Tag Archives: Compassion healing mental illness

We’re all a little bit crazy. Really?

A few days ago there was a knock at our door. When I answered, it was a neighbor who had been reading our blog. She asked if I had time to talk with her about some things.

I had known before this encounter that she was trying to work through depression. She hadn’t told me; I’m not sure that she had told anyone outside of her family.

But I knew.

That’s kind of what happens when you experience something hard and significant like mental illness. You can usually tell when other people are suffering from the same thing.

It’s hard to describe how we know. Continue reading We’re all a little bit crazy. Really?

Is your head buried in the sand regarding the mentally ill?

???????????????????????????????I think many of us can remember the lesson in grade school about the ostrich. It is, relative to other birds, HUGE. But while other birds have the luxury of flying away from predators or danger, the ostrich is land bound. It does, however, pack a pretty powerful kick.

We’ve all heard the myth about ostriches burying their head in the sand, thinking that if they can’t see their enemy, then the enemy can’t see them. Ignoring the enemy will somehow make it go away.

It sounds pretty absurd, doesn’t it? Continue reading Is your head buried in the sand regarding the mentally ill?

Can we suffer without causing suffering in others?

Close your eyes and imagine with me for a moment:  A person is in a quiet, dark hospital room. The pain is pretty overwhelming and the doctors are not confident that the misery can be ended. There is no one there to hold a hand, or softly stroke a forehead.

hospital bed

This is some pretty intense suffering.

I don’t know which suffering would be worse, the physical pain or the loneliness?

I don’t think any of us would like to be in that position.

If you are, I’m deeply sorry.

Let’s go back to the hospital in our minds: Two people are in a dark, but not really quiet room.

One, in the bed, is pretty miserable and can only find things to complain about. The pillow is too flat, the pain medication isn’t doing enough, the room is too hot, the nurse isn’t careful enough.

The other, just sits in the chair and tries to focus on the TV because time has proven that nothing he/she tries to do will be good enough. After all these years, there is no energy left to express sincere concern or compassion.

Both have, in their own ways, given up.

Which of the two situations would be harder do you think? Suffering on your own, or suffering surrounded by apathy? Continue reading Can we suffer without causing suffering in others?

Faith – Hope – Love

My bipolar collided with my OCD and caused the psychosis to take flight. It’s been a rough few days.

I had set myself the deadline to always post on Monday and Thursday. Because of who I am, (or is it better to say what I am?), I don’t ever miss deadlines.

Since I am never sure what each day will bring, I have tried to write a few blogs ahead and have them ready for the appointed day to publish. But last week we had a doctor appointment in Salt Lake, a family visit, another trip to Provo, and my self-imposed list of work around the house to validate my existence.

I worked ahead and was ready for Thursday. Whew, made it. All is well.

 

Now to get ready for Monday.

Nothing.

I crashed.

Continue reading Faith – Hope – Love

What makes someone hard to love? What do we do about it?

What makes someone easy to love? What makes someone hard to love?

Which am I?

I’ve prayed for my Ann and our kids for many years now. I ache at the life we don’t live because of me. I keep telling Ann that she should ask for a refund. She just smiles and says “It is what it is.”

What does that say about Ann?

A lot.

So often we spend time worrying about the way we think things should be. I know that I do. By this point I was going to be a big wig with a fantastic salary and we would have the freedom to go and do whatever we wanted.

That was the plan.

That is not at all the way things have worked out.

So, what is Ann saying when she smiles at me and tells me “It is what it is”?

Is she being complacent? Has she given up and resigned herself to a difficult life?

No.

She is saying “Let’s take what we have and build from there.”

This little equation works really well when all parties involved have thrown their entire hand in and are giving it everything they have.

But what if not everyone is willing to abandon the safety of self and will only give a portion?

I’m afraid that this is more of the norm; the entire team going for broke the exception.

What do you do when it is simply hard to love someone who doesn’t seem to reciprocate?

Being the question asker that I am, I think there are some important thoughts to understand before moving on:

Why have I chosen to love this person?

What is the cause of their reticence?

How hard are they working to overcome that which prevents them from loving me completely?

Do I love them enough to keep going anyway?

I would imagine that each person reading this would have different answers to these questions. That is as it should be. Love is individual and unique and deeply personal.

There are many things that could make it more difficult to love someone.

I know that it is hard to love a person with mental illness. Our reality is so different from what the rest of the world deems “normal.” I find myself telling Ann that I’m sure my way is the right way and what everyone else is doing is not “normal.” She just smiles in that way that tells me that I’m wrong but she loves me anyway.

Don’t you wonder why she loves me anyway?

I behave in ways that would make it hard to love me. Lots of drama and not enough support.

Yet, the power that heals me the most is her love. The love that I don’t deserve, but I really, really need.

Knowing that, it changes how I see her. I’m now really interested in a few questions of my own:

Why have I chosen to love her?

How does she need to receive my expressions of love?

What do I need to change about my behavior that will make her life better?

Do I love her enough to keep going anyway?

And a miracle starts to take shape.

Part of my healing is putting my mental illness into perspective and learning to focus on what others around me need.

Maybe I only had half of the equation before. I knew that I needed her love to help me heal.

Now I know that I need to truly love her to help me heal the rest of the way.

So instead of each of us asking a different set of questions, now we can join hands and ask ourselves the same questions:

Why have we chosen to love each other?

Are we willing to fight with all we have to help this love continue to grow?

Is there anything that would make us stop?

Instead of there being one who is easy to love and one who is hard to love, now we have stepped over to the same side of the fence. We look outwardly in the same direction. It may be a little easier for her to love me, the difficult one. And my capacity to love her, the easy one, has become a real power that changes how I behave and what I focus on.

Kind of simple, really.

We are being changed through love.

And now “It is what it is” is something that we can both say with a smile.

No regrets.

We know how to build from here, together.