Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness
Nancy Virden (c)2013
You have stalked me since I was young. I played the game of hide and seek innocently, believing you and the powerful forces that drove me to you were normal and right. I did not understand you are a creeper. Your presence seemed a kind gift, an experience for which I was grateful. You were a predator, but I thought you were fun.
Then one day I saw you abusing another confused captive and grew frightened. You were still wanted, just not trusted. For awhile, I was able to leave you behind and feel confident in my power to go on alone. Nonetheless, your cajoling would eventually grab my attention and my behavior would change according to your promises of the hour. Sometimes I wanted to run and hide from you, and would plead to God to make you leave. Most often though, I wanted you and I to go away together and hide from the world.
You and I became inseparable. Your lies were soft and comfortable compared to such a harsh world; eventually I came to believe everything you had to offer was for protection. No one could persuade me you were not my only friend. I decided our relationship was no one else’s business, knew I’d given control over to you, and consciously believed I deserved whatever loss of health or relationship you had in store for me. Unaware you’d become my god, I moved forward in a conflicting haze of pride and self-loathing.
Remember how I used to panic when you were not in sight? I’d turn over the house, then the neighborhood, then outside towns to find you. I’d make calls, drive to pick you up, pay helpful people as they smiled and handed you over, and generally appease any undesirable guilt or shame by burying the next hours under your spell.
I did not understand you are a creeper. You regularly work your way between the cracks of broken hearts and set up house inside. For awhile your cheap plaster covered by cheery paint appears to have stopped the leakage of pain. Not for long though, as more plaster and fresh coats of paint are needed to repair your repairs. Stains never fail to prove your phoniness, but as long as heart-owners are willing to accept your promises of quality, no one has to fear a flood seeping through her walls.
Before your true nature was fully revealed, I understood you to be the dangerous sort. What went unnoticed was how you had selected to chase after me when I did not believe in self-worth. You took advantage of my ignorance and weakness and promised all the love and affection and safety that did not exist for me otherwise. As birthday after birthday passed, I offered into your competent hands the privilege of owning my feelings.
You taught by soothing my discomfort, that lying, denying, acting, and withholding are the means of survival. Well, I see the real you now. You have never been my friend; you are my stalker, a creeper, the one who has brought me to the edge of a cliff and threatened to push. You are abusive, mean, deceitful, and defiant.
Because of you I have lost years of wellbeing. Joining hands with you in my destruction may still cause me hardship due to any number of your favorite penalties. You cheered me on in my games of life versus death, and almost like Russian Roulette you have unpredictable consequences.
You may never let me go. That is why I am walking away. I let YOU go, and in your place is a growing peace, the kind that comes from my real God, my Savior Jesus Christ. He truly loves me for me and instead of plans to destroy my inner child, will heal her. I could say it’s not you it’s me, but this break–up is all about you. Without you I can BE me.
Goodbye from Not-Your-Victim
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.