Monday, July 20, 2009

Hope! Hope? Hope.

Imagine: You can't stand it in your own mind. What happens in your head is out of your control. You get to the point where you just want it to end. Or, you are at the point where you don't want to die, but you really REALLY want it to end. So, what do you do? The anxiety, the depression, the paranoia, and for some - the voices. The stigma they feel for having these feelings and sensations.

Now imagine: The person who is experiencing this is your loved one, friend, sibling, spouse, family member who deals everyday with feeling out of control to some degree.

For any of you living with loved ones who suffer with mental illness, you know what I am talking about. It's a roller coaster ride. Severe climbs up the track with the inevitable fall down the other side...and the occasional lull or straight away that gives you/them just enough time to catch your breath and get your bearings before the next thrill.

I find it difficult to deal with. The extremes of seeing them at their worst and best is tiring, maddening, saddening and at times makes me angry. When I get angry and want to give up, I remember one thing: THEY are the one experiencing all of this. THEY are the one who can't seem to find a day of peace...of REAL peace. Can you IMAGINE? My answer is always: no, I can't. I can't imagine being on the roller coaster my ENTIRE life. And I think I would be as worn out as they are. I would want it to be OVER as much as they are wanting it to be over.

I find it maddening that some of the situation is in their control. Therapy and medication are available - but how do you convince a person suffering like this to go get help? When all they want is someone to say "shabam!" and have it all be better. How do you convince someone experiencing despair that "you have control - you can make some choices that will help you", because they can? And they aren't.

We see people everyday who are on the street, talking to themselves, and are obviously having a rough go. Who we don't see are the mothers and fathers, sister and brothers, teachers, receptionists, grocery clerks, policemen, etc who are also suffering but are able to hide it better.

Please support your local agencies who offer services to the mentally ill and to their loved ones. Donate to agencies - they need money to offer resources. Donate your time - they need people to help with classes, office work, or just making calls to get others to donate. Educate yourself about the resources available in your community so that you can at least pass it along to a friend in need.

It takes a special kind of person to work with the mentally ill. No matter the degree of the mental illness. Be kind to anyone you know who does this type of work. It's a gift from God, Allah, or the universe - however you want to think of it.

If you are living this life - the life of the spouse, friend, sibling, family member: Take care of yourself. Do what you can, but realize your limits. Talk to someone. Find a support group. Learn about the disease. Don't make it your life. Love, truly love, the one who is suffering - when you are at the point where you don't want to love them anymore or think that you can't possibly love them anymore.


Jean said...

You are an amazing person, Tina. Thanks for writing this. Gave me a new angle to work from.

Hope. It's a good thing.

Anonymous said...

These sentiments let people know what kind of person you are. This is a true reflection of the woman I know and the reason that I married you. I am very lucky to have met you, but to actually marry you. . . WOW. I have sooooo much to be thankful for. Thanks for all that you are kind hearted, loving, strong, and patient.
My love to you my dear wife,