I have recently run into someone who has some significant mental health issues. It is evident when you are around her that there is something going on. She descends into depression and copes poorly with it. The last time I saw her she was ecstatically happy. She was over the top. She has been diagnosed as bipolar but she is unwilling to take care of herself. She talked about how the psychologist she sees knows nothing and how she quit taking her meds because she doesn’t need them.
This is not new. She has struggled for a long time. It is sad to see her and hear that she is still in denial.
It is so difficult when someone is unable to cope at all with their illness. This is not only true of mental health issues but also with physical problems. As a nurse I have known diabetics who totally ignored the problem. One is a physician.
It seems to me that the path to wellness begins with acceptance and a willingness to help yourself. It is hard to discover something that you have to live with forever. I wrote recently about how my mother coped with a chronic illness that completely changed her life. She struggled at first learning how to live with the changes to herself but learned to manage and lived a long and fruitful life.
Each of us has something that we have to accept. I have had ups and downs with my IBS and anxiety but I feel that my life has given me much and I keep on keeping on. I read the blogs of people who not only cope with their problems but are also willing to share their failures and successes with the community. Their strength and openness inspires others and gives hope to many.
We can learn to live a full life in spite of our particular issues and reach out to others who have problem.
I have talked here about my friend whose husband is in excruciating pain. Pain medicines only give momentary relief. The pain is unremitting. Diagnosis has been difficult and we now know it is from a back fracture and a pinched nerve in the back. The question becomes what to do?
As we grow older the answers to medical issues becomes more complex. Can the person withstand the surgery? Will it solve the problem? If not what now? We tend to forget that not everything can be fixed to our satisfaction.
Life’s problems cannot always be solved the way we want. This is a hard thing to learn. My husband has always said “every problem has a solution but it may not be the one we know or want”. I am sure that we all know people who live with chronic health problems or who are disabled. Sometimes we don’t even see it. How often do we disregard the person who seems “less than” for whatever reason. We walk by and think “Oh too bad” and just keep going.
The same thing can be said about the treatment of those of us with emotional issues. Most people don’t understand and either don’t want to do the work to get it or just keep going.
Admittedly, it is easier to understand something that we have experienced ourselves. That’s why support groups with fellow travelers help. But all of us have been at fault. I can get the emotional issues but do not understand the breadth of some physical problems even with my medical training. I have a friend who has cared for her son with cerebral palsy since his birth some 50 odd years ago. She has ignored her own wants to support him and enrich his life. He has a brilliant mind but has to use a computer to communicate. Do any of us really understand the life of either her or her son? I don’t think so.
We need to strive for the kind of compassion and love that is shown in the life of Christ. We need to take time to listen and do our best to be a companion on the way not just a voyeur. If everyone could do this so many lives would be enriched.
Strive to live with compassion and love!
I have often said that anyone who doesn’t like living in the USA should have to live in a third world country for at least a year. We lived in Panama for two and 1/2 years and it made a lasting impression on me. There are so many things that I saw there that changed the way I think.
I appreciate that I can live in a place where the police and the military are not one and the same. I am grateful that my home does not have to be surrounded by walls with wire on top and the only yard is inside the wall. I am glad that the law does not allow me to be arrested and dealt with without trial or any recourse. I am grateful that there still is a semblance of a middle class and not just the very rich and the horribly poor.
While living there I made a car trip across the isthmus from Colon to Panama City. In front of me was a small bus called a “Chiva.” Along the road the Chiva stopped and I stopped behind it to watch a family get in the bus. There were what appeared to be several generations from young children to the elderly. Several men were carrying a small coffin. The bus started up and continued on the road for several miles where it stopped at the entrance to a cemetery. There was a priest waiting at the entrance and the family filed off the bus with the coffin of a child and followed the priest to the burial site.
I was moved to tears by this incident. Just the thought of how this family lived and coped with everyday life was overwhelming. So poor that they had to take a bus with the coffin to bury their child.
We are so blessed with the life we have. I know that there are communities that suffer from poverty and sickness here. That is why, although I can’t help elsewhere, I am called to help where I can.
But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.
” data-hasqtip=”18″>John 9:2
And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?”
Do we visit our sins upon our children? Or we can ask “what traits of ours are passed on to our children and their children?
Case in point: My father had multiple kidney stones. The doctors called him a stone maker. I’ll be he had a least 50 or more in his lifetime. In college I developed kidney stones. You can inherit the tendency but not the actual thing. I guess I go the tendency. Fortunately I didn’t have the same problem as my father and had only a few stones.
None of my children have shown that tendency nor my grandchildren so I hope that is gone. These kinds of things we pass on are not under our control unless they are a major problem such as Tay Sachs disease and we can have genetic testing to make decisions about those things.
There are other things, however, that we do pass on. Sometimes without realizing it. At one point in our marriage my husband was switching jobs and money was tight.My stress over this was passed on to my daughter. The bad news is she worries about money. The good news is she is careful but not obsessive and always willing to help others when needs arise.
In raising children we sometimes find ourselves repeating the things said to us by our parents. Some things good, some bad.
It is a known fact that abuse and addiction put children at risk for the same problems. I know that I passed on my anxiety to some of my grandchildren.
The thing I have learned is we need to be aware that we can teach coping skills to our children and hope that they can learn from our mistakes and issues. Our own ability to cope can be a positive example to them and others. They can fine hope in the fact that we have struggled with problems and conquered them. This is the legacy we can give them.
Share your experiences with your loved ones. Pass down your struggles and how you coped. It will help them.
There was no sin that caused the man to be born blind. Just a natural event. Our children will not be afflicted because of our mistakes. God doesn’t work that way.