Thursday, March 31, 2016

No Letting Go—A Movie to Watch!

Today I’m excited to share with you a must-see movie about childhood mental illness that my family and I had the opportunity to view together.

No Letting Go is a powerful film that gives voice to families all over the world who are silently suffering as they cope with childhood bipolar disorder. Based on a true story, this film takes you through the initial symptoms of anxiety in childhood, to the social withdrawal, the dark depression, the manic energy and even the rages that occur in the teen years. Through the symptoms and challenges, the family tries different approaches to help their son, demonstrating how difficult treatment is and how the decisions are even tougher.

One of my favorite things about this movie was the way the film demonstrated how the illness affects each family member in a unique way. As the child suffers, so does the rest of the family. There was a powerful scene where the son was going into a violent rage upstairs with his parents trying to calm him down and the scene stayed focused on the younger sibling who sat scared and alone downstairs. I couldn’t help but cry as I remembered all the times my own children experienced the exact scenario. My middle son shared how this scene spoke to him since he had experienced the same moment hundreds of times as his older brother raged. He shared how he remembered shrinking down, feeling scared and useless being too small to help.

Another scene that struck a little too close to home was the rage scene where the mother had to hold her son down—my husband even walked out of the room for a moment since it brought back a lot of bad memories. As difficult as it was to watch, I appreciated the movie going there, in fact I would argue that the scene was a little too sanitized, but regardless, I was glad the movie showed this violent, scary side of this illness since it can leave deep scars in everyone involved. I truly believe that in order to bring awareness, you have to share the illness in its entirety.

From the uncomfortable birthday parties and social engagements, to the school challenges and judgments from others, to the meds and difficult treatment options, this film did a great job of addressing so many aspects of this illness and how a family works to understand and cope.

If you are currently isolated and in need for support as you walk through your own journey of childhood mental illness, I strongly recommend you watching this film. You will experience first-hand that you are NOT alone and that there is hope in your child getting better.

Also, I highly recommend that you share this film with your family and friends. The only way to bring understanding and receive the support you need is to share with others what you are going through. I think this film does an excellent job of bringing awareness without adding to the stigma that already exists.

As a family, we found this movie to be a good launch pad for open conversation about our own experience and let us speak honestly about the past and the things we have overcome.

Watch it, share it and let me know what you think!

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Watch the Film:
No Letting Go
A Jonathan Bucari film

Get The Facts About Childhood Mental Illness:


  1. i have three daughters 22, 19 and 15... our middle daughter was diagnosed with mood disorder/bipolar/odd/anxiety at age 15... prior to that, she had similar instances with friends not wanting to be around her, not wanting to go to her sports practices, which she is a phenom athlete in several sports, and we thought this was keeping her mind focused, but soon sports became less and less important.. well , lets just say she wanted to play in the games, but not attend practices.. and she took her rage out on the floor and field at other players at times... how sad is i agree that my younger daughter sat and listened and watched her sister enraged with foul language toward me, violet outbursts, breaking things, erratic behavior, missing school all the time etc... our oldest was away at college or 4 years (and home briefly during summers), so she really had no idea how bad things were until she graduated and was home for good this past year... and she too, blamed me and my husband for "letting her get away" with bad behavior and "enabling her".. she still has hard time accepting her sisters disorder... i want them to go to therapy because i see much anger in both my other daughters toward me and my husband and their sister, and i think they need to vent to someone about how they feel

    1. I think therapy is a great idea, it will help them have a safe place to vent and also help them understand that this is an illness, not bad behavior. I have had my middle son (who is free of any illness) talk to a therapist before, I think it helps for them to have a place to process all of their feelings. I really encourage you trying this!

  2. I will definitely watch this. O dont know what's going on with my son but 3 yrs ago they said he had ADHD. He takes medication for that because it has helped him focus in school. He's great in school. Then I get him. Its just me and my 2 boys ages 11(son with ADHD) and 9. Once he is home he relentlessly talks down about his brother to anyone who will listen. They get in fights and then he will punch his brother. Little brother fights back. Its never ending. Then comes the ODD. I can no longer get them to stop fighting. I tell them to go to their rooms and son with ADHD never complies and now the youngest mirrors his actions. Once the oldest son is in his room he takes vengeance out on his wall. He has huge holes in the walls that he has made with a lamp post and with his guitar. Later of he asks for something and I say NO!!!!! Run! He starts throwing whatever he can find and then he starts scratching himself on the face. He use to just use his nails now he runs for a fork or any object that is sharp. Its gotten to the point where he now punches Mr and I was that mom holding my son down trying to get him to calm down. But he doesn't. I dont know how to help him calm down. If you have advice please Share. I've had to call police, I've taken him to the hospital. At the moment hes in an outpatient program for 2 weeks. And when thats done I'm getting him an evaluation. But the more I read the more I think its bipolar. Any advice?

  3. Hi, mom of 2 boys who are 11 and 9. The 11 year old has been diagnosed with ADHD for 3 years. He takes medication to help him focus during school. Unfortunately after school I get the ODD part of him. If I say no to him or he doesn't get his way (usually about video games) he will start scratching his face. It started with his hand now he runs for the forks. His tantrums have gotten more aggressive as well. He has no remorse over what he does. If told to go in his room and if hee actually listens, he will take the lamp or his guitar and make huge holes in the walls. He will throw things. He will try breaking things. He will try jumping out of the car. He now will punch his brother or myself. I have had to be the mom who holds him down so he can calm down. But he doesn't calm down. Any advice on how to get him to calm down? I have him in an outpatient program now because I've had to call the police and take him to the hospital 4 days in a row. He hasn't been diagnosed but all that I read seems like he has childhood bipolar.

    1. Hi Sbear, I am sorry to hear about what you are going through. Unfortunately I can't say what may be going on, I have learned through the years that there can be many causes of such behavior. Right now you are doing the right thing by seeking help with the doctors and getting evaluations done. I recommend keeping a log of the behavior, this can show the doctors patterns over time. For every outburst, record the date, time, what triggered it and how you responded to it. This helped our doctor to see a mood disorder was possible due to the patterns revealed over a long period of time. We also found a lot of success with the program found in a book written by a psychiatrist.

      Raising Wining Kids without a Fight:

      This book, along with guidance from the author in person, therapy and the right medication, we saw success in controlling the behaviors after a period of time. It does take time to retrain the brain to use coping skills, so it's not an overnight success. You also have to follow the program exactly and be consistent.

      Overall, trust your gut, keep asking questions and getting second opinions if you don't see success. Over time, a diagnosis can become more clear as the child grows older.

      As for calming him down, I found with my son that leaving him alone, don't continue the fight or try to scold him at the moment, let him have his space to calm down, even if that means leaving the house and waiting outside until he is safe. It helped when I tried to engage very little, any engagement would only escalate things. It was much better to work things out after he was calm and had time to decompress after an explosion. It's important to keep everyone safe in the moment. Learn triggers and try to avoid them if necessary, or redirect if you see one coming. This of course is what worked for me, but maybe not for you, so don't take this as advice, instead work closely with a therapist to help guide you. I wish you the best, keep us posted!