I had today off.  It was just me, Daphne, and the dogs together on this overcast Veteran’s Day.  I love gloomy skies, as we have so few of them in Southern California, and so after Daphne napped, we set out on the paseos for a brisk, cloud covered walk.  It was lovely.  And I am amazed at how much I accomplished before 10 AM today – napped/fed a baby, worked out, walked, and even made the bed – it’s amazing what getting up at 6:45 AM can do for one’s productivity (thanks Daphne).

I really really REALLY needed today.  Work has been crazy.  And while I enjoy parts of being an investigator in training, I do not enjoy the odd hours and last minute changes inherent in field work assignments.  The week before Halloween I spoke to my boss about working from home three days per week (I missed my baby girl – being away from her just feels wrong), and she obliged, provided I agreed to be available for field work as needed.  So of course, in the two weeks since that conversation, I have only been able to work from home twice, and have been out in the field until 7 or 8 PM most nights, having to get up at 5 several mornings thereafter.  This is a problem as Merp is left to start work and care for a baby solo before our nanny arrives at 8.  Because he works in finance, and for a company in the Midwest, he starts getting calls as early as 7 AM.  These are serious calls about multimillion dollar deals, on which he cannot have a baby crying in the background.  Then, he continues to get calls until 7 PM at night, which is D’s new bedtime since she has dropped the third nap, this means we have the same problem all over again since our nanny leaves at 5:30.  Needless to say, I’m deeply conflicted.  I like making money.  I like getting dressed and getting out into the world.  I like being challenged.  BUT I truly enjoy staying home as well.  Take today, for example.  Not only did I kick butt before noon, but I worked on the book some too during D’s afternoon nap.  I also was able to enjoy my baby girl and could see many more days like this.  As it stands now, Merp is encouraging me to quit, and find a part-time work from home situation, if anything at all.  This bums me out because there is so much I like about investigation work, but I deeply dislike missing Daphne’s bedtime and leaving before she’s up.  WHAT TO DO?  Abandon my goal of being an investigator?  Stay home and sharpen my fiction writing craft, while studying for the bar exam?  Commit to being a mostly stay at home mom for the next several years?

Then there’s my brother.   I’m happy to report that he finally reached out to my parents from Cairo.  He asked them to buy him a ticket to New York City because he wanted to go there to talk to some producers about a movie idea he had.  Yup. Thrilled to hear from him, and desperate to get him back on U.S. soil, my mother obliged.

A few days later, she spoke to him at U.S. Border Control at La Guardia, where they stopped him because he was still on the missing persons list.  They claimed they were going to release him.  He said he planned to go get a hotel because he hadn’t slept.  Hours went by after that conversation and nothing – my mother assumed/hoped he was sleeping.  Imagine her surprise when she received a call from Jamaica Queens Psychiatric Hospital where my dear brother had been admitted involuntarily.  Even though this is the best possible place for him,  the reality of it hits hard.  The chilling affect of stating the phrase “psychiatric hospital,” makes me shiver every time.  They have promised to keep him  there until he’s stable on his medication, which is yet another sliver lining.  But then what?  And how did he end up there in the first place?  What did he do or say in the airport?  I can only imagine, and it pains me to picture it.

But he’s alive!  He’s taking medication!  He’s receiving treatment!  Unfortunately, though, it’s setting in that this is just the beginning.  Without a court order, it’s likely that he won’t comply with treatment.  I’m happy to know he’s safe for now, I really am, but the battle is far from over.

All of this has made me extremely motivated to tell this story to a larger audience.  There are other families out there who are caught up in a similar cycle.  There are other families out there who have already lost – they’re mentally ill loved ones living on the street, or worse, because the law won’t help get these sick souls the help they need.

While looking for my brother, I have taken note of other mentally ill people in the news.  Of course there’s Amanda Bynes, her paparazzi pictures everywhere.  Then there’s the sad tale of  actress Misty Upham, who went missing in October when she stopped taking her meds.  Despite pleas from her family, police in her town didn’t take her disappearance seriously and Misty was found dead about 10 days later.  How is that okay?

It’s not and I’m going to do something about it.  With my mother’s help, I plan to put together a crowd funding campaign to raise money to produce a documentary about treatment advocacy and this country’s f’ed approach to dealing with the mentally ill.  My passion for this cause, is like my devotion to fiction writing.  It may not happen overnight, but I’m in it for as long as it takes.

One more thing… my baby girl is almost 7 months old!  I thank God every day for my little miracle.  Read about her here.



Add Yours
  1. Lauren

    Oh, friend. YOU are amazing. I am working from home now…and it is HARD, but I’m glad I’m doing it. Please let me know if you ever just need to talk and process. Love you and miss you! (And glad your brother is alive! We have gone through some really tough situations in my family too.) Hugs!


  2. The infernal infertile

    You are an absolute inspiration. I have mentally ill friends who are fantastic while they’re stable, but downright scary when they are off their meds. The more people who understand what they are going through, the easier it will be to influence Government and get meaningful help for them all. Your documentary idea is a great first step on that path.

    I can’t believe Daphne is almost 7 months old! I can’t imagine how much you are struggling with all that’s going on in your life… I know you will make the decision that is best for you and your little family… Whatever that may be!



    • Steph Mignon

      Awe thanks!!! I am so glad to hear from people like you, who have an understanding about how very different people can be when they are compliant with treatment. Thanks for commenting and for the support.


  3. journeyformybaby

    Do you think it would help to take a few years off from investigative work while you get Daphne raised to an age where it won’t matter if you have to be up early or out late?

    I’m glad your brother is safe and I so hope that he feels so much better on his medication that he decides not to go off of it again. I also hope you are able to raise awareness like you are hoping to do because it is so necessary!!


  4. Daryl

    I’m sorry the work you’re so interested in Is taking you away from Daphne so much. I hope you find the right balance for you and your family. And good news about your brother! I think your documentary idea is fantastic! I’d like to think that if people are more educated about the problem, something might actually be done to fix it.


  5. Isabelle

    Glad they found your brother. Your work sounds crazy busy and it seems like it’s hard to coordinate your schedule with your husband’s. Hope you’ll find a good solution soon. I can’t believe Daphne is already 7 months! Where did the time go???


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