“We’d like to know a little bit about you for our files, We’d like to help you learn to help yourself, Look around you all you see are sympathetic eyes, Stroll around the grounds until you feel at home” Paul Simon
People always say you got to love yourself or you got to like yourself. But let me say you have to celebrate yourself. Life is a war and when a person suffers from mental illness it is like the enemy has brought out the weapons of mass destruction. It seems ridiculous to tell somebody in the throes of clinical depression contemplating suicide to celebrate themselves. Let me show you the way.
Recovering from mental illness is a job in and of itself. Unfortunately, many people do not accept the reality of the mentally ill. While a person would readily understand a person who had a heart attack not doing heavy physical work they cannot understand the blues after depression. Staying late in bed, not wanting to shower, not taking interest in things are dismissed. Clinical depression is a terrible thing, it is a crushing darkness which words cannot express. For the uninitiated I suggest you observe your loved ones when they are on a manic high, depression is the antithesis.
Still, no matter what a person is going through there is hope. Mental illness is a profound life-changing event. It will always be a burden but burdens do not necessarily have to be bad. Humility, compassion, empathy are just some of the fruits that can be harvested from psychological disorders. The trick of the matter is to keep keeping on. That no matter what separates one from ‘normal’ that you too can have a complete life.
Everybody in life has their problems. It is the bane of the arrogant to look down on others. The truth of the matter is that we are all broken. That we all fall mighty short of what would be considered perfect. We are measured in inches while we should be mountains. Somebody looking down on another for any reason is out of line.
I had a friend who suffered from mental illness. For a time he would visit old associates. None of them wanted to have anything to do with him. The poor individual was treated as if he was a contagious leper. I too knew people who didn’t want to have anything to do with me after they found out about my bipolar disorder. They are not worthy of our love. Friendship is something that takes efforts on both parties involved. If you don’t even want to give me the time of day, simply because of my hardships, then honestly what can you give me?
Mental illness brings along a lot of soul-searching. In the empty moments of agony, we contemplate the greater things of life. We see the futility of the nine to five drive while at the same time wishing we could participate as well. In the heart of one suffering from mental illness is the desire to be ‘normal.’ One should learn that the entity called ‘normal’ simply does not exist.
On the road to recovery from mental illness, you will experience vulnerability. New relationships will come about and as casual acquaintances grow into something deeper a connection will be made. At some point, the topic of your mental illness will come about. It is a scary and exciting thing to reveal part of what you are. When a person accepts you it is a tremendous feeling while the rejections are bitter.
The best thing about being mentally ill is that you can kick back with your fellow sufferers. There isn’t a more accepting group of people. While it is hard to keep up with people in hospitals I found that I kept connections with some. I have a friend of over thirty years from a day program I attended.
Recovering from mental illness is like learning to ride a bike. You are going to fall down a lot. But if you keep at it you will get better and better until the point you can ride fine. Summing up with some practical steps.
- Be nice to everybody, treat them how you would like to be treated.
- Don’t accept being put down, move on and don’t stick around abuse.
- Don’t expect too much too soon, relationships take time to develop.
- Not everybody will be your friend, life just doesn’t work that way.
- Never give up on yourself.
Here is a book that celebrates life in science fiction called “From Chaos To Cosmos” https://johnkaniecki.weebly.com/from-chaos-to-cosmos.html