“No one in my family ever talked about the time when she was first diagnosed. It was not a happy time for anyone. When my mom was in crisis, it affected everyone close to her, especially me."
- Anika Francis
Well, Anika and her mother Sakeenah are not only talking now, they’ve shared their stories in the recently published book, Love’s All That Makes Sense: A Mother Daughter Memoir. It is an extraordinary work by mother and daughter Sakeenah and Anika Francis. In it, their individual and intertwined stories unfold through a series of letters written to each other.
Sakeenah, a woman with Schizophrenia, is now a National Alliance on Mental Illness multicultural board member and speaker who has been in recovery for over fifteen years. She is the mother of Anika, a woman who graduated magna cum laude from an Ivy League university and is now a successful entrepreneur. The path that took them to their current stations in life, however, wound through custody hearings, homelessness, group homes, and poverty. In Love’s All That Makes Sense, the reader learns of this mother and daughter’s at times converging and at others diverging recollections of the setbacks, losses, custody changes and psychiatric hospitalizations.
Throughout the recounting of those painful experiences, the affection, care, and devotion between them is evident in their letters as well. The story unfolds of how these two women have been able to maintain a relationship despite the instability, havoc, and confusion that Schizophrenia had caused in their lives, starting when Anika was just three years old. Through their artful narrative, Sakeenah and Anika illuminate experiences too few are willing to divulge in a public arena: the experience of motherhood for a woman with a severe mental illness and the experience of her child. This book will provide validation and inspiration for families who face similar struggles, as well as provide mental health care providers with perspectives that can inform care.
Love's All That Makes Sense is Distributed by Ingram and available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kindle, Kobo, Google Play and other retailers.
Sakeenah Francispreviously shared her story with BlackMentalHealthNet.com in her article Cinderella in Reverse: From Riches to Rags.