authentic relationship, Courage to be honest, Effects of mental illness on relationships, Emotional and spiritual healing
Suicide has touched us all in some way, even if it’s seeing the stories and feeling the sadness of a celebrity suicide such as Robin Williams’.
For me it’s more personal, since in the past year my husband and I lost both a relative and a friend to suicide. There are still hurts and unanswered questions.
Much is being said about mental illness, addictions, and suicide by both secular and religious pundits and bloggers.
In her story in the book, Journeys to Mother Love, Ardis Nelson tells of the pain of having a mentally-ill mother. Ardis writes:
“Mom was given shock treatments and she was never the same after that. … Diagnosed with schizophrenia [she] was in and out of mental hospitals. For my own sense of sanity, I kept her at a distance. I didn’t trust what she told me. I pretty much wrote off my mother. It was just too painful to be her daughter. All I could ‘see’ was that she was crazy. … Growing up, I internalized the subtle messages that my emotions were not something I should share and in fact, that if I did, there must be something wrong with me — like my mother. Fearful of becoming crazy, I learned to shut down my emotions and not share them with anyone.”
Ardis goes on to tell how the opportunity came, at the end of her mother’s life, for healing in their relationship. This opened the door for even wider and deeper healing in Ardis’s life.
In the isolation and pain that depression, mental illness, and suicidal thoughts can cause, what is needed is openness, communication, honest words.
God, help us be bridges of mercy to others.
In her blog two days ago, Ann Voskamp expressed this need — and her own experience with a mentally-ill mother — eloquently. You may want to click there and read her words, and open your heart to grace, and beauty, and hope:
Cathy, Thanks for highlighting part of my story in this post. As I’ve shared my own struggles, I’ve heard so many stories of others with mental illness in the family. It is epidemic and also a silent pain that people live with. I’m grateful to be free from my fears around it, and glad that the stigma is diminishing in our society.
I fully agree with Ann Voskamp when she says about medication: “I’d rather walk tall with a crutch than crawl around insisting like a proud and bloody fool that I didn’t need one.” God wired us all differently and medication is often needed to bring us to a more normal level of functional living. Ardis