Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Two Hearts

Was there yelling sometimes? Of Course
Did everything go according to each other’s plan? Not always
Were there many happy moments in our household? Absolutely
Could you tell they loved each other? Yep
This poem is for the two of you.


Two hearts so full of love for their God, Jesus.
Two hearts so full of love for others.
Two hearts so full of love for each other.
Two hearts that pray for us.
Two hearts living out whatever God leads
them to do each and every day.
Two hearts that love each other even when it’s not easy.
Two hearts that inspire us to love more.
Two hearts that complement each other’s strengths.
Two hearts that readily forgive.
Two hearts so big it’s a wonder how those hearts 
fit into two people.
Two hearts I am so privileged to know and be known by.
Two hearts filled by God, reflecting His love to us all.
Two hearts of integrity, wisdom, and
strength of character.
Two hearts that often beat as one.
Two hearts that I am so honored to be able to call
Dad and Mom.

Happy 65th Wedding Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Ignorance Is Not Bliss

Nobody likes it, but many of us do it. Since mental illness hit our family I have done it less and less. What is it? It is unwanted advice. I came to realize that most of the time I’m speaking out of ignorance and giving advice that is not wanted, needed, asked for, and is actually hurtful and harmful.

The damage of all of this unwanted advice is isolation, shaming, and marginalization of the person getting this so called good advice. For those hearing this advice the struggle to continue sharing your story vs. isolating yourself is real. When this judgmental advice is the norm, it makes it so hard to open up and risk hurtful words coming your way again and again.

Common phrases like:
“Just snap out of it” ~ as if that’s something you can easily do
“It’s all in your head” ~ That’s true, but not really what they mean.
“Have you tried…..” ~ Yes, it probably would help and you may have tried it or are currently doing it. That aside, it minimizes you and your diagnosis. Plus, you’ve heard this advice about a gazillion times already.
“If you just did this, you’d be fine.” ~ This one doesn’t even recognize that you have a mental illness.
“Do you have some unrepentant sin?” ~ Once again, not mentally ill. It’s all about your personal sin.

The same holds true if your loved one has a mental illness. The words are a little different but the affect is the same. Words like “Just make them”, It’s all in their head.”, “Have they tried…”, “Have you tried….” are just as common. There’s only so many times one can get beat up with these words.

Ignorance is often the catalyst of this unwanted advice. We all hear ignorance is bliss, but for those of us on the receiving end of these hurtful words of advice, ignorance is hell, isolation, and painful. Plus this ignorance promotes stigma.

So what are we to do? If you’re the person making these sorts of statements and giving this kind of advice, please STOP. Know that you are only making matters worse. Better yet, ask how you can support this person emotionally or in practically ways instead of telling them what to do or not do.

If you are the person receiving this advice, please don’t close yourself off because of these hurtful words. And even more important don’t let someone else’s ignorance be your reason to isolate.  It’s challenging to share your story while risking ridicule and judgment. Remember that sharing your story is one of the best ways to educate others about mental illness.