I wanted to take a moment and say something to all the people in our lives who have to silently sit and watch us go through our problems. These people are our husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents, friends and anyone else who has taken an active interests in our well being.
Too often we see these people as negative impacts to our mental health. They are "heartless task masters" who are trying to "fix us." And we hate that. We get irritated, say hurtful things, and end up regretting it moments later. Talk about a negative and destructive cycle.
You know what this cycle is if you've ever been apart of one. So, how do we put a stop to this behavior? May I suggest something so simple but extremely eye opening?
Put yourself in their shoes.
How could you not want to try to fix someone you see hurting?
Let's look at it from their angle.
You see a person you love- maybe someone you love most in the entire world- and you see them hurting. It's a constant hurt. It's gut wrenching. And nothing you do helps. No food or medicine can cure them.
You see pain on their face, and you see them so sad all the time. They are loosing weight, they are becoming withdrawn, and they are becoming bitter. They are getting angry anytime you try to get them to eat or shower or go outside or anything else that humanity enjoys. This person is becoming a shell of who they once were. You see their potential and their greatness like it was your own. You see how successful they can be if they could just love themselves AND take care of themselves. Your heart hurts every time you see a tear or sad sigh. They've mentioned you being better off without them and your body could barely contain the grief at the very thought. After that particular talk, you had to silently go cry to yourself in the bathroom, because you have to be the strong one right now.
You pray every night and every day for strength- both for you and them. Strength for you to carry on and be a source of light. Strength for them to see the light at the end of tunnel. For them to keep going.
You see the way they avoid others. You see how they second guess everything. You see how they cringe when someone makes a joke about being, "bipolar", "schizophrenic", or "so-OCD" or whatever it is they are dealing with.
You just see them falling apart. And your heart can barely take it.
So, how could you not want to fix them?
Now, I'm not saying this is the best way to handle mental illness, or that fixing someone works. But when you put yourself in your loved position, and see how you are doing from their point of view- you can understand where their well meaning intentions are coming from.
My advice: don't snap. Don't get annoyed. Don't be rude. Don't argue. Instead, take a deep breath, cross over to the room, and hug them. Give them a long hug and tell them thank you. "Thank you for your kindness. Thank you for your care. Thank you for your love. Thank you for your support. Thank you for everything. I love you."
I believe those words are a healing power and a force for good. Mental illness has a way of tearing people apart; those who are only trying to heal, and those who are only trying to help. Both sides are doing the best they can. Both sides are so strong for going through what they are going through. Both sides need love and compassion- not arguments and nit picking. Don't let your illness destroy your family bonds and friendships. They mean too much to let them go.
And to all of you caregivers who don't hear this enough;
Thank you. Thank you for your kindness. Thank you for your support. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do. You are what keeps us going.