The one thing I haven’t talked about or just said verbatim, when it comes to mental health issues, is the topic of love and that it’s sadly not enough. I’m saying it now though, because it needs to be said. I’m only discussing this from a mental health activist point of view, I’m not discussing it from a platonic,familial or romantic relationship point of view,unless mental illness is a factor in major dysfunction of a relationships . Or if any kind of relationship while in it or out of it causes serious emotional distress, abuse or loss of life/lives. I’ll both explain and differentiate where love is necessary but it can’t be used as a measurement. Especially when it comes to mental health and mental illness. Even in cases of physical health issues and illnesses, as I go along.
The topic of love and what it means and what it doesn’t mean, is rarely discussed other than the love, absence of love and/ or self loathing that a patient who is suffering from mental health issues might feel at times. But people who lose their lives due to mental health issues ARE capable of loving others, even if they aren’t capable of loving themselves. The reason why this needs to be said is with all the talk regarding severe depression and suicidality, in the last week and half since Robin Williams died, not only is there stigma and shame that people who are now trying better to understand it, but there still is a ton of people who think it’s a selfish act to commit (or try to commit) suicide (or whatever politically correct term people are using now a days)and/or they have addiction issues whether they live or die from that.
Carrying the opinion that it’s selfish, doesn’t help anyone. It doesn’t help those who battle severe chronic depression or battle some form of severe mental health issue/s and it doesn’t help those who’ve had to survive the loss of a loved one, if they lost their battle and their lives to that. Or if they love and have to live with someone who’s suffering from mental health issues.
The problem is a lot of people believe that, ” true love can conquer all things” because we are conditioned to believe in society, that true love is a cure all. I don’t want to burst anyone bubble, but it’s NOT. This is how we keep stigmatizing and shaming mental health issues by believing or thinking that the right kind of love will fix all things. It doesn’t help ANYBODY for this is a myth, that we need to stop perpetuating. Even though I understand why it’s perpetuated in the first place. But that fantasy has to go, if we are going to have any prayer in making inroads with those who suffer from mental illness and their loved ones for healing.
I’m choosing my words obviously very carefully because while I can say in any venue that I do my activism from, making a blanket statement like love not being enough, also comes with the potential of people construing that if that’s the case, then having faith and hope will NOT make a difference, either. And that’s not true nor is it something I want people to think. We ABSOLUTELY need hope, faith and love to have the best chance to be in our best physical and mental health. We just can’t use that as a prescription or a means of a cure or a fix to people who have mental illnesses.Just like love can’t be a cure or means treatment or prevention for physical illnesses.
Understanding all of this will help a lot of people heal. Because mental health issues not only effect patients, it effects the people they love and who love them. Who feel rejection and shame when they lose people that they love due to mental health issues. And it can help loved ones cope when they are not able to understand when someone they love with mental health issues can’t get better because they are incapable of getting better. But there still is that human personal perspective that people will think if they were loved enough or if their love was good enough, people would be magically cured of of their illnesses. Or people wouldn’t experience the heartache of dealing with someone who is constantly fighting severe chronic depression, addiction, intentional or unintentional abuse and other mental health issues if THEY were lovable enough. Let alone those who are survivors of loved ones who die because of mental health issues.
That’s a lot of heartache all of us are carrying around because we want to believe that in love lies a cure. Sadly it doesn’t. I’m most definitely NOT saying “don’t love”. Or that love, like faith and hope doesn’t help in time of physical or mental crisis. I’m just saying it’s not a failure of love in any way because it can’t fix people with physical and/or mental health issues. It makes the journey in illnesses and in life, easier if you have faith,hope and love.
