more and this wouldn’t happen.

  28. I have been looking at Isaiah’s page for days now, and I want to help in any way I possibly can, and I know my mother would feel the same, as well. We just can’t today, nor have we been able to over the past few. We’re struggling to pay the rent, my father still pays child support inconsistently, and I have been having difficulty breathing (non-panic attack related), so I was just prescribed an inhaler (another thing to pay for – my mom hasn’t been able to pay for hers in years). In addition, I am about to lose my insurance, and there will most certainly be a gap between losing this one and registering for another. We have a little extra money; but none of it is on a debit or credit card right now because we’ve been struggling to pay the bills on such cards. Rent is due. I’ve also been debstabilizing. And my mom’s car is breaking down.

    We will be OK, though. This happens every month, and we do have connections to a food bank (we just have to wait for our ‘day’, and we’re low because we’ve been sharing a lot). We should be able to do it by tomorrow morning. I don’t know how much – I’m pretty sure we can manage more than 1$, more likely around $10 (

    Note from Michael: This is what I get for painting with too broad a brush. Eri, I have known you for a long time now even though I have never met you. You have taught me a lot about my daughter. You have no debt to pay. Like I said before, when my book comes through, I will pay you and your mother’s health insurance.

  29. There’s no reason why complete strangers on the internet should feel obligated to give you money. Shaming your readers into giving is just…awful. You’ll write a post like this but you won’t monetize your blog? At this point, what’s the difference? Get some ads and quit shaming your readers. Not everyone is comfortable donating money to a complete stranger, especially since not everyone thinks you are spending that money wisely.

    Note from Michael: I didn’t shame anyone. If you feel shame, then that is your problem. You can’t blame others for creating emotions in yourself. And yes, strangers do give money, plenty of them. Why? Because it is the right thing to do. I give money to strangers and I do it without judgment because that is not my place.

    Also, if you haven’t noticed, there are now ads on the website (Google adsense) but they don’t generate a lot of money. The most I have ever earned in one day is three dollars. Most days it is nothing.

  30. No good excuse
    I’m a single male without wife or children. I make good money. I have a masters degree and a good job. I drive a nice car. I have a 2 bedroom apartment even though I live alone. I have no good excuse not to give more. I don’t have stories to tell of the hand life has dealt me, aside from an apparent case of terminal singlehood.

    But I will give some when I can. Not because you asked, and not because of any sense of obligation, but because its the right thing to do, and Jani can’t ask for herself.

    Note from Michael: Thank you, Tom. Thank you for helping me keep Jani going.

  31. Been away for a few days
    Had to hospitalize our daughter for the first time ever. Lord, I don’t ever want to go through that again–not for my sake, but for hers! Heartbreaking is the only way to describe it. My hubby was headed to Dubai for 10 days and I had to do it all so it was a really, s&&*ty, crappy 11 days here. BUT, it wasn’t anything as dire as what you’re facing w/ the rent so the hospital is just going to get $50 less on my payment plan this month because I just sent it to you on Paypal. Hope the $50 helps w/ the rent or groceries or whatever you need. Hugs and continued prayers to you all Michael.

    Note from Michael: Been there many times myself. Still to this day Susan and I put off taking Jani back to the hospital even when we are pretty sure she needs it just because we don’t want to go through the nightmare of separation again. Like Carl says below, stability is good. Are you aware of our private online support group for parents of mentally ill children? You are welcome to join. Where-ever you are we probably have members close to you. For me just having somebody with me when going through another admit for Jani makes a world of difference. Right now, we are six months since Jani’s last hospitalization.

  32. Every little bit counts, right?
    Hey Michael, You definitely gave me a wake up call…thank you. My 5 year old daughter was just diagnosed with Type 1 Diabeties a couple of months ago. In a short moment all of our lives changed forever, especially hers. We, unfortunately, do not have a prescription plan. Hubby and I are both self-employed, so we get nailed on insurance. Insulin is quite expensive out-of-pocket…BUT, we are not alone. The world is full of people like us. Those that will give when they can, and receive when they must. This week, I can give…not much but a little. Please do not return it because of my situation. This week is a good week. Next week may not be, but please allow my heart to feel the warmth of giving. Even if it’s temporary. Best wishes to all!

    Note from Michael: Thank you, and I know what you are feeling. I know what is like to know your child faces a lifelong illness. But it is manageable, just like schizophrenia. A good friend of mine has type 1 diabetes and has had to inject himself since seven. If you would like me to connect you let me know at We were in grad school together and he is my best friend outside my wife.

  33. I donated what I could– 13.34, sorry it’s an odd amount, it rounded my account out to what I need for tuition/food! 🙂

    I remember in Santa Clarita maybe a year ago some church group (I think) had a fundraiser/garage sale type thing to support your family…is there any possibility of putting something together again? Is it something anyone has offered to do again?

    I’m not originally from Santa Clarita (I went to college as soon as my family moved there) so I really don’t know anyone, and am not connected with any local businesses or organizations or anything like that…but I just keep thinking something like that might be helpful again.

    If you (or any other readers out there) know of any groups or organizations willing to organize something like this again over the summer, I would be willing to help all I possibly can!!

    Anyway, I hope you get what you need.

    Note from Michael: Yes, we were extremely grateful for that. It is tough because no matter how much money is raised, it is never enough. It is that way for all families in our position and certainly not unique to us. I wish I could wave a magic wand and say this is going to end at some point but I can’t. I wish I had a deadline where I could say “we will only need support until_____” but I can’t because this will never end. All I can do is try to get by but I am also aware that I can’t do this forever. That being said, I don’t have any answers right now.

  34. Hat’s Off to All Donors!
    Cheers to all donors. (and cheers to all those who want to help but can’t right now). I know times are ruff, (the taxmen burned us good, last month).
    But the donations are doing their magic. Just take a look at Jani’s latest video, where she says hello to Raistlin on facebook, you’d know that all your donations are doing a lot of good. The help make Jani happier. And who knows, maybe Jani can help Raislin. I think Jani is much improved from where she was in the original Discovery program. The donations have helped.
    But Jani needs a stable physical environment. The separate apartments provide this. So if you can help out rent or foodwise, please do.

    Cheers to all and God bless us every one!

  35. You know what? I resent the tone of this entry.

    I support what you’re doing here, I think it’s commendable that you’re trying to help others while in such a dire state yourselves. And I don’t think there’s any harm in reaching out to others for support.

    BUT there’s a difference between asking and demanding. Not everyone who reads your blog feels a personal connection towards you – and while many do, a whole damn lot of us literally can’t support you if we wanted to. I’m a university student for Chrissakes, living off 90$ a week. Yeah that’s right, my job pays 90$ a week and it just ended with the school term (it was a work study position). I frequent the food bank. I don’t even have a credit card and therefore have no means of donating – so why are you making me feel guilty?

    I don’t mean for this to sound half as bitchy as it inevitibly will but – I don’t owe you anything.

    Now I’m going to get flamed for being an insensitive bitch. I think YOU’RE being the insensitive one here. Not everyone CAN donate and even if they could, they’re not automatically obligated to just because they read your blog. The tone of this essay reflects just that and I find it extremely offensive.

    Note from Michael: I don’t know. Why am I “making” you feel guilty? And, no, you won’t get flamed.

  36. I gave what I could, but I didn’t have enough to give to both Jani and Isiah. I’ll get you guys next time, I promise. I’m sorry I haven’t been able to do more. It’s hard out here for everyone, some more than others. We just have to keep helping each other where we can, right?

    I know you have no time for books, but there’s a book called The Road (it lost a lot in movie translation) about a man and his son traveling across a post-apocalyptic world.

    Repeatedly, the concept of carrying the fire comes up. We have to carry the fire, the father says. The meaning of this takes most of the book to work out, but basically that’s all the father and son have. The fire is the transmission of some small portion of meaning in a leveled world. The land they move through is brutal and frightening, but they keep going because they must keep each other alive; and more, they have to hang onto the dignity necessary to make remaining alive worthwhile. They don’t kill, they’ don’t steal from the living, they help where it’s possible and sometimes (like you and the rent) when it isn’t.

    This post hurts to look at. It’s an open wound. It is not pretty. But that’s life raising a child with a mental illness. People come here to know what it’s like? It’s like this.

    Note from Michael: Wow, beautifully said. Yes, this is the ugly underbelly of mental illness, or I think, any chronic illness, mental or physical. I know the book well actually. I taught it in my freshman composition classes last semester. I wanted my students to wrestle with the question of how do you go on, even when there is no logical reason to do so? Like you said, how do you carry the fire? Well, sometimes you have to do things you wouldn’t normally do. That is my answer to the few who feel offended by what I wrote.

  37. donations

    I’ve always donated when I could and I will continue to do so-no matter what you say on the blog-those who say otherwise are taking it personally and that isn’t your fault-it’s their own. I just donated to your paypal, unfortuanetly it was only 15 bucks, but that’s what I could do at the moment.(I know you asked for one dollar, but I was able to give a little more than that-don’t refund it! Please!!!) I am always willing to help as much as I can(although it generally isn’t much.) I tried going to Isiah’s page to donate but for some reason there was an error and I couldn’t get it figured out? I checked and re-checked my card info but something was screwed up. I know paypal charges fees and what not, but if you would like, please (as always, of course) do what you need to do with it, whether you use it for your needs or if you would like to use it for them, and even though it’s small, maybe “it all adds up.” I hate to seem like I’m putting the responsibility on you, but I really couldn’t get it figured out, I’m sorry. I will try again in a little while to see if it was just a computer issue or what.

    And please, please know-I am certainly not here for a trainwreck, I really do like to help out when I can, because I can and because it’s the right thing to do and most importantly because I am also one who deals with mental illness and have had to deal with money issues and it I know how hard it was on me, and I don’t wish that on anyone. I am here to show support when I can, and to donate the few dollars when I am able to. I have grown to sincerely care about your family in my heart. Besides, although it may be a “trainwreck” of a situation, instead of reveling in it, I hurt for you and Jani and Susan and Bodhi and I want to do all I can to take some of the burden away-even if it is just a few dollars. I hope more people continue to donate to help out if they can.

  38. You are already aware that you went about this whole donation thing in the wrong way. I find your continued genuineness to be one of your strongest assets. Some people would have deleted the entry or become defensive in the face of the criticism.

    While the donations were asked for in the wrong way, your message made me think. I was always taught that it was far better to donate directly to an individual in need, rather than to a large charity because there your donation gets eaten up by red tape. Over the years I have seen my father purchase groceries and Christmas presents for a needy family and slip me money to aide my brother and sister in law after they were laid off or unable to work. Your post reminded me of my father’s examples and I immediately donated to both causes. It’s not much now, but I can safely say that you have secured me as a donor and I will continue to do what I can from now on.

  39. Not just a donation
    I read your blog and your posts on the Jani Foundation Facebook page for a lot of reasons. I came to this place because I was interested in learning about childhood mental illness and this came up when I searched. I stayed because your writing and Jani’s story spoke to me. There is inspiration to be found in her and you and your family that I think is hard to find elsewhere. It’s very difficult to put into words exactly what this blog and following your journey means to me. (Maybe some day I’ll be able to sit down and write a whole essay about it, but that’s for another time.)

    While I’ve read for a while, I’ve never posted before. I’m also one of your readers who has never donated before. From your numbers it looks like a lot of your visitors have never done either, as well. I’m going to assume (even though it’s rarely good to do so) that there are other readers who are like me in another way: we are in the group who keep telling ourselves that we will donate…eventually. A lot of people are like that with the idea of doing something to help out when it’s not something right in front of them personally, even if they really want to help. They keep telling themselves “One day I will” for various reasons. For me, “one day” hadn’t happened yet because of my own financial issues (which pale in comparison to yours and pretty much any others posted here, but that doesn’t make them go away…if only, right?). However, if things go as they seem to be going, some of the financial worries of mine should be taken care of soon.

    So, I’ve sent you the $1.00 donation you asked for. (Actually, I used a fee calculator to figure out how much PayPal would take out and included that, so hopefully you really do get a full dollar from me.) But, really, it’s not just a donation, but a promise. Every paycheck I get, starting with my next one, at least $10 will be donated through here. You can use it however you see fit, either for your rent/food/medical/etc. or for another family in need. When things get a little better for me, the amount will be bigger.

    Right now, $10 a paycheck will not hurt for me to give away, but it can make a world of difference for you or another family. I’m done with “one day”, even if I can’t do much just yet.

    I hope that this late-night rambling makes sense. In the end, just know there are many of us (I’m certain) that want to donate but can’t for one reason or another. I’m glad to say, finally, I can at least a little.

    Note from Michael: Actually it makes a lot of sense. Actually you said what I wanted to say but less confrontationally-it’s not about the money. It’s about actually doing something. It doesn’t have to be us. Just help somebody. Charity is only worth something if we have to sacrifice a little something to do it. That is what real charity is.

  40. I stumbled across your story yesterday, and am glad I made it from the youtube video all the way to your blog, where I found out I could help. I just donated what was left in my paypal account. I know it’s not much, I’m only a student, but I hope it helps evem a little bit – ‘many hands make light work’ is a saying we have in Dutch. I don’t know if it’s the same in English.
    Good luck, to all of you, I hope it’ll all be okay.

    Note from Michael: Thank you. And the amount doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if it is 25 cents or twenty-five thousand. What is important is the commitment to actually do something, and it doesn’t have to be for us. It can be for those in your every day life. I just don’t want people to think they can’t make a difference because they can. Maybe that was what I should have written instead.

  41. Michael,

    I will preface this by saying I still and always consider myself committed, by choice, to be here to read Jani’s story until it is no more (hopefully, until it is hers.) I want to the chance to assure her, and you, and your readers, that severe childhood mental illness does not have to equal lifetime incapacitation, dependent care, and a waking death. Hardly anyone listened to me when I was advocating for myself and hardly anyone listens to me now that I’ve somehow managed to help myself. Still I feel called to do this, in the sphere of the internet and in real life.

    My reaction to what you’ve written is quite visceral anger. I think you and I both know this idea that anger always springs from guilt as you responded to someone above is not at all realistic. I feel zero guilt from my perspective. I hope you know me well enough to know why. And no, DO NOT return the donation I made a month or two ago to make a statement. Not my point.

    What you’re doing here is wrong. I agree with someone above who said it is bullying. Bullying in such a way that all of the good Christian Type B personalities on here who don’t want anyone else to think they’re selfish will cop to it immediately. You did this because you knew that to be true, because you are a socially and philosophically intelligent person who somehow justified to himself the manipulation of others who may have been less aware of these invisible, but not intangible, constructs.

    Note from Michael: I believe you when you say you don’t feel guilty. You have nothing to feel guilty about. You have your own struggles. So why then are you so angry? Is it because nobody ever did this for you? Who do you think I am doing this for, Zell? In this case, for Jani and Isaiah. Anyway, as always, I appreciate your feedback.

