Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness
(c) Nancy Virden 2013
The woman sat alone in her kitchen and thought about her loneliness. She felt she had done everything she could to have friends, healthy relationships, and you know, a life. Yet here she sat with no one around, no one to call, and no one who cared. That is what she thought.
So she turned as usual to the one thing she could count on to provide relief and a sense of control over her emotions. Her addiction. Tonight she felt like having a pizza. Why not? No one was around to see. The phone call was made to the local pizza parlor and as she heard the voice on the other end describe the specials she thought, that sounds good. I know I shouldn’t… but who cares? It’s just this one more time and after all, there is no one around to see. Aloud she said “yes” to everything she desired. I can have leftovers, at this price it will take care of three cheap meals or more.
Hours passed. As she watched the third late night show, and the hope of a good night’s sleep was long past, she finally decided to wrap up those extra meals that were supposed to get her through the next two days.
Only there were not any.
Grabbing the last piece of crust she had meant to throw away, she ate it as she climbed the stairs. That was good. I deserved that. Never mind I feel stuffed – it doesn’t matter. No one cares anyway.
Sound familiar? This scene and many like it, whether it be a substance, a person, a hobby, or behavior, has people trapped by the god of their own creation. It is truly an addiction they now fight, as the once-upon-a-time relief has become their master.
No one is ever released from pain through addiction. Instead, it brings destruction, shame, poor choices, and simply allows those emotions that are telling us we need support to be stuffed down and ignored. Sometimes a person’s addiction can be observed by those on the outside because of what it has done to the addict’s body, mind, and quality of life. People shake their heads and mumble things like, “I’m glad that’s not me,” or, “what is wrong with that person that they should be so weak?” Some think, “I’m better than that.”
Unfortunately I am both kinds of people in this story. As the woman in the kitchen and as the one who felt superior to other addicts, I did not acknowledge my life was out of control. My wake-up call was when attempted suicide showed me I’d been doing life in an unhealthy way. Silly for me not to have noticed before? The mind of an addict is one of denial, rationalization, and believing flat-out lies.
Now I’m learning how to become free as are multitudes of addicts across the world. The two masters thing did not work, just as Jesus said it wouldn’t. We will end up in servitude to the vice we choose, and despise the One who can actually meet our needs.
NOTE: I am not a trained or licensed mental health professional. I am not a doctor. I speak only from my experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.
*picture from Qulaitystockphotos.com