I am sitting in my room tonight, reflecting about the past week and the one thought that keeps coming to my head is, “Mental Illness SUCKS!”
I have some literature on my desk at work from The Lindner Center, I just went there for work recently. As I was pulling into the parking lot I was reminded of the biggest fight my brother, sister and I had. We were on our way to visit a family member in a “hospital” and thinking back on that day our roles were defined clearly. My brother, selfish, inconsiderate and self-centered 20 years later, still the same guy. My sister, enabler, excuse maker, denying the truth, and dutiful daughter 20 years later, still the same girl. Me, wow, fixer, angry, planner, problem solver, big sister 20 years later not a sister (no relationship with either sibling), no longer angry (still sad sometimes like tonight), no longer trying to solve “the family problem” just accepting it day by day, actually after reading this paragraph again I stand corrected. I am still a big sister. I am still the big sister that protected both of them from the mental illness that consumed us all, I’m still the big sister that hid the dirty secret even from her closest friends. I’m still the big sister that loves them both, I’m just not the big sister that is willing to participate in the three ring circus that mental illness brings.
This week has been a mental illness three ring circus without my family. My sweet Alyssa has been affected by three different situations and all of them involve mental illness. It began Monday night when Carl came up the hallway half asleep to announce, “Daryl just killed himself.” I sit on the couch and in my head I said, “Carl is so retarded he just said Daryl killed himself.” The next hour we spent explaining to Alyssa what suicide is and why it happens. At least we tried to explain it, I have thought about this subject since I was a small girl and by mistake learned that someone in our family had killed herself. Not only does mental illness suck so does suicide, anyone that doubts either should have spent a holiday with some of the people in my family tree. Alyssa misses her father, she cries, she hurts. In her sweet little voice this week she said it better then I ever could, “It’s not his fault, he can’t help it, he’s sick.” She took a deep breath, cried a few tears and then said, “But it still hurts.” Wow. She knows at nine what it has taken me 40 years to come to terms with. Then watching T.V. this week we saw a face that Carl and Alyssa recognized from church, and he said he was going to do some awful things, doesn’t sound like he had the ability to carry out the threats but he made them. He is in jail. We sit in front of him in church for months. I feel bad today I never tried to get to know him, I never showed this man God’s love. I sit in my pew every week never knowing the pain and suffering happening in the pew behind me. I never whispered to God please help the man behind me and whatever he is struggling with, but I bet I say that prayer to God every Sunday moving forward. I had to explain to Alyssa today that even Christians fall, people who sit in church every Sunday, accept communion, sing songs, shake hands, listen to their pastor’s sermon they still fall. I had to explain that we will pray for our brother in Christ, we will love him and we will not judge him. I wrote him a letter tonight and shared it with Alyssa. Mental illness sucks.
My sweet Alyssa knows that mental illness causes Daddys to break little girl’s hearts, mental illness causes men to kill themselves and mental illness causes men who know right from wrong and sit in church pews to threaten the unexplainable.
I know that mental illness causes grown women to cry themselves to sleep because someone they love has a birthday tomorrow and I won’t acknowledge it because it’s safer not to, mental illness can be treated and this world needs to have compassion.
I know that I have two pastors who preach God’s word and if anyone can love someone and pastor someone regardless of a disease called mental illness it’s my pastors.
Mental illness sucks!
1 Corinthians 12:24-26“God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it.”