  42. Please let us know how it is going. If you made the rent, if it was enough.

    Note from Michael: I will. I always do. We’ve never taken more than we need. Right now we are still a few hundred short. Isaiah is well short. I want to thank my readers because you doubled the previous donations. Of course, Isaiah’s mother is trying to raise 5K, which is going to be difficult, if not impossible. One of the issues we are having is her paypal is set to a ten dollar minimum, which is creating problems obviously because not everyone can do ten dollars. I am working with her to get that fixed (our paypal has no minimum). In the meantime, people can donate to us and as long as they let me know I will pass it along to Isaiah and his mother.

  43. Dude, come on now. You’re a professor in writing. Can you honestly not see how both the content and tone of this essay is not only aggressive, but is a clear attempt to guilt people into getting what you want?

    I’ve seen from other comments that desperation is your excuse for this – I would honestly call it an attack on your readers. And while that’s an understandable, very human reaction, your execution was completely counter-productive. I promise you that you just lost the respect of dozens of readers who would potentially have donated in the future. I hesitate to say that I’m one of them. I will probably change my mind.

    Know this, I really do wish you the best. But dude, think before you write.

    Note from Michael: Yes, I am a professor in writing and rhetoric and if you will permit me a few moments I would like to share something. “Aggressive” writing involves an overt attack, perhaps namecalling, or something of that nature. I didn’t do that. “Guilt-tripping” as you call it is also not accurate either. If I had really wanted to make you feel guilty, you wouldn’t be angry, would you? If my intent had been to create feelings of guilt, I would have talked about how Jani’s cries and destabilizes everytime I have to tell her we can’t go to restaurant or something else that costs money. I would have told you about how I am terrified of not being able to “buy” Jani’s psychosis away by taking her to all sorts of places and keeping her so entertained that a psychotic thought never enters her head. I would have told you how I am terrified my lack of money is going to cause her to fall apart under the stress of not being able to have any outlets and go back to the hospital. That’s laying on a guilt-trip.

    I did none of that. What I did was what we would call “confrontational.” I confronted my readers in general. Some of you seem to be taking it personally, and you have to ask yourself why that is. It’s nothing to do with me. But aggressive and a guilt-trip? No, it was neither of those.

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to teach a little rhetoric.

  44. Would donate if I was not also paying for two homes on a teacher’s salary myself, one for myself and my 2 kids and one for their Dad who is Extremely Bipolar/Self-Medicator. I do not qualify for public assistance since they go by the gross income and not the actual income for such things and everyone tells me the correct solution is to move to Timbuktu and strip him of his parental rights in much the same way people are always shoving residential down your throats concerning Jani. HA! NEVER!

    Note from Michael: I get you completely. Fight on and we are here at if you need some backup.

  45. heres $10 more
    I work with kids with special needs. I have 2 healthy kids of my own. I donated because noone should keep driving. Good luck!

  46. Not gonna keep driving
    I work with kids with special needs. I have 2 healthy kids of my own. I donated because noone should keep driving. I also donated to Isaiah’s fund. Good luck!

  47. I’m going to donate to you but before I do – I am in England so my paypal is set up for GB pounds is it alright with you to transfer in my own currency? I think paypal will be able to transfer it to dollars at your end but I’m not 100% sure. So if you could let me know otherwise I’ll try to send it in dollars.

    I don’t quite know the exchange rate right now so I’ve no idea how much in dollars I’d even be sending.

    Note from Michael: I believe Paypal only accepts US dollars, but I could be wrong on that. As for the exchange rate, it is safe to say that the Pound is worth more than the dollar, so I think about half a Pound ought to do it 🙂

  48. While I have followed your story for years, I, myself have family and friends with children who have various mental illness. From simple ADHD to bi-polar with ADHD and Tourettes, to another family member with foster children who have been abused, both mentally and physically.

    I wish I could help you financially, but I can not, and it saddens me deeply. I just wanted to let you know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I know you and your family can get through this. G*D never gives us more than we can handle.

    Note from Michael: Don’t let it sadden you. You said you have family and friends with various mental illnesses. Do what you can for them. Help them out with your time. Offer yourself. If you help others with mental illness, be it through time or money or friendship, then you help us, too.

  49. I have thought of you and your family often since I saw your documentary years ago. You all are always in my prayers! Although I do not have schizophrenia, I have suffered from depression and anxiety almost my whole life, and I know what a struggle it is when you suffer from mental illness. I have a job, but no health insurance, and it has been tough. I just gave 2.00 and really wish I could do more! Take care and God bless!

  50. You claim that you want to get the word out about mental illness. You say that you want as many people as possible to hear about Jani, about other children and people that face these disorders everyday…and yet your last sentence in this post basically says “give me a dollar or stop reading my blog.” Sort of contradictory, don’t you think?

    You know what I don’t see on your site anywhere? Ads. Chances are that you won’t make a killing (or even a wounding) off of your site’s adspace per hit, it’s worth looking into. You’re wasting an opportunity to make a little easy money.

    Note from Michael: There are ads on most pages. Look again on the main page and to the side of every blog. I don’t slather ads everywhere but they are there.

    Oh, and this is getting the word out about mental illness. Or do you only want to hear about the disorder and not how it affects the lives of those who have to deal with it? I see.

    Yeah, there are a few who claim to be here for the reality but then complain when certain parts of that reality start getting in their face.

    And one more thing. Sorry. Keep thinking of things. What, exactly, does getting the word out about children with mental illness do if nobody is going to do a damn thing about it. This is why nothing has changed in 40 years. “Getting the word out” isn’t working well enough. I say it is time for a more aggressive approach, which doesn’t necessarily mean money. But it sure means doing something more than just reading. Go out into the world around you and help. Not us. Anyone. What most realize and a few don’t is that my last blog was a call to action. Do something. Anything.

  51. I would never send you just 50p. That I feel would be an insult to you and your family.

    I’ve sent your £24 something which I think equals around about $40. I hope that this helps you a little bit. I get paid again in about 3 weeks so hopefully I’ll be able to give you a little bit more then.

    Note from Michael: Thank you 🙂

  52. I would give more than my prayers, but currently I am a college student paying for six prescription medications to keep me sane. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers though and if the money comes through, some of it will be going to you. 🙂

    Note from Michael: I understand. Keep up with your medications and if you need help let us know at

  53. To Katrina Lou: I’m Dutch so my currency is Euros, and I donated with paypal. It’s not a problem, if you click the donate button you can just enter the amount of dollars you want to give. Paypal takes care of the exchange rate, it just takes that amount of dollars out of your account. If that makes sense.

    This is how it worked for me anyway, hope it helps.

  54. “Note from Michael: Yes, I am a professor in writing and rhetoric and if you will permit me a few moments I would like to share something. “Aggressive” writing involves an overt attack, perhaps namecalling, or something of that nature. I didn’t do that. “Guilt-tripping” as you call it is also not accurate either. If I had really wanted to make you feel guilty, you wouldn’t be angry, would you? If my intent had been to create feelings of guilt, I would have talked about how Jani’s cries and destabilizes everytime I have to tell her we can’t go to restaurant or something else that costs money. I would have told you about how I am terrified of not being able to “buy” Jani’s psychosis away by taking her to all sorts of places and keeping her so entertained that a psychotic thought never enters her head. I would have told you how I am terrified my lack of money is going to cause her to fall apart under the stress of not being able to have any outlets and go back to the hospital. That’s laying on a guilt-trip.

    I did none of that. What I did was what we would call “confrontational.” I confronted my readers in general. Some of you seem to be taking it personally, and you have to ask yourself why that is. It’s nothing to do with me. But aggressive and a guilt-trip? No, it was neither of those.”

    LOL thank you for proving my point!

    Yes, it was an overt attack. And yes, you did (rather subtly) name call, by implying that anyone who reads this blog and doesn’t donate is simply here for the drama – watching the wreckage? Yeah. To liken us to those who would simply walk by a man dying on the street is implying that we’re all heartless.

    “Don’t bother coming back,” um, okay. I won’t? There goes a bunch of people who may have donated in the future.

    What’s really ironic though – your entire argument against the fact that you were aggresive and guilt tripping is IN FACT AGRESSIVE AND GUILT TRIPPING. Holy passive aggressive, much? You’re being incredibly immature by avoiding everyone else’s confrontations:

    “I’m sorry IF I offended you BUT…”
    “It’s not my fault you feel that way.”
    “I didn’t make you feel guilty, YOU feel guilty because you didn’t donate”
    – not exact quotes, obviously, but you get the gist.

    Hey Michael, you’re being a passive aggresive ass. Did I offend you? Well, that wasn’t my intention. If you take offense to that statement then that’s your problem.

    Note from Michael: Nope, you didn’t offend me. After what I have been through it takes a bit more than calling me an “ass” to offend me.

  55. Furthermore, you could accuse anyone who ever came in contact with a charity of “just driving on”. Any time we see commercial on TV for Amnesty International, The Humane Society, Sick Kids Hospital – any time a member of Green Peace stops us on the street, are we supposed to donate every time? No, it’s humanly impossible. Unless you believe in that philosophy that everyone should donate 75% of their salary to charity and only live on the bare necessities. But clearly, you don’t.

    Note from Michael: Actually, I do. I give all the time but only to individuals, not organizations. I give to people on the street. It seems like you are looking for justification for your selfishness. And if you plan to go, why are you still here?

  56. sorry I am unable to help…
    I have a daughter with pervasive developmental disorder, oppositional defiance disorder, bi polar and some schizophrenia. I feel where you are coming from. I would love to give you a dollar…if I had one to give. My daughter isnt currently not living with us but in a group home now. We are still recovering financially. We sold our house to get out from under the burden and ending up owing $3000 and live on my disabllity income. Anyways, as I said, I feel for you. What I can and will offer you and your family are my prayers.

    Note from Michael: Thank you, Becky. Is there anything we can do for you? Are you aware of our private online support group for parents with mentally ill/autistic children?

    Also, Bodhi had PDD so we understand that, too.

  57. pardon?
    I was recently linked your site by a friend who had heard of Jani’s story and had some concern about the validity of her being authentically schizophrenic. At first I felt my friend might be a little off her rocker questioning a parent. I have to say that since reading this blog, I am most definately suspicious of your motives here sir.

    I agree with the comments that you are bullying and manipulating your readers into donating to you. I encourage anyone who has been troubled by these tactics to investigate this childs situation further. It would seem this poor child is being used as a golden cash cow for her preacher father swinging his diagnostic manual around like a bible in a tent revival.

    Note from Michael: Yes, quite the lifestyle that we live. Golden cash cow? Hardly. Can’t even pay our own rent. And I didn’t diagnose Jani.

  58. Michael, you are such a self-centered man, and your sense of entitlement is astonishing.

    You assume that because a reader is not helping YOU, he isn’t helping anyone. That because he didn’t do something for YOU, he isn’t doing anything for anyone else.

    I read your blog because I think you’re a very good writer and because I am interested in mental disorders given my own history of struggles. I also find your raw, unapologetic “honesty” (or whatever it is) provocative and fascinating. I actually think if anything is a train wreck it’s you – not Jani or your situation.

    I put my time, energy, and resources into organizations that support families managing childhood GERD and food allergies – because my 14 month old daughter has both. I also volunteer with CASA. I’m doing something – it’s just not something to help YOU personally.

    I actually donated to Isaiah. Because based on what I read on his website, I felt compelled to do so. I have not donated to you because I don’t necessarily agree with your choices for yourself or the choices you’re making for Jani. I would never criticize you for those choices – that is not my place, and I am not in your shoes. But I also have not donated money which would continue to enable those choices.

    You say that you yourself give without judgment, as if you set an example for all of us. Whatever. You’re quite clearly a very judgmental man based on the assumptions you make about your readers.

    And anyway, what’s wrong with making a judgment about a thing, in order to inform your decision about that thing? Everyone does it; it’s part of surviving and navigating life. I’m not going to donate money, “without judgment”, to a mass murderer, just because he asks for it and tells me he needs it. I’m going to make a judgment – and ultimately support a person or a cause that matters to me.

    As will everyone else. That’s what people do, and what they should do. No one can support every cause – you have to choose what matters to you most. Just because someone is reading your blog does not obligate them to support you. If that’s what you want, require, like you said, a donation in order access the site.

    You say something above – that “getting the word out” about mental illness is not enough, that it doesn’t mean anything if “people don’t do anything about it.” I wholeheartedly disagree. Not all of us are going to carry the torch for mental illness and fight for concrete changes in the medical/insurance/etc. realms. But when we are more aware of, understanding of, and sensitive to mental illness and the issues surrounding it, and as we pass this on to the people in our lives – of course that matters a great deal.

    I just can’t believe that with all the outpouring of support your family has received over the years – from donations, partnerships, volunteers, family friends – you still choose to lash out and attack everyone around you for not doing enough for you. It is shocking.

    I agree with whoever said they don’t owe you anything. And the other person who said you are a bully.

    Note from Michael: I am glad you donated to Isaiah. But I stand by what I said about “awarenss meaning nothing if you don’t do something.” We’ve been spreading “awareness” for forty years and the mental ill have fewer resources now than forty years.

    And what partnerships are you talking about? You think we are sponsored by Chevron or something?

    Second Note from Michael: Ah, “DCD” (I can see your email but obviously won’t reveal it), when did you make your donation to Isaiah? Because I have been monitoring the site. The site keeps track of all donations and I am afraid I don’t see one. When and for what amount? Just checking?

  59. Donation
    I have seen your/your family’s story on television, and occasionally read your blog. I just made a donation from my our paypal account (M. Brandon Blythe)
    I believe that life is unpredictable and that it is not the “why” that you should ask, but the “what can I do”. I believe you and your wife are doing all you can do and more for Jani. As a sufferer from depression, and a child of a bipolar parent, my empathy can only touch the tip of what you all experience. My prayers and thought are with you and yours always.

  60. Here’s $10 – wish it could be more
    In memory of my brother Michael who lost his battle with Schizophrenia. I miss him every day.

    Note from Michael: Thank you. And I think the death of your brother is a sad answer to DCD above about how “effective” awareness has been. I won’t let anyone die in vain.

  61. Just made a donation
    Hi, I made a donation from my work-from-home job (which I recently quit because of my 2 kids). It added up only to $37.95 minus Paypal fees, but as you said, every bit helps. It was 1 week’s pay of around $30 plus an extra $7 from some surprise extra work for which I think was ‘meant’ for you and was a privilige for me to give. I’m so sorry but the payment method I used takes 3-5 days to process so it will take until then for the money to find its way into your paypal account.

    By the way I feel saddened by how judgmental some of the comments have been. Who am I to judge a fellow human? I am no-one to judge anyone. I definitely felt called by Jesus to donate at this time: Matthew 25:35-36. (Anyone who is feeling judgmental may wish to read further on in Matthew 25: 37-40 !).

    from Gigi

  62. I wanted to make a further comment if I may… I do understand peoples position on feeling like you are coming off as a bully. Yes when you first read your posts it does sound that way. I do understand tho in some respect. After having dealt with my daughter for years now, it wears you down to the point where you can be nothing but harsh sounding. I feel the system let us down in so many ways its unbelievable. We begged for help because frankly we lived in fear more then anything of my daughter. She has no comprehension what a consequence is and how it could change her life or ours. My daughter later discovered from friends in a treatment facility how effective accusing your parents of abuse could be to get attention and your way. We went thru numerous times and all were unfounded of course because nothing happened. This last time when she was off her meds, she did it again and a new caseworker got assigned to her case and not knowing anything about her past made her decision against us. Becuase of this and after going thru agency after agency for help and being told there really wasnt much out there… you get very discouraged in poeople. Trust me..if these parents wanted to be a “cash cow”..they could find a much easier way of doing it then this. I admire them for being able to keep thier family together where we were unable. Its not easy. Docters arent cheap let alone the money to pay for gas to get to appointments and everything else. Maybe a slightly softer approach would help some…keep at it and keep your family together.

