Thursday, October 1, 2009

My thoughts in the night

I lay awake too many night and ponder what is. You know, late night thinking is the best. It is quiet. Your thoughts are brought to the fore front more readily because the kids are in bed, the TV is off and what more do you have to do then think.

Last night I was thinking about all the people in the world. How many have things they are struggling with whether it be children, work, income, health, family. I have certainly struggled with all of those things in the past, here in the present and I am sure I will struggle with things in the future. When I awoke this morning I turn on my computer and there was a message from my dear friend Teri. She is one I can not talk to for forever and we pick up like we just talked yesterday. She sent me this quote.

I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much. Mother Teresa

I have felt that inside many times. It gives me strength. So many times I think I cannot handle one more thing and then I remember that God is a loving God and He knows what I can handle. It stretches me to learn, to grow, to love.

Life isn't easy. Sure we have times when things seems to be going along smooth. We have periods of time when money isn't a problem. Our children and our families are healthy, but, what about when you have a chronically ill child or parent. How do we, as an individual, a parent, a family and a society deal with this.

Being a parent of a chronically ill child, not just what we are dealing with now, but, what we have dealt with for 20 years, I ponder, why me? Well, why not me? Sure it isn't easy everyday but the rewards are indescribable. The capacity to love and to be loved by this child is remarkable. Yes, there are times when I don't like her much because of choices she is making but I love her all the time.

Do we know why we are giving the things we are? I'm sure there was a time when we knew why this was going to happen. And, I am sure we will see the whole picture one day. There are many days when I wish I could just get a glimpse of the whole picture.

I know there are many around us who don't understand. I wish I could explain what it is like. What Nicole is dealing with, what we are dealing with but would it really matter that much in the long run.

I read an article in the paper a few months ago. The article was written by a man who had been reading to obituaries. Obit after obit. Each one telling a story. Many told of valiant fights with this or that, mostly cancer. Then he came across one that said: The idea of besmirching his memory by saying he committed suicide is not a very positive image of his personality and accomplishments. What's wrong with this picture. How is it that someone dying after struggling with a dreaded disease like cancer is seen as being valiant while others dying of an equally dreaded disease like mental illness is seen as having a "besmirched memory".

Now, I know that those words, mental illness, really scare people. It is something not really understood and often misunderstood. Did you know that 1 in 4 people have some form of mental illness. From ADD to Depression to Schizophrenia. And anywhere in between. The problem with mental illness is not the illness it is that most people look and act normal most of the time. And when something goes awry, those around them don't know what to do because they thought they were 'normal'.

What is normal? Ask your self that question. Normal is as normal does. We, as a society want things to be 'normal'. Then we don't have to look at how we are dealing with things inside of our families and also outside.

What do you do when your neighbor or friend is diagnosed with cancer? We rally around them. We take in a meal. We watch their children. We pray for them.

Now think of what you do when you are at your child's school and one of the children acts out because he has ADD. Do we think, that child needs to be disciplined. Or what about when you see someone at church or in your neighborhood that all of the sudden is doing things out of the ordinary. Do you turn your back? Do you pretend you don't see them? Or, do you go to them or their parent or spouse and ask what you can do or take them a meal. Mental illness is just as real as cancer. It is just as debilitating. It is just as life threatening. It is more lonely, more costly, more life altering.

This is what we struggle with each day. It is a fact of life. It is not going away with a magic wand or pill. It is what is. We don't know why these things happen. It is not caused by anything the person has done. Nor can it just be prayed away.

I just had to write about this today. I want to stop, for us and for others in the world, the gossip and ill feelings that have penetrated my soul. That has ruined lives over the years and has made others withdraw from us and those who are dealing with something like this. My prayer today is to gain more understanding and to be more understanding to those around me and my family and anyone else who is struggling with these same challenges.

You never know when your family will be dealt this same hand of cards. Or, maybe you have been and you are trying to deal with this in silence. I know your struggle. Know that God is with you even when you think you are doing it alone.


karen said...

Hi Angi - my first visit to your blog. My husband and I have a son struggling with mental illness still in the mental health system in Utah. He was doing well, and then had a relapse in May - rehospitalization, etc. So we're struggling back from that with him. You're right - people are polite, but it's clear that most don't understand the full extent of the problem. I hope your daughter continues to recover well (sorry - I haven't had time yet to go back and read the original problem as I'm at work now.) My heart is with you and your family.

Grammy of 7 said...

Hello again, Angi.
All I can say is, "here, here". That's a wonderful discourse on mental illness. Tahnk you. Love , Robin

Anonymous said...

Thank you for doing these daily posts. My nephew has osteosarcoma and had his arm amputated last week. I'm not there to go through each day with my sister, and I know she can't be having an easy time. Although the cause is a bit different, I imagine that she is experiencing similar feelings. So - thank you for giving me that insight.

Jeanne said...

More people than you know do understand. I wouldn't worry about gossip, if that is what it truly is. My experience has been that whatever we judge to be amiss in others usually comes back to haunt us in our own lives. So, don't worry about gossip and judgement. Often those conversations occur in order to try to make sense of chaos. Things like this make all of us feel that much more vulnerable. Some of what happens in this life will remain unexplainable until the veil is lifted from our eyes and hearts. In the meantime, you will get through if you keep your eyes on the Savior. He is aware of you and your struggle.

Anonymous said...

Hi Angie, Thanks for the kick in the rear. We all need to be reminded at times that EVERYONE gets to be loved and understood.
John & Lora Winder (John's cousins)

Karen said...


You are an amazing person, and I'm honored to know you, even if only from a distance. Much love to you and your family as you meet life's challenges, big and small. Learning to love and serve each other is a great challenge, but it's really the only thing worth doing in this life. Thanks for putting into words some of the insights and observations you have. Hugs.

scraps said...

Thanks for these humbling words.