“The real war is the war I fight with myself.” ~ Anonymous

At times, we become so filled with fear and anxiety that darkness surrounds us. We feel like we are drowning in murky water, unable to keep our head above the surface. We may keep our eyes cast downward, isolate, withdraw from others and hide in our shell like a turtle.

Sometimes our world can become a bit brighter if only we draw our eyes upward and come out of our shell for a moment. The surface, the light is right there above us, beside us, around us, waiting. Sometimes all we have to do is take one small action, look up, peer out or take a breath to know peace.

When communicating with others consider the following three questions:

  1. Is what I say true?
  2. Is it kind?
  3. Is it necessary?

“I am a spiritual being having a human experience.” ~ Anonymous

The Stigma of Mental Illness

Most people do not understand and many do not want to understand mental illness. They are under the misconception that those of us with mental illness have a choice in the realities of our disease; that we have power over its effects on us. Those of us who have it know this simply isn’t true. It is NOT a matter of will power.

Research shows that spirituality, laughter, a positive attitude, regular exercise, and healthy interpersonal relationships greatly increase a person’s chance of surviving cancer and other physical maladies as it does for those with mental illness. The catch is that unlike cancer or diabetes or heart disease, the very nature of mental illness diminishes our capacity to experience the very things that may increase our chances of surviving. Yet, the general population pours salt into the wound, so to speak, by implying that the symptoms of our illness are our fault; that we are responsible for them; that we can control them. Who is the crazy one now?!

Am I saying that suicide is a good option? No, it is not. Am I saying that I understand why some people’s illness and its symptoms take them from reality to fatality? Yes, I do. Do I believe that for some it is not a matter of choice? Yes, I do. Do I think that I can determine who loses the ability to choose and who doesn’t? No, absolutely not! That is something only God can know and I am not Him and neither are you or anyone else.

Therefore, when it comes to suicide, I pray that people quit pretending to know what only God can know. I pray that people have more compassion for those who have mental illness. We would not inject a cancer patient with more cancer cells unless we wanted to increase their chances of dying so, please, pray with me for an end to doing the equivalent to those with mental illness. For such lies merely add to the shame and guilt already instilled by the disease.

I pray that you will join me in increasing awareness of the true nature of mental illness: it is a disease, not a character flaw or personal weakness. I pray that you consider submitting your creative writing pieces to Write into the Light (poems, book reviews, meditations, quotes, photography, art, prose, fiction, non-fiction.) Click here for Submission Guidelines . Thanks for reading and have a blessed day.

Questions? Comments? Please email all correspondence to the Editor at writeintothelight [at] live [dot] com