Can you imagine a doorway that leads you out to a beautiful garden full of the most beautiful flowers that you have ever seen? In addition there are a lot of the most warm and caring people gathered around the grill with something that smells really good cooking. The birds are singing as only they can as they flit from branch to branch in a truly glorious tree. The sun is shining bright and warms the backs of everyone as a nice cool breeze engulfs them.
Step back and find that the door is locked and you can not get out…ever. This is what mental illness is. It robs you of everything that would normally bring someone happiness and it doesn't care about any of the carnage it leaves behind because you are the one that has to deal with it.
Yet, you do your best to keep moving forward but your best is judged by others that are free of mental illnesses and sometimes it feels like there are several different sets of judgments, expectations and consequences being thrust upon you and all from others that do not suffer from mental illnesses.
First we have a person that is totally uninformed and unaware of mental illness. They see and hear the things that you do and deem you as an undesirable person and they distance themselves as far away from you as possible.
Next we have the person that is aware of your mental illness however they don't really understand it. In a caring way they tell you things like pull yourself up by your boot straps or it's all in your head and you can overcome it. These people will spend a little time with you but nowhere enough to form any kind of a real or lasting relationship.
Next we have the person that truly loves and cares about you. They have taken the time to study, research and educate themselves with regards to mental illness and not only how it affects you but also how it affects them and their own mental health. Because of the love that they have for you they remain in your life. Unfortunately, simply because of their proximity to you they are very likely to have their hearts hurt. Do you have any idea at all what it feels like to hurt the heart of someone that you love….a second time…. and again? It hurts to do that…. a lot. It's a pain that is almost unbearable.
The last person would be your mental health professional. They have seen and heard it all throughout their years of practice. Some are better than others although there are far too many that push pills as the answer to all of your problems.
So this brings us full circle and where are we? We're still standing at the same locked door unable pass and and experience the beauty that the lucky ones can see and feel.
Which way do you turn when each direction takes you to the same destination?