    Note from Michael: Becky, I am so sorry. Is there anything we can do? Would you like to come on Bipolar Nation Radio some time and share your story. You can email me at

  63. time to take a step back bud!
    Honestly Michael, Look at yourself?! Look at your comments?! You have turned into some kind of Monster. I will not read this blog anymore. You are going to have to make changes someday… perhaps taking a step back from this website and blog and focusing on what YOU can do for your family to make the situation better, I am sure the financial stress is just as stressful to Jani, as it would be to move to a more affordable apartment. Don’t bother replying.. sadly I am done following your blog.

  64. You asked…
    I am angry because I feel like you are making a mistake in creating a false sense of security for Jani through this cyber-panhandling thing. I know that it’s helping you in the short term and I know that you just want to take care of her, and that’s fine. But it’s almost the end of it now. Look how much you had to cross the line this time to bring donations up, and still I don’t think you have enough. I don’t think you feel good about what happened here. I know you’re desperate and you think this is the only way, but it’s not. I don’t need to repeat to you what other things I think would help because we’ve already talked about that. The truth is in some ways you’re like my father was, in the beginning. It did not end well, Michael. He burned himself to a crisp on my issues and by the time I was 16 and things were really getting bad, he was already mentally checked out. 10 years later, we don’t even speak. He didn’t even see me when I was inpatient and had literally been dead and resuscitated after OD’ing on Seroquel. In the beginning, I was his everything and he loved me, just like you love your daughter. It ended because human beings are finite and there is no such thing as a non-professional neurotypical person who can really put up with a mentally ill person forever. Not to this extent. No, Michael, no one ever did anything like this for me. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but the extreme abandonment I experienced is part of what saved me. It has motivated me and steeled me against all the jeers and broken promises. I think Jani needs to know how hostile the world is to us. She needs to be prepared. Otherwise she’ll be eaten alive. You can’t live forever but you have the chance now to get her ready. Starting, I hope so much, with letting one of the leases go, and trying your damnedest not to end up in this position yet another month.

    Note from Michael: I hear you, Zell. I really do. You struck a chord, like you often do. As I have already said, I am very much aware that this blog was a one shot deal, going “all in,” so to speak. What about June? What about July? I am trying to finish the rewrite on the book and get it accepted so I can get the next part of my advance, but even that is temporary. Your words scare me because they are so very true. I will not live forever. But I am not going to give up. I will find someway to secure Jani and Bodhi’s future. I promise you that.

  65. The importance of awareness
    Hi Michael. I agree awareness will not solve all problems of mentally ill people, but saying it means nothing is wrong. My sister and I have struggled with anxiety disorders, depression and phobias (me) and bipolarity (my sister) since we were children. People were very judgemental about my sisters meltdowns, she was usually treated like a brat and no one even stopped to think maybe her behaviors were caused by a mental illness. If people were aware of bipolarity maybe she would have been spared lots of suffering.

    Sorry for my english, it’s not my first language and I’m too tired to go look in a grammar how to build some sentences properly.

    Note from Michael: No, you are right. You are completely right. It can just be hard to see that when you are in the trenches, fighting for survival. But you are right. I was wrong there.

  66. ” Please know that you visiting our site and sharing with others is real help in and of itself.”

  67. It’s sad that the people living comfortably are the ones who are stingy, as opposed to those who can’t afford as much as they’d like yet give what they can. I first heard this story back when I was in high school but today in my psychology class we went over schizophrenia and I immediately remembered this story. Once I got home I searched to rewatch the story and stumbled upon this. I can’t imagine being in your situation. All in all, I’ll be donating. Sending positive thoughts your way, and good luck with all your future endeavors.

  68. Again, not donating to your specific cause is not selfish on my part, no matter how much you try to make me feel the contrary.

    I wish you would address the issues that I brought up, rather than avoiding them by focusing on my usage of certain words? Again, an embarassement of an Engling professor.

    …and why am I still here? I don’t know. In the last few days, I’ve come back solely to see your answers to my comments as I enoy an intelligent discussion. Otherwise, I do genuinely like to see how you and your family are doing. And yes, if I could I would donate. Even now. Even after you, as an individual, have lost my respect. You may have lost my respect, but the cause hasn’t. I still intend on supporting this cause in the future, when I can.

  69. Reply
    I did miss your ads. They’re innocuous and slight, and I skipped right over them. So my apologies on that front, I was mistaken.

    What, exactly, does getting the word out about children with mental illness do if nobody is going to do a damn thing about it. This is why nothing has changed in 40 years.

    I’m not going to argue with you about whether or not conditions for the mentally ill have improved or declined since the 1960s, though I find your claim incredibly hard to believe. What I will argue is the notion that an informed person is no better than an uninformed one if neither take direct action to champion your own cause.

    You’ve often mentioned in several of your blogs that you wish people would be more tolerant and understanding of Jani’s erratic behavior in public. I can tell you that, personally, I have tried to alter my own behavior and opinions towards misbehaving kids in public, directly because of points you’ve made previously in your posts. Because you’re absolutely right; we can’t know what disabilities any child is up against just by looking at them.

    I run a video game store for a living. I see my fair share of screaming children. Last week, a mother was trying to quiet her son who was having a meltdown due to the fact that he was being forced to wait in line. I thought of Jani, and how she has to have constant stimulation. So I jumped him to the front, checked him out first, and made polite conversation with him to keep him engaged why his mother paid. She broke down into tears and told me that he’s autistic. She said that she wished more people understood that he wasn’t just a brat.

    Had I not read your blog? I probably would have ignored it, let him scream, and rolled my eyes in annoyance as they left. That is the kind of subtle change that an informed populace can have upon your environment. Did I whip out my wallet and hand her cash? Of course not. But I guarantee you that my being knowledgable, and therefore more tolerant, made a difference to her.

    So go ahead. Monetize your blog. Feel free to alienate and intimidate those who read but don’t donate. It’s your damn website, do with it what you please. But realize that if you do, you’re waiving your right to bitch about people who “just don’t understand.”

    Note from Michael: Dear Meg, reading about what you did for that boy and his mother in the video game store makes me realize I was wrong. I am sorry. I was wrong. Awareness does make a difference and I am glad you made a difference in their lives. Thank you from me and please accept my apologies.

  70. Hello, I’m nineteen years old and I’ve been following you guys for a few years. I don’t make a lot of money but I would love to donate the next time I get paid. I just have a question, would you prefer that I donate to you guys or to Isaiah’s family? Please let me know and I’ll be happy to give what I comfortably can. Take care~

    Note from Michael: Dear Jessica, thank you for asking. Right now I would rather you give whatever you can to Isaiah.

  71. Note from Michael: Actually, I do. I give all the time but only to individuals, not organizations. I give to people on the street. It seems like you are looking for justification for your selfishness. And if you plan to go, why are you still here?”

    Oh really? Really?

    Okay then. If you honestly, wholeheatedly give 75% of your personal paycheck to charity, then where is your cigarette money coming from? That’s only one of the multitude of examples I can draw on. You’re clearly not giving everything you can to chairty, and living off bare necessities, otherwise you would not indulge in things such as cigarettes, going out to dinner, etc.

    Jani has a tantrum when you can’t take her out to a full course meal? Yeah, her and every other little girl. I’m not denying her psychosis, but don’t give some bullshit answer to your own indulgence.

    Note from Michael: Cigarettes cost less than five dollars. A full tank of gas costs over sixty.

  72. Michael –

    I never said that increased awareness of mental illness has been “effective” in reducing the number of deaths associated with mental illness. Just that it’s part of progress. Maybe not the part that makes the most concrete difference for your family. But that doesn’t mean that it means nothing.

    The email address I used to comment on your blog is an old one I rarely check. The email address associated with my donation to Isaiah is the one I use regularly. And the PayPal account I used to MAKE the donation is in my husband’s name. My married last name is Durbin; that should aid you in your “checking” to ensure I really did make a donation. Not that that’s your business.

    Michael, although I enjoy your writing, I don’t like you based on your “online persona” – which I acknowledge is probably not all that you are. And I think that the way you lash out at people has probably done a lot of damage in your life. But I thought about my comment, and maybe I should have kept my mouth shut. I cannot understand the degree of stress you are under. And in recognition of that I’ll make a small donation to you. I do genuinely wish good things for Jani.

    Oh, and no, I don’t think you’re sponsored by Chevron. When I mentioned partnerships I was thinking of the program you had set up with the community college interns. I know that it ultimately didn’t work out long term, but for a time – you said it yourself – they were an amazing support to your family. I am sure the demise of the progam was complicated, but I also believe (based on your own words) that your sense of entitlement, self-centered perspective, rigid expectations, and abusive lashing out was a major part of it.

    Note from Michael: I hear you. Yes, I can agree with a lot of what you said this time.

  73. A Zen View
    When i went to the office to get Food Stamps it was almost painful. I felt so defeated and deflated. Before that I ate at a Soup Kitchen and felt horrible about it. But I finally realized I had to take action and do something to help myself get onto a better path. I sat in line at the Welfare office waiting for my appointment with the others. I got my Food Stamps immediately as an emergency case. I signed up for Welfare. None of this was easy and it was very humbling. Bodhi is a Buddhist term and I finally saw what they meant by letting go of my ego – my self-conception – and accepting my reality. We are not always what we wish we are and things change. Nothing is permanent. My ego was one one of being a self-supporting, self-sufficient person, but that was shattered, and I found the flow of just being, in the moment, what I am.

    “The search for self realization is powered by our anxieties and our fears which feed our egos causing frustration with our daily life.

    To awaken to this realization is the practice of Zen where the mind is turned in on itself and we see the truth without obstruction, without distortion.

    You enter the world again, but this time with naked eyes, and there is no differentiation. You see your own true nature .. and it is simply the nature of the universe.”

    from The Zen Mind by

  74. Michael, forgive me if I sound harsh. I can’t find the sensitive words I’m looking for so try and read this while remembering that I’m writing this out of care and concern.

    I keep coming back here, reading comments and your replies. And you’re right about something: I do feel like I am watching a train wreck. It’s not a fascination I feel. It’s a fearful horror. And it’s NOT my fault or anyone who can’t or chooses not to give to you. It’s you. I’ve read your blog for a very long time. You are changing, deteriorating before our very eyes. You are not making headway. You are loosing this battle and blaming it on everyone around you.

    I feel like soon is the day that you will loose a lease and you’ll post on here that it’s all our faults. That the reason Jani had to go to residential is because the public failed her. That if people weren’t so selfish you’d be okay.

    That is NOT okay.

    Here’s the thing: yes, people should be charitable. Yes, we should help support good causes. But you cannot sit back and watch your family lose ground because the public isn’t donating as you see fit. You have a bigger responsibility. If what you are doing to keep Jani healthy and happy isn’t working then you have the responsibility as a father to find a way that DOES work.

    It doesn’t matter how much you bully or intimidate people for donations, it won’t work for long-term and eventually you’ll be right back where you started.

    There has to be something, *something* you can do aside from beg for donations.

    I can’t imagine how heavy your burden must be. I’m sure you’d love the relief of making the responsibility of others. But the truth is, the state of the world is taking it’s toll on all of us. We all have heavy burdens to carry and we all struggle. But we all can’t count on those around us to carry it long-term. People are just too caught up on their own problems and their own families. It’s sad and frustrating but it’s true. All the bullying you can do won’t change that. You can’t keep going on like this. It’s time to do something different. Either accept the things you cannot change or get creative in your fight for your daughter.

    I don’t think any of us want to see Jani lose her home.

    You have gotten a lot of excellent advice for a long time now. But you always shoot back about how such-and-such won’t work. You imply that the only way for Jani to survive with you guys is for her to be in the exact apartment in your exact town in your exact school district with the exact teachers while you do the exact same thing day in and day out. That is NOT working and you know it. If you want your train to stay on the tracks then you need to steer it in a different direction.

    At this point in time if you wreck it’s your own damn fault. Please make the proper changes.

    All that said, I really hope the best for your family.

    Note from Michael: It is working. Jani has come a long way in the way two years. And who got her there? Our decisions. I am not going to upset her world and risk her deterioration simply because people don’t like me asking for money. I won’t. And no, I would never blame my readers for Jani going to residential because it is never going to happen. She doesn’t need it. Yes, there are things I need to figure out but I will not do anything that puts Jani at risk.

  75. One other thing: You feel compelled to let us know how charitable you are and how much of your paycheck (and the donations of others intended for Jani) you donate to others.

    You really should focus on getting your family financials settled first so you will be in a better place to help others.

    Note from Michael: And how exactly do you propose I do that? You seem to imply that we don’t have enough money because of runaway spending as opposed to not enough income. I can’t work more than I do. I want to. Believe me, I want to. I want to go back to being a full time teacher. I would do anything. But Jani gets worse when I am not around because I am the only one who speaks her “language.”

  76. I hope you guys made the rent! There is alot of negativity on these comments and I hope that those who are so negative choose not to come back. This blog is supposed to bring you and your family and tons of others fightng the same battle some hope. Yes when I first read this blog I must admit I was like “whoa” but I have to also understand the desperation of what could happen if you hadn’t did this. We do whatever we can and have to do for our children. Even if it means people getting mad!

    Note from Michael: We are almost there. But as people have often pointed out, there is June, etc. Some are negative and just attackers. Others are making a point and I hear them but I don’t know what to do.

  77. You smoke?
    I am in a good deal of shock about some of things you claim about your situation in regards to how you have taken to bullying your readers here. First of all, you are a smoker? As a former smoker myself, I know full and well the expense of buying cigarrettes. It is not a matter of a mere five dollars. How often do you smoke? How many smokes a day?

    I have also come to understand that you have your family living in two seperate apt buildings somewhere in LA and the rent of those apts cost you over 2 grand a month? You claim this is necessary for your childrens safety however that claim seems void as you mention in another blog that your daughter can easily escape while you are sleeping and has! Why is it you are not living in a home somewhere on ground level perhaps in another state where the housing costs are not so high?

    Why is it you don’t have a propper job at least for a part time position while your daughter is at school or in therapy? You claim that you are a writer and this is your job. Makes sense based on your colleges degree but it does not seem to be taking care of the family and situation you created! So are your readers making these donations so that you can sit home and write as you would desire asopposed to you putting your dream on the back burner and taking care of yourself as the rest of us do?

