Updated: Jan 18
Today is 3 years since Kelly, Dennis, Bret and Ryan Yeggy lost their beloved Zac. I never got to meet Zac but I'm told I would have liked him a lot. I wanted to share Kelly's post to honour Zac and to answer the questions - Why do I focus on Empathy? and Why did I go to Iowa? Why is stigma reduction so important? #breakthestigma
Kelly, I hope today you and the boys are surrounded by love.
I implore you to read Kelly's facebook post to the end (have a tissue handy).
If you are struggling, please reach out to someone you trust - you're not alone. You are loved. You are important. (See comment if you want to speak to a professional).
August 23rd, 2017
8 hours ago, my intelligent, loving son Zac hung himself from the rafters of our farm shed. The reason that accepting treatment for bipolar disorder was so hard as our society would rather claim an STD or addiction before they would ever admit to having a mental illness. Just like many, his symptoms developed during his junior year in college. His family and friends did not know how to react. While he was trying to overcome his delusional and fears his friends were either separating from him or continuing their own lives. As friends and family we rally around those we love who have medical conditions, with the exception when that medical condition is a chemical imbalance of the brain. My Zacy did not want to accept his medical condition because society does not consider mental illness as a medical condition, rather a lack of character or a self condemning personality trait. SHAME on those who ignore, condemn or blame the individual. Remember me, my husband and Zac's two brothers who will spend the next 7 to 10 days waiting for his body, not spirit, to come back from the medical examiners due to state budget cuts so we can bury him. Zac would never hurt his Dad, but he did not know it was his Dad who would find him and cut him down. It was me who cradled my Zacy for over a half an hour stroking his hair, kissing him, telling him that I was so sorry I could not make it better for him, that I could not solve his loneliness, his desire to have a life mate and children of his own. I can only pray that he is no longer lonely, that my Dad and his aunt are taking care of him up in heaven. But unfortunately that is little comfort to his Dad, me and his brothers. We lost a wonderful, caring smart man because the world does not accept mental illness as a medical condition, because chemical imbalances of the brain causing strange behavior are feared, no one other than family and close friends sticks in there or rallies around the illness, not like cancer or diabetes. Zac's bipolar illness did not cause him to find a rope and hang himself from the rafters, society's negative stigma of mental illness and voodoo attitude caused my son to avoid treatment, lose his support system and tied that noose around his neck. #welovezac
If you need help, please go to https://www.sane.org/component/k2/content/2?Itemid=1128
Hi! I'm Leanne Butterworth, Empathy Speaker and Educator, University Lecturer and Mental Health Advocate.
Empathy First is a Brisbane-based social enterprise offering Empathy workshops, online courses and individual Empathy coaching to help you build connection and strengthen your relationships for personal and professional success.
Contact me today and let's talk about how you can put Empathy First.