Allowing Yourself to Love and Be Loved
The diagnosis of mental illness is akin to being hit by a bulldozer. But you survive and work to carry on--to recover. It can be hard, while in the midst of things, to forget the people who have stood by our side. The people who we might have hurt when we were sick.
I enjoy reading posts that mention the authors personal experience--it makes it real. It makes the person real. So, let me summarize twenty-six years:
Diagnosed at 12, I have been blessed with a family who never left my side, despite mental health professionals telling them to put me 'in a home.' I am their child and they could not fathom doing this. As I grew up and addiction engulfed my life, they pulled away out of necessity, quite literally waiting for me to die. I have two siblings and they needed my parents just as much as I did.
They could have given up. Many parent's do...but they waited. Waited for me to hit bottom, and bottom I did, before reclaiming my life. When I was sick, I did not understand the sacrifices they made. I did not recognize the effect my illness had on their lives, my siblings--the family dynamic. I felt angry. Alone. Unloved. Like the black sheep.
As I became better, I realized that I owe much of my life, the fact my heart is beating as I write these words, to them. I am able to express my feelings to them now, but not without guilt.
Working Through the Guilt and Embracing Those Who Love You
When you are sick you not yourself. Your chemistry is out of whack. You may have done things that hurt those who love you. Things that keep you up at night. Perhaps, you do not know where to begin. Perhaps, it feels impossible to separate your behavior when ill to the person you are now. And that's normal. That takes time.
A suggestion? I have learned in addiction support groups how important it is to write letters, to talk to the people that you feel you hurt. Sit down with a pen. Just start writing. Write until your hands ache. It's healing. Invite these people, on an individual basis (as your experience with them are different than with the others), and tell them you love them. You appreciate them. Apologize if you feel the need. Doing this is not making an excuse for your behaviour, it is simply explaining it.
Allow Yourself to be Loved and to Love Other People
Sometimes, mental illness can spur feelings that we cannot be loved. This is incorrect. The very things that we feel make us feel less than, are those that make us human. Try to reach out. Try to understand that people all need help from time to time.
Let people in, talk about how you feel, and create communication. Create the ability to connect with those who love you and you, in return, them.
Jeanne, N. (2012, January 12). Allowing Yourself to Love and Be Loved, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, July 30 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2012/01/allowing-yourself-to-love-and-be-loved