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!
* * *
Watch the Film:
No Letting Go
A Jonathan Bucari film
Get The Facts About Childhood Mental Illness: