I have not written about my mental illness for a while–oh, it hasn’t gone away, but it has just made itself difficult to express.  Here are a few random observations:

  • Disappointment and criticism have a devastating effect on my emotional and physical state; but my sensitivity to my own failings makes it hard to accept praise or encouragement.  It is almost impossible for me to go into my old business–not because people despise me, but because they are so enthusiastic and happy to see me.
  • As lonely and in need of friends as I am, I avoid seeing or calling people I know and that I know care about me.  When someone says, “It’s been so long…” my mind goes into guilt mode; but the longer I avoid people to escape the stress and guilt, the more guilty I feel. 
  • Our (unheated) back porch has been my sanctuary for the past several months–a place where I could get away from things that attack me at home, and where I could take my mind off things with jigsaw puzzles, Wii, satellite radio, and the occasional video.  With colder weather coming, I need to convert my study upstairs into my “winter sanctuary” but I have no hope that it will serve the purpose; so both places have become symbols of despair.
  • My bitterness toward some people contributed to my breakdown, and part of my therapy is to become strong enough to clear the air.  At the same time, the offenses were real and not perceived; and confrontation could be more destructive than restorative.  It may be difficult for me to speak the truth in love; but for some people it would be even more difficult to hear the truth and believe it was spoken in love.  And the cycle–and the downward spiral–would continue. 
  • Do I need to forgive someone whose greatest offense is bringing unnecessary stress into my life?  Or do I just need to learn to cope with it?  Are they at fault for stressing me?  Am I at fault for being stressed?  Am I at fault for being stressed at being stressed?  I have heard it said that a phobia is the fear of being afraid of something; is mental illness the stress at being stressed and the guilt at feeling guilty?
  • I wish some people were heretics, because the Bible says I could reject them after a couple of warnings; but my challenges are not heretics.  They are just difficult or toxic people.
  • Family members have generously paid so that I could join a gym and get my hunting license.  Now, if only I had the energy and motivation to take advantage of either of these great opportunities….  I know I would feel better for doing them, if only I could do them.

Lord, help me to be more loving and forgiving.  Help me to bear all things and endure all things.  And help me to enjoy some things.  Amen and Amen.