    I have read and watched videos about your daughter over the last 24 hours and I get the feeling sir that you are running a scam here and using your daughter to do so. I really encourage readers here to take a good hard look at what is going on with this man and think again before making donations to him that you might need for your own needs and lives. This is not a man who is trying to raise awarenesss for the mentally ill. This is very obviously a man using this concept to in fact pan handle on the internet. Sir, the fact that you have used your child to these ends is as low as anyone can go.

    Note from Michael: I do have a “proper job.” I am a college instructor at Cal State Northridge (why do people keep forgetting this?” I teach two to three classes per semester, the maximum I can do without putting Jani at risk. Being less than full time, I am paid by the class and that doesn’t cover the rent. If I moved to another state, what, pray tell, would I do for work? Although that would scare me far less than what it would do to Jani. Both Jani and Bodhi have a system of support here that we have fought years to achieve and I am not going to go somewhere (because California has better mental health care) just because some stranger doesn’t like it when I ask for money. UCLA is here. Jani’s school district where they know her (and Bodhi now too) is here. Jani’s psychiatrist is here. This town is Jani’s home. The town knows her and they accept her. But ultimately, if this shocks you, you have NO, NO idea of the life we lead.

  78. Thank you all for your feedback, both positive, concerned, and negative
    I appreciate all your comments and you are welcome to continue leaving them. But I think after responding to 80 comments I have said my piece. I am not going to let people’s emotions consume me. I have to get back to work. Therefore, I am afraid I will not be able to respond to future comments on this thread on a regular basis. I will when I can. If you make a comment, please be advised it may take a few days before it shows up because comments go to wait for approval. I will approve all, but I am not going to be checking every minute. I just can’t.

    Thank you for your support.

  79. Note from Michael: And how exactly do you propose I do that? You seem to imply that we don’t have enough money because of runaway spending as opposed to not enough income. I can’t work more than I do. I want to. Believe me, I want to. I want to go back to being a full time teacher. I would do anything. But Jani gets worse when I am not around because I am the only one who speaks her “language.”

    I never said anything about runaway spending. It just appears that you are placing full faith in your income on your readers. I do realize you have supplemental income, but that it isn’t enough.

    Look at the past recent months. You were this close to losing one of both of your apartments. You only kept them due to last minute kindness of strangers. That’s just too much a gamble to ride on month after month, imo.

    My suggestion is to look outside your comfort zone. There are options out there that you are refusing to look at and at some point you may have to.

    Note from Michael: I’m listening. What other options? I am always willing to listen.

  80. One last thing Michael although you’ve said that you weren’t going to respond any further…

    Have you thought of a split-level home to rent/buy? Or a rambling home you could section off for each child. Surely you could find one for less than two grand a month, especially if you looked in more rural areas.

    That’s all I’m done. Was just trying to be helpful no matter how you take it. :/

    Note from Michael: Yes, I agree. Buying is out of the question given my credit but I still plan to move us back under one roof, hopefully by the end of summer. We are looking. I do realize that our particular situation is untenable but it has worked. I do hope my readers realize that. It has worked and I am incredibly grateful to all of them who have helped us to keep these two apartments.

  81. Hi Michael,

    As many of your readers have stated, we are all facing difficult times. Currently, the unemployment rate is at 9.2 percent. Jobless claims recently rose above 400,000. The numbers speak for themselves: we are all suffering. The recent earthquakes, tsunamis, and tornadoes that have headlined the news for months have destroyed the lives of so many families. Through charitable organizations, we try to donate what little we have to those less fortunate than ourselves. Even without the catastrophic effects of Mother Nature, families are struggling to keep a roof over their heads and to put food on the table.

    As for myself, I am currently a pre-med student and my tuition costs more than $57,000 a year. Summer classes, which start next month, will cost an additional $5,000. Of course, this doesn’t include the costs for MCAT courses or medical school applications. It’s never easy, but I’m doing the best I can. Ever since I was around Jani’s age, I had been told that college would be the time of my life. I wish this were the case. Instead, I find myself slaving away in the library studying for the next exam or preparing for my next research paper. I have given in-class presentations on schizophrenia, because I believe it’s important to raise awareness that mental illness is a disease. In part, I read your blog to understand your struggles and educate myself further.

    I have donated to your site before, but as you can probably guess, I have very little to give. My life is dedicated to becoming the most educated young lady I can be. I want to help, but this is my way of helping. Before I can help someone else, I need to educate myself. I understand that perhaps this message wasn’t to someone like me directly. However, there are moms and dads who read your blog, who may have a child like myself, who they have to support. I have multiple siblings. Clearly, costs add up quickly.

    I read your last blog with excitement because Robert Frost is my favorite poet. I think that we all take the road less travelled by because our journeys are unique. An English teacher said, “We are all walking wounded. The question is how will we deal with the hurt?”

  82. I wish I could donate some money. I am 23 and have schizophrenia and am on Clozaril like your daughter. I like reading you blog. Right now I have about $1.50 in my account but I lost my bank card so I can’t donate. When I am able to I will donate. I hope Jani is doing good. I think you are a great dad. 🙂

    Note from Michael: It’s okay, Lindsay. Your last sentence meant more to me than any money you could possibly give. I also love to hear from older schizophrenics because it gives me hope for Jani’s future. Thank you.

  83. Michael,

    You ask several readers why they feel that they are being “guilt-tripped” or “shamed”, suggesting that their emotional response is purely psychogenic rather than (at least partially) shaped by the tone of your post.

    Perhaps it is this line:
    “Let’s see how many of you really care and how many of you are just the people who watch a car accident scene as you drive by but never stop to help.”

    If you can’t see how this is a morally charged statement, then there isn’t much else I can add. To my knowledge, though, there is no inherent renumerative value to “caring” and furthermore, not donating to every deserving blogger on the teeming interwebs is not directly comparable to failing to attend to an injured person in one’s everyday life. Unless you disagree (i.e. believe that “caring” is expressed only in dollars and that making choices in charitable giving is the same as ignoring a car crash), then your statement is readily interpretable as hyperbole designed to make readers fear that you won’t want them anymore if they don’t donate. (The origins of guilt, after all, is the fear of loss of love NOT genuine remorse… guilt is not the same as remorse at all)

    Is it wrong for you to want to make your readers feel bad for not donating? Not gunna judge. Did you actually intend to do so? Probably not. But you might at least grant that your use of hyperbolic language can be reasonably interpreted as being intended to provoke guilt, if not remorse.

    That said, I hope you make more than you need, because this life has given you enough worries. I put down $2 – one for each member of my household.

    Note from Michael: Wow. As a student and teacher of rhetoric I am impressed. Sincerely. I honestly didn’t realize I had done that (used hyperbole). You are correct. By the way, great use of the Rogerian Argumentative style, a lesson to both me and my readers: a friendly tone gets one’s point across to a hostile audience much better than outright attacks. Nobody likes to feel attacked and it is instinct to react defensively. I did it and so did some of my readers.

  84. I want you to know that I donated to you with the prayer that you use it as God leads you to. I am a firm believer in helping others. Jesus calls us to in his book about helping others that can’t help themselves. We all will need it at sometime in different ways. You need in a the form of money and you may pay it forward by helping other with MI. Please know this money comes from God and God alone. I will continue to pray for your family.

    Note from Michael: I believe everything comes from God. I have to. It is only way I can get through the day. I have to believe God has a purpose in all this.

  85. Michael, your daughter’s sickness is no excuse for you to act like a passive-aggressive bully to the people who are trying their best to help you out. You say that the emotions of the commenters who disagree with you are clouding their judgment, but it’s clear that you are allowing your emotions for your daughter do just that to you.

    I would have been glad to donate any time you’ve asked, but you’ve never actually taken any steps toward getting your family out of the situation that you weaseled them into. Having two apartments obviously is not working for your family. Denying your daughter care simply on the basis that it isn’t what you picture for her or based on YOUR NEED to keep your family together is downright selfish at best and dangerous for your children at worst.

    If you would like every single visitor to the site to “donate” to you, then just make this a pay site. Don’t sit there and try to coerce readers into paying for you to fulfill your “perfect little family” fantasy.

    Please don’t bother to respond to this comment, I’m tired of your passive-aggression. There are children involved. Try and think about their needs for a change.

    Note from Michael: You think she should be is residential instead of with her family? Trying to make the argument that my trying to keep my family together is “selfish” on my part? I could say that it would be easier to send her away but that would be lying. I can’t and I never will be able to. So if that makes me selfish, so be it. I think most parents would feel the same way. Giving up a child is like cutting your arm off. You are never complete. And saying the two apartments haven’t worked is a denial of the facts. The two apartments have worked very well. How long has Jani been out of the hospital now? Six months, her longest stretch ever. In the two years we have had these two apartments, the number and duration of her hospitalizations has fallen consistently. So I mean no disrespect, but your argument does not hold water.

  86. Good luck!
    I gave what I could, I read all the time and wish I could donate, but I don’t have much money myself. Hopefully this $5.00 will help.

    Note from Michael: Thank you. Everything helps.

  87. I started coming up with reasons in my head about why I can’t donate…I’m a broke college student, I have medical bills from my battle with depression/anxiety/mood disorder that I can’t pay, etc…then I realized I was going to spend $10 to see a movie with my mom tomorrow (Mother’s Day). You need the money more. I think my mom and I are better off taking a walk around the park, anyway.

    Note from Michael: Well, thank you, but don’t take movies for granted. I deeply miss going to see movies with Susan before the kids were born.

  88. I’m under eighteen and don’t have a bank account/Paypal, which is why I haven’t donated before. May I mail it/where to? It won’t be a whole lot, but I can definitely do five dollars.

    Otherwise, your post was like a guilt-trip, yeah. That’s okay, though. Just know that a whole lot of us are on your side, Mr. Schofield.

    Also, I’m totally going to look up “Rogerian Argumentative style” now.


    Note from Michael: Gonza, I hate to take funds from someone under the age of eighteen. If you really insist, my work mail address is my reply the post below. And yes Rogerian Argument is very effective. I wish I have used it in my last blog.

  89. Hello, Michael.
    I was wondering if there was a way in which I could send a donation to you by snail mail. I know you probably get this question often, but I’m too busy to search for it. If you’d like you can e-mail me, or I can e-mail you. Here is my disclaimer, I hope you will take it to heart; I just want to help. I’m 20, but I assure you I can more than afford to donate. I self-injured from the age of a small child to about 16, and I’ve been depressed before; but, I got the help I needed, and it was rather easy since my problems were not severe. I am completely stable now and I am very thankful for that, and my remaining physical problems are mild.
    My problem, however, is that I want to give, but I am not too big into the doing-stuff-with-money-through-the-internet route of giving. Again, I want to help; I just can’t do it digitally. I work with children at a daycare and I’ve seen all sorts of children go though. We have had our concerns, whether they were suspected autistic traits, speech impediments, or extreme allergies to many foods, including entire food groups, but never anything as severe as what Jani struggles through every day, and I am thankful for that. In addition, simply put, Jani’s story touches me very deeply.
    I am starting a collection for your family because I really believe in this cause. Please don’t say you’re going to send anything back to me; please don’t even say thank-you. I don’t want recognition, and I can afford to do this. I may be young, but that helps! I want to stay anonymous and I don’t want you to worry about me. You have enough to worry about. Please also let me know any other way in which I can help. Thanks for considering me.

    Good luck in everything your family does,
    Anonymous from Michigan

    Note from Michael: Thank you, Anonymous. Obviously I don’t want to give out the address of either of our apartments and I can’t afford a PO box but you can mail anything to me at:

    Michael Schofield
    Department of English
    Mail Drop 8248
    California State University, Northridge
    18111 Nordhoff St.
    Northridge, CA 91330

    and they will make sure it gets to my mailbox.

  90. go jani!!!
    hi Michael it’s ken the psz from fb. Finally got my paypal set up and sent 5.00. You probably won’t recognize my email (worldlogicleague).

    Also I was thinking maybe Jani would be interested in the free educational videos put up by Sal at They are easy and fun to follow and students are loving them. Bill Gates has endorsed them and uses them to teach his kid.

    They have many subjects and are always adding more (biology etc.). But what’s interesting for Jani maybe is that his math video exercises start at the very beginning (simple addition) and then get progressively harder (algebra, etc.). It might be a quicker way for her to learn and they track progress with points which makes it fun.

    Here’s the first math exercise for example (basic addition):

    Here’s the exercise that follows it (7+5, etc.):

    People on youtube are raving about how much easier it is to learn with these videos. Anyway, something to think about. Take care, Ken

  91. Hi Michael,

    I’ve been following your blog on and off for a few months now, after seeing your TV special. And to be honest, I’ve wanted to donate for a while, until I came across an entry that you posted that mentioned that you smoke. And I’m sorry to bring this up again, because I do remember that someone had left a comment about your smoking habit in that entry, asking (albeit quite rudely) how you could be asking for money when some of it is going towards things like cigarettes. And I was little disappointed by your response that the few dollars that go towards a pack of cigarettes really doesn’t take much out of the money you have.

    Doesn’t it though? If you desperately need every dollar, wouldn’t saving that money help at least a little bit?

    I will be donating to you today, but please please try to quit smoking. I’m not sure if you’ve already done anything about this, because I think that post may have been a while ago, but I just wanted to let you know my concerns.

    Good luck, and I hope my donation will help a little.

  92. what happened to not responding?
    For a man that claims to be so consumed with his daughters illness it would seem that somehow you find the time to counter the comments and suggestions offered to you here that are intended for you to help yourself. You never did answer my questions comments as to why you continue to smoke to begin with. What justification will you make for that selfish choice that ultimately shortens your life and harms your family?
    You have systematically made this “wreckage” all about your daughter but lets be honest here… isn’t this more about you and what you want? Do you really expect us to believe that the seperate residence has been solely for Jani’s safety when you admit yourself you cannot keep her from escaping the residence? Then you blog about fantasizing having been with another woman you knew in college? How can we as readers be sure that you don’t have alterior motives and reasons for keeping seperate residence from your own wife? Even if all that it is is about giving you the space to fullfill your desire to be a published author and not just a boring professor?

    I have some ideas for you to solve this situation that you created so that you can no longer use your daughter as an excuse to remain in this situation. First off how about quit smoking and buying smokes? Then how about bartering with one of your students time for them to be with Jani while you go work at McDonald’s and get a regular paycheck? How many vehicles do you own? How about selling one of them or selling your computer for that matter? Or how about calling Oprah to give you some more money as you basically let her use your daughter to improve her ratings?
    Ultimately I get the feeling that no matter what is suggested to you you will find some excuse as to how it is Jani’s fault for you not being able to take care of your family. Then you will continue here with the manipulation of your readers to get them to send you money. I really hope this is the beginning for those following you and this circus you created to see the manipulator you are. I feel terribly sorry for your daughter, for other kids like her and their parents and for the people you seem to dupe each day.

  93. I’m so curious Michael, how are the donations going so far?
    Do you already have enough for the rent?

  94. Hi Michael,

    Is there an email I could reach you at? I have an idea I would like to run past you.


