The Scourge of Mental Illness
I grew up with mental illness in the family. I watched my parents struggle to cope with this often-misunderstood disability. Fifty years later, we are still trying to deal with it as everyday the specter of misunderstood behavior invades our otherwise normal lives. The 'why' questions still invade our otherwise serene, uncomplicated existence.
I believe that our discomfort and our pain is minimal compared to the person trying to cope with being 'different'. I believe we should do all we can to communicate with them. We need to listen to the voices of those who are afflicted with a mental illness. I believe we need to learn to support them.
It is often extremely difficult for us to associate or deal with mental illness but the rewards that come from showing a little love or concern speak for themselves. In reaching out to or touching someone, we become Jesus’ healing hands.
Love one another is the great command that our Lord Jesus gave us. That includes those who are sometimes difficult to love, those bound in the shackles of Schizophrenia, Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Just do it. (Originally published in Breaking Barriers, Issue 83, Fall 2009.)