Category Archives: Seeing through mental illness

Finding ways to look outward and see the world, and understand it, through the lens of having mental illness. We can find significant ways to contribute. Most importantly, there is happiness and peace even for those of us with the demons inside. We are stronger than the demons.

To those who feel helpless watching a loved one slipping into madness

This is part of a series of letters to those who may feel lost. Sometimes when we are down, discovering something in the mailbox is just the thing.

It reminds us that we aren’t as alone as we think.

Today I defer the writing to my incredibly talented and insightful daughter Alex.

A few months ago she read a humorous post online that had a throwaway sentence along the lines of “I literally went crazy. Lost my mind.”

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She thought the post was funny and didn’t think anything of it. However, someone read and responded and was offended, saying things like “How dare you make light of a serious thing” and “You don’t even know what it’s like.”

It made her pause and think about what she would say if she had been the original poster.

The following is a thoughtful response to someone who deserves to hear from someone who truly does know what it is like.

Let’s call her Susan.

Dear Susan,

To be fair, this can be a really triggering topic for some people, and for that I do apologize. I’m sorry that you’re hurting.

However, I see the humor in it.

Continue reading To those who feel helpless watching a loved one slipping into madness

To those feeling themselves slipping into madness

This is part of a series of letters to those who may feel lost. Sometimes when we are down, discovering something in the mailbox is just the thing.

It reminds us that we aren’t as alone as we think.

Today I write to a young man who feels like he is losing his mind, and it’s making him crazy – because it’s inconceivable to him that he could actually be crazy.

Let’s call him Adam.

question mark6Dear Adam,

What is real?

Lately I would imagine that has become a question you’d rather not ask, because you aren’t really sure of the answer.

Scary, I know.

One of the hardest things is trying to find the words to explain it to those around you.

You know inside, even though you don’t want to acknowledge it, that something is very, very wrong. But you have told yourself that if you just give it some time, you’ll work your way through it.

And it will get better.

Kind of like a cold.

Or a broken leg.

I wish it could be that simple, but it’s not. Here’s the hard truth:

This isn’t going to just go away; most people won’t understand that something is really wrong until it’s too late and something bad has happened; and all of your natural instincts to fight it are pretty much going to make it worse.

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Reassuring, right?

So, what’s a guy to do?

It kind of sounds crazy, but accepting that you are a little crazy will, in the end, make you less crazy.

Continue reading To those feeling themselves slipping into madness

I guess this letter is to me  

A couple of months ago I was working on a series of letters to those who were struggling with different issues and perhaps feeling lost.

Looks like I kind of got lost in the middle of it all.

Not sure it’s safe to say that I’ve been found, but I can definitely say that I’m actively looking.

P1270019And I’ll keep my eyes open this time.

You know, constant vigilance.

So, I’ll give it a whirl at taking my own advice:

Dear Greg,

Got a little too big for your britches, didn’t you? Cocky confidence about being able to be “normal” came back and bit you right in the back side of your trousers didn’t it.

That’s okay.

I still love you.

And believe in you.

I know, it’s just so enticing to feel that emotion of clarity, strength, soaring – actually just BEING alive.

In other words, our good old friend Mr. Mania.

Continue reading I guess this letter is to me  

Letters to those who may feel lost

Last May a distant cousin wasn’t able to cross back over that blurred line between what is real and what is not and became lost in suicide.

Since we shared the almost inexplicable symptoms of bipolar depression, I was able to partially insert myself into his shoes and understand just how hard the daily battle is.

Since I am a husband and father and son, I was able to partially insert myself into his family’s shoes and understand a small portion of just how much pain a tragedy such as this brings.

warriorIn response, I tried to speak for this bright and energetic and accomplished man I called Sam. I felt that Sam’s family deserved to understand a bit of what was going through his mind, and that Sam deserved to be seen not as a victim, but as one who had fought valiantly for as long as he could.

So I wrote a letter from Sam to all who may have known him, and were hurting.

That being said, I think it may be a good time to try to help those who feel like they are on opposing sides of some difficult issues. It’s important to understand that the supposed battle lines can in fact be brought into a loop which encircles everyone to be united in helping each other.

Continue reading Letters to those who may feel lost

One step forward, another one back – right?

Okay, here’s the deal:

Things have been tough lately.

You can empathize, right?

For a while now, I’ve really struggled with my self-imposed deadlines of getting out a blog posting each Monday and Thursday. It, like these kinds of things usually do, began to consume me and filled me with dread. If I didn’t have something ready for the next scheduled published thoughts, I became more and more weighed down of being overwhelmed by it all.despair

Crazy, right?

Well, actually yes.

That’s kind of the problem.

It’s just one of the reasons that holding down a steady job is out of my grasp right now. Of course, the whole bipolar thing doesn’t help, but that’s another discussion.

When Ann and I met with the doctor recently we decided that I’d stop writing for a while, as it was doing more harm than good.

I was almost giddy with relief.

One step forward, another one back.

Continue reading One step forward, another one back – right?