Light and understanding

Recently I read the writings of three young people who reached out to me through my blog.  All three are struggling with mental health issues.  Two of the writers are fortunate in that they only face the typical challenges that accompany bipolar and anxiety disorders.  However, the third person has more diagnoses than any one human being should be forced to manage.  As I read the list of her illnesses that she cites in her own blog, I became subdued and sad at the point where she referred to herself as someone who was a “suicidal head case” – “subdued” because I remembered the feeling of despair I experienced, and “sad” because I was sorry that someone else had to suffer that experience.  Apparently, for this young woman it was an extremely intense despair that left her feeling that she only had one option.  She actually did harm to herself, but this episode had a promising ending.  She has declared herself very lucky that someone found her before the self inflicted harm took her life, and got her medical treatment.  She is very grateful to be getting a second chance for a good life.  She knows it won’t be easy, but is prepared for the battle.  I encourage and support her efforts to build a foundation for a healthy future.  I know there can be light after the darkness.

Although the three stories of illness were very different, they all had one element in common.  They each talked about the embarrassment and stigma that is attached to having a mental health illness. One of the three wrote that she had tried many times to explain her disease to the people around her, but had become frustrated by their lack of understanding and tolerance, and no longer wanted to make the effort.  As often as she has told others that her condition is an illness and not a choice, she writes that her friends and family remain clueless, and intolerant and annoyed with her for not getting over “it.”  I understand her frustrations.  Oh how I understand her frustrations, but she needs to keep talking.  She needs to keep explaining, and describing, and defining, and re-explaining. Perhaps one day someone will say,  “Ahhhh! I’m beginning to understand.”  If she touches one person, helps one person begin to grasp the depth and breadth of mental health issues a bit more clearly, then she will have taken an incredibly meaningful step forward towards opening that teeny tiny closet in which many of us are stuck.


One thought on “Light and understanding

  1. It sounds like she’s lucky to have someone like you who is listening to her! And, hopefully she will continue to hang on and work to get help.


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