  95. patience
    I have been following your blog for years now and I am constantly amazed at the amount of patience you have for the negativity being thrown at you. My dad was bipolar and paranoid schizophrenic, and life was very hard growing up. I took care of him for years before he passed away in ’08. His diagnosis did not define him, as I’m sure Jani’s diagnosis does not define her. She is still your little girl, your daughter, and you are doing everything humanly possible to help her and keep your family together. In my opinion, everything you do is commendable. You are an amazing person Micheal!! I am blessed with a job as a mental health associate at a residential facility and just know that my dad is in heaven smiling down on me in my new profession. On the 20th of this month I will donate what I can. Keep fighting the good fight ;D You and Susan are the best parents to do what you do!!!

  96. Michael,
    Just feeling moved to write as I feel a connection to your family’s daily struggle. My children’s father is extreme bipolar/self-medicator. He is not doing well at all and is heavily taking lots of pain meds and illegal drugs at this point in time. He has not seen me or the kids in a month. He has lost 20 pounds and the last time I saw him I thought “How can he still be standing upright?” It is that bad. I can do nothing because he is 32 years old and he is not “sick” enough nor can we afford most of the treatment options. Not to mention the fact that even if we got him on a 72 hour hold he has no insurance so he will be out before he can really ever detox and heal. The people who offer residential don’t won’t to take him or want it all on their terms, which to someone who is in the place that he is with the bipolar and drugs, well, he is not going to agree to anyone’s terms on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, let alone the terms for such a placement. I guess everyone who ever meets me and the kids wonders how in the world did I ever choose to have children with a person such as the one they see in him. I guess that is the whole point and that is why I identify with you and your family so much. Somewhere in there, there is a man who can be so intelligent, charming, funny, witty, incandescent, beautiful, magical, caring, loving, productive, creative, on and on and on. That is the person I fell in love with, he is real and he exists and one minute with that person is so wonderful that it is worth all the pain of the times when he is not that person. JANI is that person too! SHE is beautiful in so many ways which have NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with her illness and what right does ANYONE have to judge the way in which you are trying to hold onto that beauty for her, for yourself, for your family. I know the feeling of that one good day, that one good hour, that one good minute, and I understand from the bottom of my soul that every single thing you do and every single word you type on this blog or word you say in your broadcasts is coming from a man who is trying with every ounce of his being to give his child and his family as many of those good minutes as he possibly can. It is okay to vent also, which is something most people who comment on this blog judge you ever so harshly for. Have they considered for a second the INTENSITY of life with a mentally ill family member? I am surprised you come off as eloquently as you do half the time (great job, by the way), because I usually come off sounding like more of a raving lunatic than my supposedly-off-the-deep-end partner whenever we have to deal with issues relating to his illness. Because my guard is up, because I am carrying the weight of not only myself but of him and our 2 kids. It gets pretty “crazy” at times. So, saying that, I am one person who you will never offend in anything that you put out here because I know where it all is coming from! All of the people who judge you so harshly do so because they have no clue what it is like to carry that kind of burden, nor do they have any clue what it is like to feel the kind of joy that those good minutes bring. Keep holding on to that because that is what it is all about, and I KNOW that you are giving Jani as many of those minutes as possible and you should stop, take a deep breath, and feel damn proud of yourself once in a while for it!!!

  97. I’ve been reading this blog off and on for awhile. I saw the Discovery channel special awhile back and couldn’t get Jani out of my head. I have never commented or donated before, but this post guilted me into it.

    The reason I haven’t donated is that I am very picky about the type of person who gets my money. I want to know that it’s going to good use. I’d never give money to a homeless person on the street, for example, because I’d figure they’d just blow it on drugs or whatever. However, I am generally generous with people who are having hard times due to no fault of their own, and will use the money to get back on their feet. I’ve been hesitate to donate to you, Michael, because I’ve always felt that while you are doing an exemplary job of taking care of Jani and Bodhi, I don’t think you are doing anything to get back on your feet for the long term. I know that’s easier said than done. But the lifestyle you are living right now is not sustainable, and you are always full of excuses as to why you “can’t” change it. You can’t move, you can’t switch schools, you can’t work more. Yes, it would probably cause a step back for Jani, but wouldn’t that be worth it if it eventually moved you into a financially sustainable situation? Well, that’s for you to answer for yourself. I have dontated some money; I hope you put it towards finding a long-term solution that works for your family, but using it to pay rent in the short term is just fine, too.

    I’m sorry to hear about your turles. How is Bodhi doing? I haven’t seen an update on him in awhile.

  98. OK, no problen
    OK, I’ll delete you from my bloglist & stop telling people about you. No problem. One less reader, one less statistic for you to piss on. Did it ever occur to you that some of us are days away from financial ruin as well? With an unemployed husband and garnishments taking 85% of the unemployment cheque, not a hell of a lot is getting paid for in my house either. I used to think of myself as an interested reader, but apparently I’m a gawker.

  99. just found your blog today!
    i saw the special on jani on discovery quite a while ago. long enough that i’d seen it, and then caught it again some months later. she is a truly fascinating person.

    i donated the 7.77 b/c it’s a lucky number to me, and jani’s fascination with certain numbers struck a chord in me.

    anyway. best of luck. i wish i’d seen your blog before now.


  100. Life.
    I have read most of the comments and i see a lot of very kind and generous people,most of these people know what struggle is…
    some don’t… This “HAND” life has dealt me… HAND???? seriously??????? My life is not a “Bad HAND” GOD dealt me… my life, my son, is a GIFT!!!!!!Given to me to teach me love,patience,understanding,unselfishness,In Gods Eyes, my son is Beautiful! I see him through Gods eyes. my situation right now,is just that… why?
    because I believed someone who used me,then when things got to be REAL like bills and responsibilities and he wanted to smoke cigs and cigars and chew tobacco ,the things not in our budget,he got mad, took his check again and left,there is no coming back for him now.
    my son and I need stability. So now instead of 2 incomes we have one,mine because I am on workman’s comp,why?
    Because 2 years ago the woman I gave care to tried to kill herself,filling her home with propane gas.
    I went in,tried to get her out, she fought me and pushed me over a small table injuring my back. I have permanent damage now,some days I have no feeling in my leggs,feet and fingers. but this is my life, not some hand GOD dealt me.. I ask for help from strangers because my own family,small though they are in numbers refused to help us. do they have struggles? probably, but they are not hurting or wanting for anything. If they were I would try to help. I love my child,he is my life,my joy never ever will I think of my life as some bad hand.
    don’t organizations ask for money? don’t strangers give money to them thinking they are helping? they help how? with words and t shirts and numbers to other places that “help” A family is in dire need, many are.

    we face eviction,shut off of utilities,loss of pets we have had ,some for over 10 years… Never in my life have I asked anyone for help until now..I put myself through college,worked 2 jobs one of which was a firefighter,getting paid per call, I raised 2 boys and am raising Isaiah without ANY help from the other parent.But now I need help.
    Thank the Lord for Susan and Michael and the others who have helped with donations! .

  101. How is Jani dealing with the loss of her pets?

    Note from Michael: She’s not. She’s not showing any emotion at all, which worries me.

  102. What I find interesting…
    Other than those of us who have mentally ill family members and related personal experiences I think most of us are here out of curiosity. Jani’s condition fascinates me. The effect it has had on the family fascinates me. Watching Michael’s anguish fascinates me. Thats me being honest. Thats why I keep coming here and why I keep reading.

    But its not why I donate, even though I’ve donated little and only sporadically. I donate because I see the pain. I don’t expect Michael to be a perfect man. I don’t agree with all of his decisions, and would potentially do things differently. But I do see his pain, and his love for his daughter and family. He is willing to, in many ways, self destruct in plain view of the world, to openly invite the cynics to come here and destroy him over and over. I respect him because he believes in what he’s doing so fervently that he’s willing to have his life consumed by it. I do not require him to be perfect in order to respect that or to see the real pain this family is going through.

    I think people are confusing “guilt” here with feeling “convicted.” Are you feeling convicted because you haven’t donated to the cause? Is that the reason you feel the need to come here and wage war with Michael to justify his unworthiness to receive your donation?

    I’m as cynical as the next person and I realize its entirely possible that Michael has a few screws loose and is “playing” all of us donors. But you know what? In the end my donation is a lot more about me and doing what I’m comfortable with and living up to my own belief system and a lot less about Michael and his imperfection.

    After all, I’m imperfect too. And I do feel convicted.

  103. I am one of those who reads often and usually doesn’t donate due to my own expenses. I have donated a little bit before though. Anyway, you know what I keep thinking when I don’t give? “I can only give $5 or $10. What good will that do?” Well, it’s SOMETHING! Wake up Alecia! Sorry. I’ll give my little bit from now on. You can count on that! Oh and as far as you lashing out as your readers, I get it. You’re desperate, frustrated, etc. It is weird that so many people read those two recent posts and such a small portion donated. Most people, although not all, can spare a $1!

  104. I have been reading this blog for a few months now but have never felt compelled to comment before.

    I will preface what I’m about to say with the fact that, right now, I have very few struggles in my life. I’m happily married, have a great job, and one, thankfully, healthy child. Per your standards I have no good reason not to donate money to you. But I’m not donating, I don’t feel guilty, and I’ll tell you why.

    You say this is not about you, but about a little girl. I came here after seeing your story on tv because I felt for that little girl. I wanted to learn more about her, and what it’s like to be her parent. My heart went out to Jani, because I absolutely cannot imagine how gut wrenching it would be to watch my child go through what she is dealing with. I feel for her and would probably want to help her financially…

    …but, there’s very little here (at least recently) about her. You write about your financial struggles, attempt to bully your readers into donating so that you can pay rent, and attack anyone that offers you any sort of advice about other ways to make your situation better.

    I understand that things are hard, and that it’s easier for us to offer advice than it is for you take it. I get that your readers don’t understand all the variables. But whether or not you mean to do it, you are alienating your readers and you are trying to manipulate them.

    You have absolutely every right to write whatever you want and say whatever you want. This is your blog and your story to tell. But, in my opinion, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t tell your readers “this is me, and my blog, and I’ll say whatever I want, regardless of how you feel about it” and then turn around and say “you aren’t allowed to react to it and you should be donating more.”

    I do think it’s presumptuous to insinuate that those of us that aren’t helping you, aren’t helping anyone. I am watchful of where my money goes and I do pick and choose based on the likeability of the people that I’m donating to. If you truly can only rely on the goodness of strangers to come through for you, then I do think you need to be nicer to your readers…and give them what they came her for…and that is Jani’s story…and your part in her story. Not about some fantasies you had of some girl in high school, or how not enough people are giving you money.

    I did come here, not to watch a “train wreck” but to learn about this truly amazing little girl and understand her world…and yes, even help her if I could. But, since coming here, I’ve learned more about you and have been turned off.

    I know you will say that you are not attacking or alienating. I have it all wrong. But communication is in the perception of the receptor. And I think enough of us have told you how you come across, for you to understand that you do come accross this way.

    I agree that this is about a little girl. So please focus on that. She’s the only thing that is drawing me back….not you. But, if that is not your intent, and the number of hits vs. the number of donators is truly that bothersome, then perhaps you should consider making this a private blog and only allow access to those that give to you financially.

  105. Really?
    You know, I am the type of person who really feels for people in difficult situations, but I feel as if you went about this all wrong. You are expecting people to give you money (albeit ‘1$’) and if they don’t, they are just ‘watching the carwreck’. That isn’t true. My father went through 13 years of god awful disease (not mental) and it isn’t like we were well off in the money department with a bus driver as a mother and a father too disabled to work. I never once looked at someone and thought, ‘you need to give us money’, because there are a lot of people in the world that are dealing with horrific circumstances. I get that it is difficult, I get asking for donations, but remember to ask, not demand. You are more likely to catch bees with honey, not vinegar. And bragging about what money you gave to another family kind of cancels out the good deed

  106. Really?
    Many of your readers, including myself, have special needs children. I have a disabled daughter who does go to public school, although the school is not prepared to deal with her cognitive and emotional needs. I recognize it would be impossible for a public school to have professionals on staff that are able to cater to every child who has disablilites. I had choices to make, as do you.
    You have made a choice to not put Jani into a program that is state or federally funded. You have made this choice knowing that Jani may someday hurt her younger brother, that she could potentially hurt a stranger. You have decided to live a life where you are basically a warden. As a parent, I feel terrible about Jani’s illness. I also feel that is not fair for you to expect other people, strangers even, to pay for your choices.
    What you are doing is not working. I do not feel you are doing what is in the best interest for your family, and certainly not your son. My opinion does not matter though, nor does your opinion of me matter.
    I do not expect you to finance my child, or the way my family is impacted as a result of having a special needs child. Do not expect that from me.

  107. I’d much rather donate to a cause in which I know where the money is going to. Not one, for instance, that will be spent on cigarettes.

    Yeah, yeah, I know this has been brought up again and again. But, Michael, I’m not going to give you my last 5$ if you’re just going to spend it on smokes. Sorry dude.

  108. latest manipulation
    Turtles dead? How are we the readers to know if you are telling us the truth or not? It would seem that some things happened here. You decided to bully your blog readers into giving you donations. Surprise! Your readers saw through your manipulative tactics and called you on them. Instead of taking any responsibility you have created ways to deflect and excuse your behavior. And now you claim the turtles are dead and your daughter Jani is in a non emotional state. Another deflection?

    Let’s assume that you are telling the truth Micheal. How did these turtles die? We all know that you are a man desperate for money, a man desperate for attention, a man unwilling to give up his bad habits or consider alternate suggestions offered to you to help your family. We all know that you have violent tendencies toward your wife and children when you don’t get what you think that you are entitled to. Some of us have seen your most recent video attempt at giving your viewers insight into the world of a supposedly mentally deranged child and her father the martyr who gives up his life to care for her and her turtles. We see your wife interviewing you and your daughter much as she interviews on her radio show…we see you visibly preoccupied and annoyed… we see your daughter Jani who has great difficulty with her speach abilities despite having no real speach problems when she was younger… So how did the turtles die Micheal? My guess is if it did in fact occur, it was not accidental.

    And lets assume that this latest manipulation did in fact happen and Jani is now in a state of non emotion… has it occured to you that the drugs you have her on might have something to do with that? Or maybe, just maybe Jani knows somewhere inside her what her dad is all about and with no speach capabilities and calalini nearly destroyed by mass amounts of drugs and perhaps even ect’s ( you have had her shocked haven’t you Micheal) has no way to express her deep sadness and anger over what her life has become?

    Micheal some of us can read you past the manipulations that you put out. Someday Jani will realize this too if you have not yet killed her by drugging her. At that point you will have much more to worry about than which internet blog reader will be buying your ciggarettes for the week.

    To the other readers: many of you have children that you don’t understand and you identify with Micheal. But if you really care about Jani then shift your focus back on your children and all children like them to better help them. If you cannot yet see this is a man who is using his daughter to get attention and money I strongly urge you to take the time to consider this and act accordinly to help Jani and children like her everywhere.

    Note from Michael: Wow, pretty sick. You are pretty sick. That is all I have to say. (and where the hell did you get the idea Jani has had ECT? She hasn’t. Never. ECT is very rare now and never used on children).

