My youngest son, Travis Miller graduated from Virginia Tech in 2006, and my experiences goe back gto my early teens. As a woman, a Mom, and a researcher, the events of April 16, 2007, grabbed my full attention, and still do.

You see, since 1993, I have been treated for a condition, called Bipolar/Manic Depression. My losses have been many, and severe, as in those 14 years, due to the disease, I had no judgment, no sense of reality. I have all my charts, and I now know I was very over medicated by my EX Dr of some 12 years. Life altering changes occured, for myself, and my 3 sons [who were not educated, nor had therapy] which resulted in Dad walking away, after 5 years. Treating mental illness, as something one chooses, or can "snap out of" is extreamly uneducated.

The past 3 years, I have dedicated myself to research, and to understanding the past, as to understand the present, and hopefuly simplifly the future. Including my sons somewhat in the exploration, led to estrangement, and Family Protective Orders. I was not included in my son's graduation of 2006. Isolation, since 1993, continues from my family, but I now have a better understanding, throught my faith, Buddhism. I accept my part, and thankfully, injoy a full remission, which requires no prescriptive medication at present. But there is still fall out, and I am fighting the good fight, to bring awareness to Virginia, the Nation on the subject of Mental Health.

Trying to understand April 16, 2007, I did know perhaps better that most, how Cho might have acted out his terror, his emense anger, at his perceived rejection, his isolation. I think he fell through the many "cracks" as it were, and that as a state with a D- rating by Nami, [mental health ass.] we have the chance for change. I wrote a Letter to the Roanoke times, on a bill before Congress, up in September for vote, on teaching K-12, good mental health. Yes, we need the tools, we need the education, to demistify, what is baseicaly a "chemical imbalnce", widely unreported, and over or undermedicated, and yes, ignored by too many.

It is up to each of us to know, and to be aware of the very real symtoms, of mental illness.

And I personaly want to do all I can to help, as I council freely in my hometown, happily 2 friends have also seen the "root' of their depression, and no longer take prescription medication, and are doing great. It is a process, and that is called life.


Dona Wheeler




Dona Wheeler




Dona Wheeler, “Enlightened,” The April 16 Archive, accessed June 21, 2024, https://www.april16archive.org/items/show/1141.