Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry
Do you remember the televised public service announcement that showed a close-up of an egg? The actor said, “This is your brain.” He called a frying pan “drugs.” Then as the egg broke into the pan, it bubbled and its edges curled. The actor said, “This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?”
Seeing this for the first time as a young adult, it seemed to send a quality message. The idea of destroying brain cells was a deterrent.
My first car had been owned by a pot-head who was increasingly unable to use his limbs. The Dodge was adjusted for hand controls when he lost use of his legs. Eventually he could no longer drive. The car was reverted back to its original condition, and sold.
That sealed it for me. No drugs. Ever.
There is a great deal of rationalizing in homes, cars, empty warehouses, and in the arguments of those wishing to legalize drug use for recreational purposes. “Marijuana is safe” is one myth floating about. Tell that to the kid who spent his life in a wheelchair. As with all forms of self-medication, pot can become a mental obsession and gateway to lethal experiments.
Addiction is not only a chemically induced physical draw to the fix, it is also a mental game of repetitive cycles. “I can stop anytime I want” is followed by successful abstinence for a time, then an eventual return. It is not uncommon for someone to give up one addiction for another, either.
Rationalizations ran my life as food addiction took over my thoughts and body. While triumphantly avoiding the loss of brain cells due to drugs, my mental obsession with food nearly took me out. Although my recovery has resulted in significant weight loss, there are continuing health consequences to pay.
Loss of brain cells or not, addiction of all types interfere with…
- Relationships. How can we pay attention to other people’s needs when our focus is on our obsession?
- Common sense. We will rationalize anything to have our fix. A PSA for food addiction could probably look like a close-up of an egg, a red-hot frying pan symbolizing deteriorating health, and a hand snatching the sizzling egg and shoving it into a mouth. Food addiction is that insane.
- Our social choices. We will hang out with people who do not challenge our behavior.
- Intellect and critical thinking skills. We are only interested in information that supports our addiction.
- Faith. We do not want to surrender to God and lose control over our own decisions.
- Physical health. We live in denial.
- Our sense of worth. We turn to the fix to feel better – which never works for long. Shame haunts us.
Addiction charges a high price. There is hope if we will accept drug use and self-medicating as the dangers and destroyers they are.
Help is available. Drug, alcohol, eating disorders, and other mental health issues are addressed by caring people in treatment centers, addiction counselors’ offices, and in anonymous 12-step groups all over the world.
God is the difference-maker. I do not mean a shadowy imagination of a potentially supreme being. I am talking about God as described in the Bible. Through his Son Jesus, we have been given the source of life and love. It is freedom to pray to the Highest Power for strength.
This is a brain on prayer – calmer, comforted, complete. Yes, exactly what drugs promise and endlessly fail to deliver.
Today’s Helpful Word
John 15: 9
“I have loved you the same way the Father has loved me. So live in my love. (Jesus)
*****Comments are always welcome (see tab below) NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal 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 is yours.
– frying eggs pic by Teslacoils on rgbstock.com