The most powerful of what grievances I hold against myself is my past failure to come to terms with my severe mental illness. The problem I found in discussing this with another is that they do not fully comprehend the damage I have created in others lives, most importantly in my wife and children's lives. I have come to terms with my mental illness, yet I am unable to shake the self deprecation over it.
If nothing else, from the experiences of my life, I have developed an innate sense of how to approach a fellow mentally ill person. I have a strong level of sensitivity, and empathy for those who are struggling with diseases of the mind. I also have found myself able to help a fellow travelers to shed the cloak of shame, isolation and denigration that our society lays upon those who have been effectively branded with the with the label of mental illness.
These and other experiences are difficult to another convey as it was this time. I am told either that mental illness is a farce or that people like me appear to be quite fine. As usual, the person I shared with came across with that I seem to be a better person for it, which is true. Yet they just do not seem to be able to connect beyond that unless they themselves or a family member are so challenged. the last lesson I have learned is that there must first be hope, for without hope the process of healing cannot and will not begin.
I have a simple prayer that I say every night.
Grandfather, give me the strength to travel another day's journey, show me the path to follow and the strength to do your works.
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