  109. Note from Michael: I’m listening. What other options? I am always willing to listen.

    The options anyone gives you aren’t going to suffice your ideal so it’s pointless to even list any others. I’m tired of listing ideas only to have you shoot every one of them down.

    “Quit smoking and save money there!”
    Michael: “Smoking only costs $5, but a tank of gas costs $60. Jani would get too stressed to see me go through withdrawls.”
    My take: The average smoker spends $165 a month to fund their habit. I’m not sure how much you smoke but even if it were only half that it’d still be $82. You plead with us to scrounge around and find a way, any way, to give you even just $1, but you can’t apply that same thinking to yourself? And Jani? You don’t think she knows that cancer kills millions? And that’s not including the children defenselessly exposed? Excuses.

    “Move to a less expensive district”
    Michael: “It’d stress Jani out too much! She has to have this particular school with these particular teachers.”
    My take: you can’t work with two districts and make sure she’s ever so slowly introduced into the new one? What will happen when she goes to middle school? Your district is not the ONLY one on the planet with wonderful, dedicated teachers.

    “Why don’t you take on a second job or put in more time to yours you have now?”
    Michael: “Because Jani needs me home! She can’t function without me.”
    My take: Really? There’s nobody to watch her who could learn to care for her with the care you provide? No family members? Nobody trained in her particular field? No day centers she can stay in?

    I could go on and on and on with ideas but I know how you’d respond. Your argument is that the ONLY way Jani can reside with you is if you do things exactly as you are doing them. And short of someone offering you a lucrative career where you could stay home full-time with Jani, you’ll deny any idea that makes you even the slightest bit uncomfortable.

    You want people to donate to you but there are a lot of people as evidenced by comments that are uncomfortable with the way you lead your life. I want assurance that my money would benefit Jani and not so much yourself. I want assurance you’ll work harder to get yourself out of the mess you are in and quit blaming your daughter. I haven’t donated to you, not because I can’t afford it, but because I am weary of it’s “cause”.

    If I *knew* my money would be given exclusively to the care of Jani I’d be WAY more willing and generous than forking over money to who-knows-what you’ll feel the need to use it on.

    That leads me to another concern I have. You said this:

    “When I found out that Annie had gotten no more donations, I struggled with what to do. We had just received $600 dollars from our FB friend Dawn to help pay our rent. If I waited, Annie and her daughter would get evicted. But if I gave her the $400, it would destroy any chance of us making our rent on both Bodhi and Jani’s aparments.

    What did I end up doing?

    I wired $400 of the $600 Dawn had given to us to Annie.

    Now we don’t have enough to pay rent on both apartments. We will be sued for eviction again.”

    This may make me sound like a cold-hearted monster but I have a problem with this. While I think it’s admirable that you are generous and caring of others, you are gambling with your highest responsibility, your family. In order to help a needy family you put your own at risk of loosing their home. You gambled this and put full trust (albeit bullied) on the internet to refill your once again emptied bank account. So this puts stronger pressure on the public to scratch around and find the funds Jani needs to keep her home. You did this knowing that people here care about your daughter and want to see her well. So you feel comfortable to give as you see fit because kindhearted people will come around time and time again. Gambling.. BAD idea. And on top, when a reader does what YOU yourself do and gives more than what they can afford, you say this: “Note from Michael: Your husband just got laid off. I am refunding 11 of the 12 dollars.” That seems a smidge holier-than-thou to me. Like you can give when you don’t have the funds, but others can’t. I don’t know. It rubs me the wrong way.

    If you are completely comfortable with how you operate for Jani, then I’m amazed but not surprised. And I really hope your luck holds out because it’ll be heartbreaking to see Jani’s world fall apart because her daddy refused to be proactive and think outside his own little box.

    Note from Michael: This is the only one I am going to respond to: “There’s nobody to watch her who could learn to care for her with the care you provide? No family members? Nobody trained in her particular field? No day centers she can stay in?”

    No, there isn’t. At all. There are ZERO services for mentally ill children. ZERO. Nobody trained, no day centers, nothing. Go to and see how many other parents of mentally ill children are like us. You think we are unique? How long have you been reading my blog? I would think you would know that by now.

  110. I can only assume that you are exaggerating out of stress from the comments on your site when you state:
    “No, there isn’t. At all. There are ZERO services for mentally ill children. ZERO. Nobody trained, no day centers, nothing.”

    I assume this because, after spending a quick 5 minutes on the internet I found this:
    Child & Family Psych Services, Inc. [url][/url]

    And this:
    Cleveland Clinic Psych Services

    And this:
    Anna Jaques Hospital [url][/url]

    And this one:
    The Helen Ross McNabb Center [url][/url]

    Finally, this:
    Parent-Child Center, Inc. [url][/url]

    Are these in your area? No, I doubt it. Are they the perfect solution? No, I doubt it. Are they some type of services for mentally ill children that may in fact be helpful to Jani, Bodhi, and thus your family?

    I’d bet yes.

    Note from Michael: Here is suggestion, Keppa. Why don’t you call those “services” and find out what they really offer for severely mentally ill children. I have already done it so I think it would be a good learning experience for you. What you want to ask for is if they provide any respite care, taking care of a child with schizophrenia.

    The arrogance of assuming based on what you find on the internet is appalling. Try living it.

  111. Agree with Carmen
    This may make me sound like a cold-hearted monster but I have a problem with this. While I think it’s admirable that you are generous and caring of others, you are gambling with your highest responsibility, your family. In order to help a needy family you put your own at risk of loosing their home. You gambled this and put full trust (albeit bullied) on the internet to refill your once again emptied bank account. So this puts stronger pressure on the public to scratch around and find the funds Jani needs to keep her home. You did this knowing that people here care about your daughter and want to see her well. So you feel comfortable to give as you see fit because kindhearted people will come around time and time again. Gambling.. BAD idea

    I just want to say that I completely agree with this! I would never put someone else’s family ahead of my own. Not because I’m selfish, but because my first priority is to my family. If you can’t pay rent, and face eviction, then you have no business donating $640 to anyone. You can offer support in other ways. Giving away donated money, then asking for more to cover what you gave up, is irresponsible. And it does absolutely nothing to motivate me to give you something…quite the opposite actually.

    Note from Michael: Well, that’s you. I do what I do because I would hope for the same. Do onto others as you would have them do onto you. Golden rule. We parents of mentally ill/autistic children have to rely on each other.

  112. Sorry that your family is stressed to the max and desperately need respite.
    Have you considered having a book written about your situation in order to bring in some money?

    Note from Michael: I am currently writing one.

  113. I wish everyone would keep in mind that we all need to help each other out. I felt guilt at the post at first because I knew inside that what Michael said was true. We can’t just watch and read and not offer some support (emotional, financial). As a parent of a son with Anxiety Disorder, PDD-nos and Sensory Processing Disorder, I would hate to have someone judge my decisions like some here have. We take care of our kids the best we can- that’s what counts when you raise a special needs child. That being said, Michael, do look at some of the sincere feedback and take it for what it is- people trying to help.

  114. Re: Recent Comments
    It seems that there are a lot of negative vibrations floating around.

    People who want to criticize the Schofields ought to read Jani’s entire history.

    Nobody’s perfect, but the Schofields are doing the best they can in a very difficult situation. Not only that, they are trying to help others in the same situation. And Jani does seem to be getting better.

    The donations are necessary to maintain the stability of Jani’s physical environment (the two apartments). This housing situation isn’t going to last forever, but it is necessary right now.

    There’s a need for a little more understanding.

  115. OK-stupid question. I went to Paypal to make my donation and then I saw where there was a delivery address with my real address. I was able to change that to annon, but it looks like my email will be given. So my question is do you see email addys of donations? And, how can I be sure that you will keep that info. private?
    (don’t get excited it wasn’t a big donation).
    Also- I personally object to donating to help you maintain two apartments, but I do not object to paying to read your blog. Are you aware that Amazon now sells subscriptions to articles for any price? (99 cents and up). The going rate for an article there about the size of your blog posts is about 3 dollars each. Scribd also accepts articles where people can pay the author to access them. For people like myself who agree that you should be able to earn something for your blogging, this could be a good idea? (although I see that you could loose some readers and they do take a commission).
    Also-yes you don’t want to seem to endorse random ads, but there are ad programs where you can actually choose which ads you want to appear.
    And of course you could always post a disclaimer on any adspace, if you ran Adsense like, “I do not endorse the ads and they are randomly chosen. Please use caution”.
    Also–just so you know, there are parents of children who could be called neurotypical who cannot work another job in addition to child-raising. I just think that you should remember that it is not so extraordinary for a parent to make their child their first priority. That seems to be a theme here, where parents cannot earn income due to parental obligations, but really that is something that moms, (and dads), have been doing for ages. Sure it is harder to place a child in school or daycare if they have special needs and/or communication difficulties, but many parents of children feel just like you do that they are the best person to be with their children and meet their needs. (even if there are no serious problems).
    So-I don’t think that you are going to find much sympathy there, because there are some people who have made the choice to leave their child with someone else even though they would prefer not to for economic reasons.
    Its enough to say that you have a job and that job is taking care of your children in my opinion. That pretty much explains it and everybody knows the pay-rate for taking-care of your own children is deferred at best.
    But mainly I need to know what is your policy regarding any info. (name, email addy), that you receive along-with PayPal donations and if you do receive info.) There is a space where you can leave a memo for the “seller”, if I put, “please keep my info. private”-in that space would that be enough to ensure that it would be?

    Note from Michael: Yes, I see all your information and of course I would keep it private. I always have. What exactly are you worried that I would do with it? I have thanked people on my blog for donating and some have later asked that I not, so I respect their wishes. But yes, a simple request for privacy would suffice.

  116. Note from Michael: Well, that’s you. I do what I do because I would hope for the same. Do onto others as you would have them do onto you. Golden rule. We parents of mentally ill/autistic children have to rely on each other.

    You’d hope for the same? You received donations from people who were struggling and you refused all or most of their donation.

  117. A
    I used to read your blog quite a bit a while back but stopped because of the limited amount of info on Jani. I just read this last post and am a little appalled at your behavior. Every one has problems. Although not of the mentally I’ll sense. My husband was a sheriffs department Sargent and was killed in December, leaving me alone with my 3 year old son. A DRAMATIC change for him. He is coping, as is I. Were doing what we have to do to survive and take care of ourselves. Please don’t say that he is of sound mind when comparing him to your daughter, because he is only 3. his world has been torn apart and he does not have the common sense to understand any of it, but he is coping and surviving the days. It seems to me that you need to make some changes to better you future. Are you going to sit around begging for money in the years to come or would it be smarter to cut costs else wear to be able to support your family yourself.

    Note from Michael: I am very sorry for the loss of your husband. And I am very sorry for your son. Heartbreaking. A powerful reminder that some things in life are so precious they can never be replaced.

  118. Note from Michael: “Well, that’s you. I do what I do because I would hope for the same. Do onto others as you would have them do onto you. Golden rule. We parents of mentally ill/autistic children have to rely on each other.”


    Yes, that is me…and it is the Golden Rule. I would be furious if I donated money to help a child and then her parents arbitrarily decided that 2/3 of that should go to some other use, then have the gall to come back and complain about how they aren’t getting enough and everyone with “money” needs to step up and help them more.

    I would be confused and upset to find out that money that I received as a donation came at the expense of another child losing her home and the stable life her father is saying he’s fighting to keep.

    If you don’t have the money to pay rent, you have no business giving what you don’t have away. It’s not selfless behavior, it’s erratic and irresponsible. You owe it to the people who donate to you to use the money the way you say you’re going to use it. You owe it to your wife and children to put their well-being above that of strangers.

    There are a million other ways you can lend support that is not financial. When your book makes it big and you can support your family, then you can give to these others financially. Until then you offer them understanding, emotional support and whatever information you can dig up for help. And if there’s no “help” that is magically waiting out there already, you and those other parents ban together and create that yourselves.

  119. more lies and manipulation

    You never did explain how the turtles died Micheal. I hope that your readers are beginning to see the truth about you and your motives.

    Note from Michael: Forgive me if I don’t jump immediately to answer your questions. I was mourning. I am still mourning. We had adopted a new turtle, a female who I suspected might be gravid (about to lay eggs). Turtles will not lay eggs in water so we needed to get her a place where she could if she had to. We decided to convert the balcony of Jani’s apartment into a “turtle garden.” We went down to the local hardware store and bought some sand, top soil, and a few ferns (because turtles like privacy when they lay eggs). Jani and I put the sand down and then the topsoil over it and placed the ferns around. Then we brought the turtle, who we named “Big Momma” out. It looked so nice we brought all four of our adopted turtles out to play and give them some time out of the tank. They were all having a good time. We had to go out so we thought we would leave them there. When we came back two hours later, the two smallest were gone and the rest were hiding under the unused bags of top soil. They looked frightened. My first thought was that the other two must have dug down so I turned over every inch of sand and soil. Nothing. Then we wondered if they had scooted in while we were putting the others back in the tank so we tore apart the apartment looking for them. Nothing. There was no way for them to get out and there was no way for anything that couldn’t fly to get in. That’s when it hit me what must have happened. We have hawks around. I didn’t even think about them. It never crossed my mind. I searched online and found out that hawks and other birds of prey will take turtles. They fly them up high and drop them to break the shell. I felt terrible. So, yes, I suppose you can say I did kill them, but not intentionally in the way you keep suggesting. We thought we were doing something nice for them and we inadvertently sent them to their deaths. I am still struggling to deal with that.

    And yes, I guess UCLA does perform ECT. I didn’t know that. But as you can see if you read the page, ECT is used in the treatment of severe, untreatable depression, not schizophrenia.

  120. strength
    I came accorss your blog while doing research for my classes. I am a psychology major and I actually graduate this coming saturday MAy 14th with a BA in Psychology. Obviously, being a college student i dont have much money but i also dont have many bills so i made a small donation. I hope it helps. In the future I plan to donate more. Keep up the strength. It really inspires me.

    Note from Michael: Thank you for the kind words. It’s nice to hear.

  121. Really?
    I first heard about Jani on Oprah, and let me tell you I was touched and I feel for you and your family immensely. I have told others about it, but as for donations, I am fiscally unavailable to do so. Please do not make me, and others, feel bad for not donating. If I could, I promise you, I would.

    Note from Michael: I won’t. I’m sorry if I made you feel bad.

  122. Have to agree with Carmen here too…
    “Quit smoking and save money there!”
    Michael: “Smoking only costs $5, but a tank of gas costs $60. Jani would get too stressed to see me go through withdrawls.”
    My take: The average smoker spends $165 a month to fund their habit. I’m not sure how much you smoke but even if it were only half that it’d still be $82. You plead with us to scrounge around and find a way, any way, to give you even just $1, but you can’t apply that same thinking to yourself? And Jani? You don’t think she knows that cancer kills millions? And that’s not including the children defenselessly exposed? Excuses.

    Michael, please respond to this. You have to be able to see the logic here. I wish you would at least acknowledge it. 🙁

    Note from Michael: What do you want me to say? I don’t spend 165 dollars a month but as Carmen said it really doesn’t matter how much I spend. I never said smoking was logical. No addiction is. That’s why it is an addiction. I appreciate people’s concern in this area but it is just not a priority for me right now.

