Mental illness sucks. I’m sitting here trying to come with clever ways to express those three simple words, but all the comes to mind is mental illness sucks. One reason why it sucks is that mental illness will trick you into believing that feelings matter. When, in the grand scheme of things, they do not. For example, mental illness makes me feel like I’m a bad mother for having a mental illness. When the truth is, I’m not. It’s because of mental illness that I am a good mother. I am always conscious of making sure that my children do not experience the harsh realities that come with having a mentally ill parent. I am always aware of their feelings and what may or may not be affecting them.
Because of my mental illness, I am more aware of my children’s mental stability. I know what it is like to have a parent with a mental illness. For years, I failed to understand why my mother chose to do and say the things that she did to us. I used to be upset with her, but after learning what her struggles are, it made it easier for me to forgive her. Which brings me to my previous point; mental illness will trick you into believing that feelings matter. If feelings truly mattered, then I would be unable to forgive my mother because she has hurt me in ways that no child should be hurt. But I’ve chosen to forgive her for a couple of reasons…
- Peace of mind “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33
- God says I have to“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13
For me, forgiveness is more about me than it is about you. People chose not to forgive because they feel they may be doing that person a favor or they may feel like that person doesn’t deserve to be forgiven. But then there is that word again, feel. If you are having a hard time forgiving someone, ask yourself…what great feeling do you have when you chose not to forgive? Do you feel better or worse? Do you feel like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders or do you feel angry and bitter?
Feelings should have nothing to do with doing the right thing. For example, saying hurtful words feels so good when I’m angry. When I become angry, my mind begins to fill with horrible thoughts. It’s like I am possessed. I am capable of saying some pretty awful things. When I’m angry, it feels great to say those awful things…until I calm down. Then I feel like the worst person in the world. I then, begin to obsess about how to make it right. Thus, resulting in an obsessive cycle of beating myself up. All because I felt angry. When in fact, my feelings should not cause me to want to hurt someone else. God says:
When you tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirits words to explain spiritual truths. -1 Corinthians 2:13
Feelings can be wonderful; joy, hope, serenity, gratitude, faithfulness, love, clarity, etc. It is the negative ones that mental illness uses to feed on. Mental illness is just like every monster you’ve read about growing up. The more you feed it what it wants, the stronger it becomes.
Right now, I feel overwhelmed and hopeless. I feel like I am never going to move past these moments of dread and disparity. I feel like I am losing the war that is going on in my mind and body, but guess what? Those are just feelings. They are not my reality. We have to hold on to the fact that feelings do not define our truth, they do not reflect our reality. They just simply reflect our mind frame. We have to keep reminding ourselves that we are more than what we are feeling at the moment. Moments are periods of time that have a beginning and an end. Moments can last for seconds or for years, but we are not meant to set up permanent residence in said moments. We are meant to live life, embracing those moments so we can learn and grow from them. What do you do when you are done reading a chapter in a book? You move on to the next chapter, right? Moments are chapters in your book of life. Don’t stay stuck in one chapter because you feel trapped or hopeless.
Thank you for reading my thoughts. I appreciate every last person that decided to hit that FOLLOW bottom. You’re the real MVP’s! Stay blessed.
“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.” -Charles Haddon Spurgeon