MIDDLESEX TWP — Steve and Linda Schmitmeyer, sitting on their patio on a sunny September afternoon, are the picture of a happy couple.
But their smiles and easy banter this day come at the end of a long, harrowing road for the Schmitmeyers and their now-grown children.
For years, beginning in 1990, Steve Schmitmeyer was mentally ill, and the Schmitmeyers faced a series of misdiagnoses, baffling behavior, a breakdown and a struggle to hold their family together.
Linda Schmitmeyer, a freelance writer and editor and a former features editor for the Butler Eagle, wrote a book about the experience, “Rambler: A Family Pushes Through the Fog of Mental Illness,” which is being released Tuesday by Artists’ Orchard, a small Pittsburgh publisher.
The book chronicles, Schmitmeyer’s worsening spiral which began in 1990 when, at 40 years old, he abruptly quit his job with an engineering society.
Linda said about mental illness, “People don’t talk about then. They still don’t talk about it.”
That was the impetus for her to write her book, a process that took 12 years and at least four drafts.
“I wrote the book to help people better understand the nature of a mental illness diagnosis,” she said. “And I think it helped me process a very difficult time and come to terms with the changes brought about by that illness.”
Read the full story in Monday’s Butler Eagle.