  123. Thanks for the reply and no it was nothing personal just that the email that I have attached to Paypal is my real name and I try not to post that online anywhere. The “note to seller” section is fine and I’ll just put, “please do not post my name or info.”
    I am glad to donate a little not so much as to help support your family, but to support your blogging/writing and your sharing your story with us.
    As far as the cig. smoking-I have to give you credit for at least posting the truth about it since it does bother people. It would be so easy for you to lie. As a smoker, I know why you feel that quitting would be a major problem. Did you know that the Eric Clapton rehab now does nicotine detox? Its on an island and i’m thinking that if I ever quit I’ll need inpatient detox.
    Frankly I think its one of the more responsible things that you do, (not quitting). I’m terrified of the idea of using the drug that everyone uses and then becoming homicidal/suicidal from side-effects, so I do want to be monitored if I ever quit myself.
    In fact I’m going to donate enough for you to buy yourself a pack (next week when I get paid).
    I’ve tried the gum, (expensive-why don’t they sell smaller packs?), the lozenges, (only made me nauseous), and now I smoke cheap smelly cigars that look like cigs. The electronic looks interesting but the base price to buy it is 95 dollars!
    If you take anti-depressants already, I’m curious about if you have ever tried Wellbutrin© for the non-smoking side-effect? Changing meds is tricky too and I get that that is your main reason for not-quitting in the 1st place, (to retain stability), but I just wonder since you already take meds if this could be an idea or if you would even consider considering trying to quit?
    Maybe after your book comes-out?
    This is a really long post already, but I also just had the idea that if you had a teaching job in Jani’s school, you may be able to move out of the district if they allow parents who work in the district to send their children there? And be available to her during the school day and have the same days-off schedule as your children?

    Note from Michael: I tried Wellbutrin years ago and it gave me the shakes. Lexapro works very well for me. It is the only anti-depressant I have ever taken that does without side effects for me. As for the smoking, I have actually quit for long periods of time. I quit about a year before Jani was born and didn’t smoke for three years. Then, of course, I fell down. A few years later I tried again, using the gum (which had worked the first time) but this time it made my jaw hurt. I would like to hope that one day I will be able to quit. I don’t want to smoke my entire life. But honestly it just isn’t a priority right now.

  124. I wish I could donate, but…I don’t have that money or a paypal account. But, Michael, I do want you to know that I whole-heartedly support what you’re doing for Jani. How is she doing? And how is Rebecca Stancil these days? I remember watching the documentary that ABC News did on your daughter and Rebecca, and I’m curious as to how they’re both doing. Tell her that as a fellow paranoid-schizophrenic on Thorazine, I hope that something comes as a cure for us…even if it’s in our 60’s or even our 70’s…That would be the best day of my life. Please do know that I am keeping her and Rebecca in my heart forever, and that I hope they are doing well.

    Best Regards, Casey.

    Note from Michael: They are both doing pretty well. Jani’s progress is more gradual while Becca’s has been nothing short of amazing. She plays on a softball team now. She is on Saphris and it has really done wonders for her. It is like her schizophrenia never existed. Hopefully she will continue to do well. Saphris didn’t work for Jani but the current cocktail of clozaril, lithium, and thorazine allows her to be more functional than we ever could have hoped for.

  125. Can the Schofield’s live in a turtle garden?
    Wait, you can’t afford to keep a roof over your head, but you’re out buying supplies for a turtle garden?! Michael, it sounds like you don’t know how to prioritize your finances at all.

  126. Thank you for getting back to me, Michael. I’m amazed to hear that Becca has progressed that much from what I saw in the documentary, and that’s so sweet that she’s on a softball team now!! I’m so happy for her!~

    As for Jani, I hope and pray that she will progress just as much as Becca has. It’s good to know that two of my own kind are getting better. I haven’t as much, but maybe their luck will spread to me. I sure hope so, because being age 18, I have my Schizophrenic-attacks at the worst times. My doctor is going to put me on a higher dosage of my Thorazine on May 14th, 2011 so I can successfully go to my Senior Prom. I hope that Jani is able to enjoy hers, as well as Becca. They have my hopes, prayers, and even my heart as I reach to them in hopes that they get better even more, Jani as much as Becca has.

    Good luck to your family, and good luck to Becca’s family as well. Please send them my regards. Thank you!

  127. Karen
    Just wondering if you’ve ever read this book, entitled “Karen.” Written many years ago by her mother, Marie Killilea. It’s one of my favorite books, as it chronicles the story (and lots of fight and hard work) of a girl born with Cerebral Palsy. At one point, when Karen was young, her parents got all sorts of advice like, “Put her away in an institution and leave her there,” and “In China they take children like this to the top of a mountain and leave them.” I don’t know…maybe it would be an encouraging read for you. Just a thought. I’m reading it again (for the umpteenth time) and thought of you.

  128. Keppa’s comments
    Keppa wrote:
    “Are they some type of services for mentally ill children that may in fact be helpful to Jani, Bodhi, and thus your family?
    I’d bet yes. ”

    Oh my gawdddddddddd, this just makes me so mad! Keppa, you obviously do not have a mentally ill child because with that one statement you have just proven what those of us who DO have mentally ill children beat ourselves senseless saying over and over…there are NO APPROPRIATE SERVICES for mentally ill children!!! I cannot tell you how many ADULTS have failed my child in the last ten years! Psychs., teachers and even some of their grandparents want to just pump them full of drugs to keep them “compliant.” Camps for physically handicapped, camps for autistic kids, camps for cancer kids, camps for cheerleaders, basketball, swimming, acting… but have you ever tried to (a) find a camp for mentally ill children, that is (b) near your home, and/or (c) AFFORDABLE?

    My husband and I work our butts off and make very decent money, especially considering the economy right now. Do I make as much as I could? No, I actually make about 1/3 of what I did before we adopted our daughter. But because of her issues (and providence from above) I must work from home now, making a pittance of what I used to. However, we still make good money–but nearing 50 years old we are back to living paycheck to paycheck because between the cost of medications, doctors to prescribe those medications, gas to the doctors to get those prescriptions, gas to the therapists (if you can even FIND one who will treat your child), the therapists fees, the special (safe) foods, the cost of replacing the things she destroys, blah blah blah–every single penny we earn that does not go to food/housing/necessities is spent to try to HELP our child. And not only is there NOT help for mentally ill children, for you to suggest that Michael take advantage of the ones on YOUR list, just proves that you are clueless. It’s not like McDonalds where you just drive up and take what you’re given. The majority of these types of programs are put together with rose-colored glasses and in no way address the real day-to-day issues that we face with our kids. Your attitude is appalling to me, and even more, it saddens me because it is the same damn attitude I get from even my FAMILY members. Come live my life or Michael’s life–or better yet–Jani’s life for seven days and then come back and act like you know what you’re talking about. I would bet everything I own that your tune would be changed and your superior attitude would be where it belongs.

    ACK–my apologies to everyone else but this just really pissed me off!!!

  129. “As far as the cig. smoking-I have to give you credit for at least posting the truth about it since it does bother people.”

    Yes, I agree, thank you for commenting on it! (Sorry, I know I was bugging you about it a lot.) It probably doesn’t make sense, but your at least acknowledging it somehow makes it seem less of an issue (to me at least), and I’ll try to help a little here and there again in the future.

    But please let us know how/if the donations you’ve received since this post have helped!

    Note from Michael: Yes, we made rent. Thank you to you and everybody.

  130. Apparently now Michael you’re an evil turtle killer (this is where a picture of me doing a face-palm should be inserted). Alex Michael admits his faults everyone has them and just because he admits them doesn’t mean you should attack him. You’re not perfect either no one is “let those of you without sin cast the first stone” he’s not doing anything illegal his daughter is sick and their in a desperate situation and unless you’ve been in it before you have no idea what it is like. Leave the medicine up to the doctors and stop posting obscure studies and news items from a website that visibly supports nothing but alternative medicine.

    Also ECT is very rarely used to treat psychosis nowadays its used mostly in treatment resistant depression when it is used for schizophrenia it is used as a short-term treatment since the results do not last more than 6 months. It also isn’t as cruel as you may think since you’re under anesthesia.

  131. more lies and manipulation

    It says that it is used to treat people who are psychotic. You and Susan have said yourselves many times that Jani is psychotic or in a psychotic state so why should we trust that you have not had her shocked? You have put that child on about every psychotropic drug imaginable to “cure” her schizophrenia so why should we believed that you have not had her ect’ed?

    By the way, how are Jani’s liver enzymes and her white blood cell counts these days?

    Note from Michael: I can’t control what you believe but I have nothing to prove to you.

  132. Sending my prayers and a little cash
    I feel horrible that so many people can’t find it in their hearts to donate just a dollar. I have just made a payment of $5.00 to your account. I follow you and Susan religiously on Facebook and have corresponded a bit back and forth with Susan. One thing I know for a fact – both of you are wonderful, giving and loving people. To give when you have nothing yourself is something that most people can’t fathom of. I got let go from my job three weeks ago today and my husband lost his job about three weeks prior to that. Times are tough, but not tough enough that I can’t help you and your cause.

    I know it isn’t much, but I hope it helps a little bit! God bless you, Susan, Jani and Bodhi – and all the other families out there! 🙂

  133. Hi Michael,

    I donated $10 and wish that I could send more. As the mother of a child with Asperger’s syndrome and ADHD, I very much appreciate your blogs and Susan’s podcasts concerning mental health. My best wishes for the two of you, Jani, and Bodhi.

    And everyone who is giving you a hard time for smoking needs to chill out. You’d think cigarettes were heroin or something :).

  134. will no longer visit (gawk)
    I agree especailly with what was written by “dcd, May 05, 2011”. I will no longer visit your blog. Just because I have not previously given a monetary donation to you, does not mean I don’t help others … financially and otherwise. I will not justify or explain why I have chosen to merely follow your story and not to actaully donate. ‘Seems to me that money and donating is what this site has become about. I won’t be back because, clearly, readers who don’t donate are cleary resented 🙁

  135. I have been interested in your story for several years. And after not reading your blog for many months, I stumbled upon it last night. It makes me physically ill to think that there are movie stars and athletes that are making millions and millions of dollars simply to entertain us, while people like you and your family sit and suffer. I was able to give $10 and wish more than anything I had more to give. As I read your latest blog I was overcome with emotion. While my life has not been a bed of roses I cannot even begin to imagine what you have been and continue to go through. It seems to me that the readers who feel the need to post judgmental responses, have had the pleasure of having a life without major trauma. I have found through my own journey that when you do experience extreme situations you become less and less judgmental of everyone else because you realize that you have absolutely NO idea what you would do unless you have experienced the very same situation. It is so easy to sit from the outside and tell someone what they should be doing and how easy it seems to you but in reality there are so many things tht have to be considered. I say all of this in an effort to even give you one second of encouragement. I hope that you know that God has entrusted you with this precious child because he knew that not everyone could handle it. Look to Him for strength when it seems you have none. Look to Him for hope when it seems all hope is gone. He will never leave nor forsake you if you call out to Him. I am not a religious fanatical I am someone who has gone through very difficult situations and the only way I survived with my own sanity was to count on God every second of every day.

  136. So sorry
    I’m really sorry about your turtles. That breaks my heart. Poor little guys. I know you feel bad, but it was an accident. I never would have thought it could happen either.

    Incidentally, you do attract some wierdos here, angry people…try not to let yourself be drawn in.

    Best, Jen

  137. Turtle Habitat?!
    Oh please, you can’t afford your necessary living expenses, but you’re out at Home Depot buying supplies for a turtle habitat?
    How much of your readers’ donations went towards that? It seems that Michael doesn’t understand how to prioritize his finances. The last thing he should be doing at this time is adopting pregnant turtles.

    Note from Michael: If it helps Jani, I will do it.

  138. I read out of compassion, not to view the wreckage. I can look inside my own head to view my own wreckage…which is much smaller than yours, but still, a daily, personal struggle. I wish that I could make all Jani’s struggles go away. I wish I could help your financial burdens. I sent a little bit today. If Jani would like a disco ball for her turtle habitat, by all means, use the little bit I sent to contribute to that. No judgment….just compassion.

    Note from Michael: Thank you, Karen. It is just nice to hear some friendly words. And I think a disco ball for the turtles is hilarious!

  139. My husband and I caught your documentary on the OWN network last night. We were in awe of what you go through on a daily basis to keep your family together. Your family was on my mind today, so I did a search to see how Jani is today and found your website.

    Our 4 year old was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes a few months ago, and while it is no where near the same, it is a chronic illness that must be dealt with day in and day out. We are so fortunate to have health insurance to cover our expenses. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family…and I will be donating here within a few minutes.

    Note from Michael: Thank you, Stephanie. Yes, it is a similar response to the illness. Both diabetes and schizophrenia require lifetime management.

  140. This is my first time to this blog. I must admit that your original post is somewhat off-putting. I read some of the comments. I have no problems with how you spend your money. I think what your dealing with is beyond what I can imagine. Your anger seems (or as some people called it, a sense of entitlement) displaced. Sometimes I worry about those who are trying to save everyone else all the time (you gave Isaiah’s family all the money that you yourself needed) because they forget to take care of themselves. I firmly believe that you are most useful to everyone around you when you are fully intact. This means that self-care is important. This means viewing yourself and your own needs as a priority. Some people say the line from the bible, “love thy neighbor as thyself,” is about remembering to value yourself too, and to give to be sure to give to yourself as much as you are willing to give to others. I don’t know. You seem like you are in a difficult situation. It is easy to lose track of yourself. Just my anonymous two cents.

  141. Made my first donation tonight. It isn’t much, bit it is what we can right now. I have a lot to say about this post/responses. It is late, so I will be finishing it tomorrow but wanted to get the money to you ASAP. Go buy that sweet Janni some new toy she wants 🙂

  142. Made my first donation tonight. It isn’t much, but its what we can do this month. I have a lot more to say about this post/comments… but it is late, so I will be finishing that tomorrow. I wanted to get the money to you all ASAP though… go buy that sweet Janni a little something she may be wanting. Again, you will be hearing more from me 🙂

    Hope all is well.

    -Jessica (not a heartless, arrogant, idiot – like some of these commenters)

  143. just a little
    I was totally moved by Janis story, i watched the special a while ago, and recently saw it again. I decided to look up how she was doing and i came across your blog and your asking for money. Michael, it doesn’t matter if you buy soil for a turtle with the money i donated, the point is, you asked for help and I could spare a little money. The soil (in which im referring to because others made a big deal about ‘wasting’ your money on it) although it had a tragic ending, it made you and, hopefully, Jani happy while building their sanctuary. Its simple things in life that can make someone even with the worst odds against them, happy. I would hope that instead of criticizing you, people would either choose to help, or stop reading.
    keep up the good fight and I will keep you and your family in my thoughts.

  144. hi
    While I don’t agree with the OP, readers have shown their true colours in the comments.

    You people are disgusting. Is all.

