Maybe if you don’t see me on a regular basis you wouldn’t know that I feel sick often these days. Combatting mania in the fall means more meds. More meds means nauseous mornings, consistent body pain, and falling asleep at random.
Last September, in 2014, I fell asleep at All In Coffee shop in Clemson for over two hours from my medication. I guess I couldn’t let that Narcolepsy slide as Third Eye Blind would say/sing.
Being sick from medicine is bad, but being illed by bipolar is worse.
There are lots of people who don’t classify mental illness as an “actual illness” because “you can’t see it.” Maybe you qualify as this squad. So I’d ask this group (who is in great company)– can you see your own headache? No you can’t? But don’t you feel it’s affects..? What if I told you that I think you’re making your headache up. You very well could be, I will never know. While I’m kicking back on my good-intentioned anti-headache campaign throne, questioning the legitimacy of said headache, splitting pains are making it so difficult for you to function that you’re unable to form a rebuttal against me for my ill-infomed judgment passing.
Many of you believe in God, as do I. So can you see God? No, you can’t see Him. But we can see the affects of Him- what He’s doing in our life and the world. I feel a perpetual need to capitalize the H in “Him” because I was taught young that’s what you do. I’ve now digressed this post.
Like Landon Carter said in A Walk To Remember after Jamie passed away, “Our love is like the wind, I can’t see it, but I can feel it.” I digress further–fantastic movie though. Even if Wes and Eric disagree with me.
SO, that being said, just because you can’t see someone’s illness doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
And, it’s actually really frustrating and hurtful for you to question someone’s pain, just because you yourself haven’t experienced it.
Try to be mindful that there are people, close to you even, who hurt more than you’ll know or understand. Maybe you are the one who feels misunderstood for your pain.
Also, I want to make it clear that I don’t expect everyone to understand mental illness. There are always, and I mean always, going to be people who don’t understand certain things and don’t care to.
There are definitely many circumstances that I, up to this point in my life, can’t be able to fully understand. For example, my older brother had a rare ocular cancer as a kid and had his eye removed as a result of it. This is a situation that I will never be able to fully understand. Even though I was there the whole time, in the same house, seeing him in all of these stages of his life, I wasn’t the one going to countless operations and having radiation done. But, I can still show my brother love and not undermine what he both went through back then and still deals with today. Sidenote: His strength has given me strength and perspective for my own struggle.
It can be an odd thing to try and put yourself in someone else’s shoes. We like our shoes. We want to feel comfortable. But what we don’t recognize sometimes is what our attempts to empathize can potentially mean to another person.
I don’t care if you say you don’t- We all want to be loved. We all want to be understood. Only God can promise us these things completely.
But, we as humans can walk alongside one another and validate struggle. Just being like, “hey, I know that must be really tough for you,” can go a long way. Mental illness or no mental illness, we all face trials.
I’m going to try to inconvenience myself today, similarly but not comparable to how Jesus did for me 2,000 years ago on the cross. I hope you’ll try the same.
“Greater love has no one than this, that He lay down His life for His friends.” -John 15:13