By Virginia Pillars
The terms "mental illness” and “mental health” are often used casually, but many don’t believe mental illness is relevant to their lives. However, studies show that more people live with mental illness than heart disease, lung disease, and cancer combined.
Broken Brain, Fortified Faith is the story of one family’s journey through schizophrenia, navigating the uncharted waters of mental illness to find help for their daughter, Amber, and support for their family. This memoir is an honest look at the stress, anger, education, and finally, hope experienced through eyes of a mother. Along the way, she questions her trust in God as their family encounters setbacks, inadequate treatments, and additional family health crises, but with the help of trusted family, friends, education, and support groups, author Virginia Pillars learns to rely on her faith as she faces the challenges that often accompany mental illness.
"If Schizophrenia has ever plagued the life of a loved one, then you will greatly appreciate this book by Virginia Pillars. She demonstrates how prayer, hope, encouragement, and endurance lead to fortified faith. Pillars is not a trained professional, however, her personal life journey taught her how to navigate through the mental health system in order to advocate for her daughter. A true story of love, hope, healing, and faith!"
—Hope Huff, MA, LMHC, BCPC
"There are many words that came to mind as I began to write an endorsement for this book (and its author!): remarkable, courageous and honest are but a few!
If you have ever found yourself in the middle of something that is life-changing and mind-blowing and didn't have a clue HOW to take the next step forward—read this book. Virginia Pillars beautifully conveys the grace-filled love of a mother for her mentally ill child as she lays it all on the line in pursuit of help for her daughter's increasing symptoms.
You will be inspired and encouraged to read, Broken Brain, Fortified Faith—a powerfully honest account of hope and trust in the midst of the despair of mental illness. I am grateful to the author for sharing this beautiful and hope-filled story with the world."
—Wanda L. Sanchez, Executive Producer, ‘Lifeline with Craig Roberts’, KFAX-AM1100, San Francisco Bay Area
"Virginia Pillars tells the story of her adult daughter’s descent into schizophrenia with unflinching honesty in Broken Brain, Fortified Faith. But Pillars does more than tell how family, friends, and mental health professionals rallied around one young woman, providing the treatment and support her daughter, Amber, needed to regain her mental health and learn to manage her condition. The author also educates readers about how the disease affects the brain, how it is treated, and what people must do financially and legally to protect loved ones until they recover from the disease. Best of all, Pillars shares her thoughts, doubts, and faith struggles, as well as the comfort and strength she found as she prayed for her daughter and saw those prayers answered in unexpected ways. Broken Brain, Fortified Faith is an approachable and highly readable book for anyone who wants to learn more about schizophrenia and how to support those dealing with it. I highly recommend it."
—Jolene Philo, author of Does My Child Have PTSD? What to Do When Your Child Is Hurting from the Inside Out
"A story of hope in a family that dealt with mental illness, infertility, and loss. Pillars has the ability to inject hope and light into what could otherwise have been a depressing, and for some, a devastating situation. Highly recommended for any family who is struggling with a diagnosis of mental illness, or readers who love a good memoir."
—Mary Potter Kenyon, newspaper reporter, workshop presenter, and author of the award-winning Refined By Fire
"From the first lines of Broken Brain,Fortified Faith by Virginia Pillars, the reader is immediately pulled into the day-to-day life of a family discovering and then dealing with the nitty-gritty, raw emotions of mental illness. Pillars holds nothing back when she shares the reality of her daughter Amber’s diagnosis of schizophrenia and its effect on her entire family and their friends. Her deep faith and sometimes brutal honesty will touch readers long after they’ve turned the last page."
—Mary Jedlicka Humston, coauthor of Mary Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink
"Virginia Pillars has written an honest, no-holds-barred tale of her daughter’s—and their family’s—agonizing battle with schizophrenia. Yet along with the heartache, Virginia's story is one of hope and, ultimately, victory, achieved through earnest spiritual searching and openness to personal growth. If you are on a similar journey through the depths of mental illness with a loved one, you could have no better guide."
—Nancy B. Kennedy, author of Miracles Moments of Grace: Inspiring Stories of Survival
"In Broken Brain, Fortified Faith, Virginia writes of an agony-filled journey complete with unpredictability, heartache, turmoil, and relentless grief. I know that journey well. It’s called life with a mentally ill loved one. I appreciate her honesty as she invites readers into her world, and I’m grateful that she hasn’t let what she’s learned go to waste. Now, in her role as advocate and friend for others walking a similar path, she offers a gift of hope and help in this important book."
—Twila Belk, speaker and author of Raindrops from Heaven: Gentle Reminders of God’s Power, Presence, and Purpose
"Broken Brain, Fortified Faith: Lessons of Hope through a Child's Mental Illness is a must-read for those seeking insight into the struggles of families walking beside loved ones battling schizophrenia. Virginia Pillars writes with insight, transparency, and compassion about the realities of mental illness that forever changed the life of her twenty-four-year-old daughter Amber and the people who love her. The book honestly portrays the realities of the mental health system and its effects upon families. Broken Brain, Fortified Faith offers fresh hope both to those struggling with mental illness as well as to those who love and support them. Highly recommended."
—Shelly Beach, Author of Love Letters from the Edge, The Silent Seduction of Self-Talk, Hallie's Heart, and Ambushed by Grace
"Broken Brain, Fortified Faith is an inspiring story of one family’s journey through the fear and isolation of mental illness. This courageous memoir sends a powerful message: there is always hope."
—Barbara Claypole White, bestselling author of The Perfect Son