  145. why is everyone attacking Michael??
    Choose to read his blogs or choose not to. Choose to donate or choose not to. But until you are living in his shoes, I say step off!! Don’t attack him and accuse him of these terrible things that you really know nothing about! Michael and Susan are doing whatever they need to do to keep their family functioning. If you dont want to be a part of the solution, please go somewhere else to be part of the problem. Just back off of michael. Its really starting to piss me off!! Sincerely, APRIL

  146. You don’t speak for those of us with mental illnesses, and I don’t appreciate you acting like you do. Your statement in the comments to this post “But I stand by what I said about ‘awarenss meaning nothing if you don’t do something.’ We’ve been spreading ‘awareness’ for forty years and the mental ill have fewer resources now than forty years” is extremely othering and offensive. I am grateful for every single person who chooses to learn a little bit about my illness and treats me a little more like a human being because of it. I wouldn’t consider that less than donating money or advocating because it actually does more to help on a daily basis. I would never condemn a person who is not able (or even willing) to donate money or time to advocate for me or others with my illness – MI isn’t everyone’s cross to bear, regardless of what your entitlement tells you. We don’t need to be saved by big bad neurotypical Michael Schofield, chastising everyone who doesn’t behave the way he feels is appropriate. You are not some sort of savior to “the mentally ill” because you are doing what you feel is necessary to keep your family together. You may choose to speak for your daughter even though she can speak for herself, but this aggressive and entitled post proves that you don’t speak for me or the vast majority of those of us with MI, so stick a sock in it and stop alienating people. It’s only hurting us.

    I have gone without to donate money to your family in the past, but I absolutely will not in the future. And before you go searching through your donation list like you did to dcd, I used a different e-mail to write this comment than I did to donate because I don’t trust that you won’t retaliate, as you have so much anger and hatred in your heart. I wish all the best to Jani and I hope that you are able to let go of the anger you demonstrate here and describe in your other posts. Trust me, from experience – your energy is better spent helping your daughter, rather than lashing out at strangers on the internet. If you feel the purpose of your blog is to gather donations rather than education, I suggest shutting down your site, becoming a panhandler, and stop using your daughter as a martyr and moneymaker.

  147. Many comments who wrote eon May
    I am commenting on several things I have read here. 1) To Katherine who wrote on May 2: It is impossible to be diagnosed with schizophrenia and aspergers at the same time. It is a wise thing to see a different doctor. Hopefully, someone who Really understands MI. 2)To MP who wrote on May 4: the child diagnosed “bi-polar with ADHD’ may well benefit from a 2nd opinion. 3) To Becky who wrote on May 5th about her daughter being diagnosed with ‘pervasive developmental disorder, oppositional defiance disorder, bi polar and some schizophrenia’: Go to another doctor!! IMMEDIATELY! To read that she was diagnosed with ‘pervasive developmental disorder, oppositional defiance disorder, bi polar and some schizophrenia’ is downright scary. A successful future for her requires it. 4) Krystal who wrote on May 8th: I question the accuracy of your father’s diagnosis -bipolar and paranoid schizophrenic. I am certain there was something that required treatment. Sadly, when the incorrect diagnosis is made, people will not do well. 5)To Angie who wrote on May 16: The diagnosis of ‘Asperger’s syndrome AND ADHD’ is questionable. 6) Michael: Sounds like you know what you are doing. I would be remiss to not say: I also question the diagnosis Jani has recieved. …. or maybe her mother doesn’t know what psychosis is. I saw a youtube video in which Jani’s behavior is described as ‘psychotic’. No. Not at all. ABSOLUTELY! Jani is a very coherent little girl. It is important to address this ASAP! I wish you all well. Please know, Michael, only good caring people are commenting on your website here.

    Note from Michael: And what makes you such an expert? Why should your questioning of these diagnoses be taken seriously, especially since these diagnoses aren’t exactly handed out like candy. It seems to me you want to stick your head in the sand and deny that these diagnoses can occur in children or than they can be comorbid.

  148. about isaiah
    I was just at websites about Isaiah. Given this said about Isaiah:
    “Unfortunately, Isaiah’s diagnosis of schizophrenia is not his only one. Isaiah also suffers from: Pervasive developmental disorder; Atypical autism; Psychotic disorder; Mood disorder; and conduct disorder.”


    Note from Michael: Two questions: Why do you think “they” (I assume you mean the medical doctors who diagnosed) don’t know what they are doing? Two, what exactly is “real mental illness” to you?

  149. Sense of entitlement
    Well I’ve just spent quite a bit of time on this blog. A friend of mine saw the Oprah segment on Jani so I was attempting to find information on her and her condition and how her and her family are faring. I’ve had clinical depression since 13 years of age so I have an awareness of mental illness. Now I could make all sorts of excuses as to why I haven’t donated. I’ll stick to the simple one. My son is albino, his condition comes with a raft of issues so all my money goes on him. What I disagree with Michael is that people getting are getting on this site are simply here to “watch the wreckage”, personally, thats not true. Might be true for some human beings but I see it in terms of this; No one who doesn’t care would take the precious minutes out of their day to read Jani’s story out of sheer nosiness, my opinion. You have to have a certain amount of empathy for human suffering to be interested in her story at all. You should be looking at your blog two ways, one – to raise money, two – to raise awareness. Both will help Jani. No amount of money will help her if she goes out into the world and is misunderstood, that wont give her the precious good memories to keep her with you that you so desperately want, I know this because I’ve suffered from a mental illness myself. Awareness of any illness is essential, both for acceptance, and for raising money. There will be many people in this world who wouldn’t have known that these disorders can affect someone as young as your daughter. I will keep reading this blog, and you never know, I will tell someone, who will tell someone else who may tell someone who will throw a few thousand into the pot, that is awareness.

    Note from Michael: Very true, but when I am trying to keep two roofs over my children and food on the table, it is not always easy to be polite. And this is “awareness.” It’s funny how people separate “awareness” from the financial pressures that come with having a special needs child, as you know all too well yourself. The real awareness is that families like ours are desperate. We cannot work enough because our children need constant care and nobody is qualified to provide it. But nobody seems to want to hear that part. They want to hear about the disease, not what it does to a family.

  150. One more thing.
    Those of you who are commenting on possible misdiagnosis? There are a hundred ways to suggest something without being offensive. And remember this, you can criticise until the cows come home. But know this, and I’ve had personal experience with my own son and diagnosis of a disability, Jani’s parents are the ones who have been there from day one, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week watching her grow and watching her behaviours both good and bad. They know what is working, and what hasn’t. Psychological disorders are misdiagnosed every day, I agree with that, however, do you really think that Jani’s parents are sitting back and taking the first opinion that comes along? Hardly. They’ve had more than one opinion, and whether it be right or slightly off is not for you to say, their work with Jani will never end, there will always be another professional to talk to and another course of action to try to help with Jani’s quality of life, its insulting to both of her parents to assume that they have taken the first diagnosis and run with it. Pull your heads in.
    That is all. I will now shut my big mouth.

    Note from Michael: Please don’t. I rather like your “big mouth.” Thank you for your support. You said your piece very well.

  151. From one poor person…
    It’s funny how most often, the ones least able to afford to donate something are usually the first ones to do so. I’m very poor… painfully poor, most days. I’m on government assistance; food stamps. I receive so much that we can’t eat it all, so I buy groceries for my struggling neighbors.

    While working at a grocery store, any time we did fundraising drives for this or that charity (usually Children’s Miracle Network) you could count on the people paying with pennies and quarters for their food to scrape some more out to throw in the jar and help.

    The cleanly pressed suits with their bluetooth headsets and CG style, driving away in their big cars with expensive labels? You didn’t even want to ask, because you already knew the answer.

    A sniff, the look of smelling something faintly fecal. And “no.”

    A dollar.

    A freaking dollar for sick kids. The best givers were the ones least able to do so.

    I will admit that sometimes you frustrate me, Michael. I have a smoking husband who can’t quit, and frankly, it pisses me off that you would smoke when you’re having such financial trouble. But you know something? God didn’t tell me to give “to people who were living perfect lives” only. Iti’s not my place to decide where the gift I give go. I give to panhandlers for the same reason. Because if Jesus Christ were walking by, do you really think He would stop, look them in the eye, and say, “Nah, you’re just gonna spend it on booze anyway.”

    If we don’t help others when they need it, even if it hurts us to do so, how the hell can we expect anyone to help us?

    Some people don’t understand altruism. Others actively ridicule or despise it. Personally? I wish more people had altruistic tendencies. If they did, we wouldn’t have politicians cutting funding for hungry, poor seniors and babies to save a buck while balking at repealing the least tax cut.

    Now that I’ve said that, I have another message for you, Michael. From one writer to another, you need to stop reading this damn comment, and work on your manuscript (I say as I ignore my own.) You have a compelling story that people will buy, you just need to focus more of your time working on it. Don’t protest, I know how it is; the many words you’ve spent defending yourself here tell me how much you like to procrastinate.

    Shut up and write. 😉 For your babies. I’ll make you a deal… if you do it, I’ll do it.

    Note from Michael: I have noticed the same thing. Those who donate to us most often are those least able to do it. I don’t know where the wealthy are. I guess they don’t read my blog. They come and say “Oh, that’s too bad,” and then move on. I think they were the ones I was really targeting.

    As for my book, you will notice the long periods in between blogs. That is when I am working on the book. I only blog now when I don’t have a draft due. I turned in my second draft on June 1st and am awaiting feedback. It should be coming soon so the blog I just posted will probably be my last for awhile as I will be back to working on the book.

    And I love your point about Jesus. I believe the same thing. When you give, you give with no strings attached.

    And sorry about the smoking. But I don’t drink a drop and booze would be more expensive.

  152. Oh, twitter feed error
    You don’t need to post this comment, feel free to delete it, but this has been driving me crazy for months. Your twitter feed link is messed up; either you need a new widget, or your login info is messed up.

    Error message: “This account is locked due to too many failed login attempts — try again in 647 seconds”

    Note from Michael: Yes, I know and I am sorry about that. The bad news is I am not sure what is going on with the twitter account. It has been haywire ever since this site got rebooted a year ago after a two month crash. The good news is I don’t ever update the twitter account so you are not missing anything there. When I get around to it I will try to fix it.

  153. What is going on?
    Hi Michael. I am responding to your comments to my concerns about the diagnoses various people have mentioned. First, I am surprised you posted my comments. It is really sad you choose to respond in the manner that you do. You ask what makes me such an expert. First, As I see it, there is no such thing as an expert – only people with various amounts of knowledge and, in these circumstances, an eye for correctly applying the knowledge. Having said that, I am educated in the mental health field. I no longer work in the field. I have seen first hand what happens when people are misdiagnosed – misdiagnosed by ‘experts’. With some of the concerns I shared – by shear definition, the diagnosis is flat out impossible! Others just plain don’t make sense. I am certain there is something going on in each situation and it surely needs to be addressed. What exactly is going on requires a competent mental health professional. When people are wrongly diagnosed, they do not get better. They actually get worse. I have seen it! To you, Michael, I again say: “Michael: Sounds like you know what you are doing. I would be remiss to not say: I also question the diagnosis Jani has recieved. …. or maybe her mother doesn’t know what psychosis is. I saw a youtube video in which Jani’s behavior is described as ‘psychotic’. No. Not at all. ABSOLUTELY! Jani is a very coherent little girl. It is important to address this ASAP! I wish you all well. Please know, Michael, only good caring people are commenting on your website here.” Yes. Jani is a very bright girl and deserves the correct guidance to be her best. What I saw inthe youtube video IS NOT PSYCHOSIS! Let her be correctly diagnosed NOW!! Well wishes for all.

    Note from Michael: Unfortunately and fortunately, nothing is impossible. To refuse to believe that childhood schizophrenia exists is, as I have said before, is not based on any science. It is just denial. You can make the argument that the sun revolves around the sun because it appears that way, but that is not the truth, is it?

    And as I have said to you before, your knowledge of psychosis is incomplete if you think that somebody in a psychotic state is “incoherent.” The ability to express ideas clearly has nothing to do with psychosis. It is what ideas get expressed.

  154. I already help run a charity which supports a children’s ward in a psychiatric hospital in a developing country. I help out with providing a meeting place for local self-help group for people who hear voices. I volunteer with an organisation campaigning for better treatment for people with severe mental illness (I live in the UK, so how care is provided is more of an issue than cost), and with a group who provide after-school care for local children with disabilites.
    I can only be in paid work intermittently because of my own schizoaffective diagnosis, so I give more time than money.
    I would expect you have a lot of readers who are already ‘doing their bit’ in ways that may not directly affect you personally, but do help people in related situations. Not giving to you directly doesn’t mean that we are doing nothing. Sorry.

  155. This is incredibly late to the game and I don’t know if anyone still reads this thread of comments other than you, Michael, but I’ve read all the comments and while I agree with several people that are on both sides of the fence, I think what it comes down to is this:

    1) I don’t think the tone of your post was what you meant it to be. Words don’t always come out as we mean them when we are in the throes of desperation- no one should fault you for that.

    2) I don’t live with a mental disability. I don’t know anyone WITH a mental disability. I may not agree with some of your choices but it is not my place to judge. The fact is I don’t know what you’re going through. To say what would work for your daughter when I have merely read about her is ridiculous.

    3) How you choose to spend the donations is up to you. It is my personal belief that if I give money to someone I have no right to judge what they use it for. You are obviously not gallivanting around on fancy vacations. Reading people pick apart every penny you spend hurt my head- quit smoking? Michael, I’ve read you for a few years now. I’ve read the glimpses of both yours and your wife’s deteriorating strength that you allow your readers to see. Perhaps because I am a smoke myself I can understand completely why quitting is just not. an. option. Adding additional stress to your life seems almost suicidal to me. Buying turtles for your daughter? You’ve documented well the constant engagement Jani needs and how much animals have helped her treatment. Why WOULDN’T you purchase those things? Yes, it may be causing you to rely on the kindness of others more than absolutely necessary… but if there are people willing to give to improve Jani’s quality of life then I say take it! I may not necessarily agree with donating $650 to others when you’re hurting financially yourself… but in the same situation, I can’t say I wouldn’t have done the same. Again: who are we to judge?

    I can see why some people got offended. I can see why some people are angry with your choices. I feel like there are better options out there for you- but that is just my gut speaking. I know nothing of the personal hell you live on a daily basis. It may just be my naivety that makes me hope that there is something better out there for you and your family. I applaud you for your strength in continuing on in the face of so much hatred and negativity.

    You have placed your story out for millions to read and watch. I challenge any of those that are criticizing your choices to lay their story out on the line- all their choices, all their pain, all their challenges to millions of people and not find a single person who would fault them for SOMETHING.

    Bottom line: you are human. We all are.

    Your posts, while raw and sometimes painful to read, are a glimpse into human emotion a lot of us are lucky enough to never have to encounter. You may not be doing it right in the eyes of some, but you’re doing what is right for YOUR family.

    As for donating- my account is currently overdrawn several hundred dollars. As soon as everything clears up, I will give $10. Go buy yourself a pack of smokes. 🙂