A great friend asked me a bit ago about ideas on how she can help and support someone who is mentally ill. Her heart breaks for those she loves, and she wants desperately to help, but she just isn’t sure what to do.
I’m glad she asked.
I wish that more people would.
Certainly it is easier as a society to make sure that all of us crazies don’t have any access to guns, or that we should increase funding for hospital beds, or find ways to ensure medication is taken even when the person is so very tired of the side effects.
We can all possibly agree that these are steps that help those on the outside feel better about the situation. Just like with so many issues we face today, we like generic solutions that let us pat ourselves on the back, and then walk away.
But there is no walking away from mental illness – for either the one who is actually ill, or the ones worn weary from the daily toll of trying to love them.
Continue reading To really help the mentally ill, it takes two
One of the little surprises this holiday season was a framed quote that many of you have already seen:
My doctor asked if any members of my family suffered from insanity. I replied, “No, we all seem to enjoy it.”
After the initial chuckle, taking time to ponder just what this statement can mean still brings a smile to my face.
But probably without the laughter.
A few weekends before Alex was scheduled to arrive home, Ann and I thought that I should call Monday morning and see if I could get an emergent appointment with the doctor in Salt Lake. The combination of mental illness symptoms and medication side effects felt just out of my reach of control.
I have learned how to control my outward actions and responses to the mental inward implosions. The feelings of slowing slipping into insanity, the screaming inside at being locked in an unreal prison that is more restricting than any cell made of iron bars, and the overwhelming physical exhaustion can be tamed and kept within.
I actually think I’m pretty nice and easy going overall.
But we had hit that point where I didn’t think I could last until our next appointment after the first of the year.
Continue reading We’ve made it through the forest, only to find that there are still lots of trees
To clarify, I’m not stating that I, Greg, have pain that is greater than yours.
But as I read a few things posted recently regarding actively living a homosexual lifestyle and apostasy, and crying out for others to show compassion, I wonder if there are those who feel that their pain is far greater than that of their neighbor.
Perhaps I can offer a more encompassing perspective, though certainly not unique, as one with mental illness and same-sex attraction.
It would be hard for anyone to argue with me when I say that I feel I am qualified to voice an opinion about same-sex attraction, as well as choosing between suicide and homicidal tendencies and making it to the end of the day with everyone alive and intact, and at the same time actively choosing each day NOT to act upon that which feels natural within – be it sexual or mental.
In many ways, my coping mechanisms for each are the same.
Continue reading Why do you feel that your pain is greater than mine?
SCAPEGOAT: a person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place.
The truth is we all do it. Sometimes it is so painfully obvious and ludicrous. You know what I mean: as when a man shouts at his wife that “you made me do this” as he brutally beats her.
That had better not be any of us.
However, I think that in the majority of cases it is the very subtle scapegoating we do that can be the most dangerous.
I’ve realized recently that all of us can learn to be pretty good at it, which can make us pretty bad at everything else.
Being bipolar and mentally ill brings its own special level of spreading the blame.
With Nick home, I have the opportunity to see myself through his eyes. He and his mother walk cautiously through the house to not startle me into a heart attack. They make HUGE adjustments to their lives to accommodate me and the symptoms that are just a part of every day. In fact, I finally digested that they also watch closely what they say.
This last week, Nick said to his mother several times “Mom, you know you can’t say something like that to Dad, he’ll just obsess over it until he explodes.”
Long story short, I don’t want to be that guy.
Continue reading Differentiating the distractions from the demons
I’ve asked myself that question quite often recently.
Of course, my first response is “not much.”
But, after a few minutes I realize that just isn’t true.
I know a lot.
And so do you.
Here’s the deal:
Continue reading What do you KNOW?