How do we help anyone who’s suffering, then, if love isn’t a cure all? Compassionately understanding that different people have different means of treatment needs for the same diseases. Treating all human conditions whether they be medical or psychological, with the same respect, concern and kindness, and not associating choice when it comes to psychological issues. That just like there is no guarantee of a cure for a lot of medical illnesses or diseases, there isn’t sometimes a cure or an effective treatment for some mental health illnesses. I don’t choose to have Bipolar 2 disorder, anymore than I choose to have Migraines. But it’s the latter that’s going to get me the most empathy and just like everyone who’s struggling with something, whether it’s emotional or physical and/or combination of, and it shouldn’t be that way.
I didn’t hoard to punish my children, nor did I try to commit suicide 6 years ago because I didn’t love my children or family,enough. As I love them dearly.I always have and I always will. I’ve explained though in other blogs in more detail, of what happened to us, in my circumstances.This particular blog isn’t for me, about me or my kids. It’s for a better understanding from an activist point of view of what needs to change, to help those who are hurting. But in my case, while I know I’m capable of love and kindness to others, that I’m not necessarily capable of showing to myself, because of my mental health issues. And I’m not unique in the fact that I can love others without loving myself, if at times when I’ve been filled with self loathing and sadly being self destructive, did have consequences on those who I love the most. And it’s aspect about me and/or my illnesses that I’ve had from the time I was really young from physiological makeup, environment and circumstances. And I’m far from the only one who’s had/have traits like this.
This is where now though, where lack of self-love and self loathing needs more de-stigmatization. In matters of those who are abused in some way or are abusers and have capacity to do violent and/or intentional harm. I don’t have the credentialing nor do I have at this point, because of my cognitive damage to do anything, but best hypothesize, that we have problems in our society and it can play into some patients’s mental health issues, when there is an absence of self love, and/or love for others, self loathing but now add in HATE and/or RAGE. The difference between a suicide and a murder/suicide, is that some people have hate and/or RAGE if not necessarily about themselves but for others. Sometimes, it’s due to a chemical makeup or predisposition. Sometimes, it’s environmental. Or circumstantial. Or combination there of.
I,truthfully, struggle with the thought of having compassion for people who are capable of violent harm against another. I also don’t have the means to understand it or explain it, best, like a professional Mental Health expert, would of why it actually exists (which I’m sure there is many reasons) and what is needed for effective treatment and/or rehabilitation .
. But this matters in where and what I say a lot in the activism that I do. Whether it’s saying that NOT all people with severe and persistent mental health issues are capable of any, let alone, great harm. It also plays a factor in people becoming abusers themselves, when abused. There’s also a physiological component to some people’s mental health issues, that they are not intentionally trying to be harmful but they still are, anyways, and we need to find more options for treating those who suffer from this and being more compassionate in our support for their loved ones. And we can’t compassionately support if we don’t dispel stigma. And start encouraging dialogue and discussion for those who have loved ones who are abusive and/or erratic, and/or violent so that they can be supported. Even with domestic abuse initiatives, domestic abuse whether romantic or familial is still sadly, greatly under reported. Whether it’s fear or due to stigma.
Again, there are no easy answers. Human beings don’t each come with their own instructional manual. We all are unique and complex. But it’s easier to try to come up with solutions to help others in their suffering, when we understand and can identify what barriers that exist to help de-stigmatize and remove shame from those who suffer greatly from mental health issues and for those who love them, who can’t understand that when mental health issues that result in tragedy in loss of life or a results in such a poor quality of life, has NOTHING to do about LOVE as we currently define it. If it did, there would be millions and millions of people still alive both from a medical and mental health stance.
In NO way shape or form am I discounting FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE. We are humans and our souls and psyches need that, as well as our bodies do. Like we need oxygen,water and food.Not only to survive but to have the best chance to thrive. It just needs to be put in a proper perspective, for people to have a better chance of healing from circumstances that they have no control over the outcome. Both with themselves and with those who they love and who love them. And sadly, mental health issues effect each and everyone of us to some extent.
I guess the best way I can say this is “use” love in an authentic way to help fortify your strength and your life, in your relationships with yourself and others. Do not use though love as an effective means of evaluating and/or as a measure of your value as a person, when it comes to medical or mental health issues in yourself or those you love…………