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Breaking into My Life

Breaking Into My Life chronicles the impact that growing up with a mentally-ill mother had on author Michelle Dickinson-Moravek, and how she finally reclaimed herself and the life she deserved.

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Make room for ‘ugliness’

My little book has afforded me to meet the most amazing and loving people. Danni Michaeli is one of those people. I feel so fortunate to have met him through a mutual friend. Danni is just love personified. He is also one of the many amazing mental health professionals out there helping people. He is a psychiatrist by training and has something poignant to share with you. Thank you for sharing this with us Danni.

A message from Danni Michaeli, MD……

Last week I was out to dinner with a friend and my 3-year-old son. My kid is very loud and chatty, and he had this really big snake stuffed animal. He started walking over to other people’s tables and introducing his “pet”. At one point he had climbed on to a bar stool and was having a conversation with the bartender about his snake. My friend had never met my kid, and was kind of freaked out a little, “shouldn’t we stop him?” And I basically just said, “this is a good moment to ask for forgiveness rather than permission.”

So often, as a psychiatrist working with a lot of young people and their families, parents come to me messed up about the choices their kids are making, and kids come to me bothered about how crazy their parents are being, how they don’t get them. Sometimes there’s a real problem with one person or the other, but a lot of the time, everyone’s totally fine, cool even, but they don’t understand each other. And I like to remind people of this: everything new we create in the world, we’ll create out of our “ugliness”, because what we see as ugliness is just unformed potential. It just doesn’t know how to be in the world yet, and it needs time to find its place, it’s role. Just like a new fashion; the first time you see it, you think, “what is that, it looks horrible!” Then a year later, you’re wearing it every day.

I don’t always love when my kid is running around restaurants with his snakes. I know he might be hassling people, interfering with the job of the wait staff, making a lot of noise. I feel guilty, sometimes embarrassed. But most people just think he’s cute and fun and engaging, and honestly, I encourage it, and I’m guessing more than a lot of parents would allow. I know that that’s his potential coming to be, and one day it’s going to become his super power.

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