“Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens.” I Thess 5:16-18 (MSG) What? I’m supposed to go around with a happy face pasted on? Days when our loved ones’ mental illness is causing great distress for everyone, it is hard to even think about cheerful. Hallucinations, violent outburst, or
One of my first questions when our son was returning home after a suicide attempt was, “How do we ‘watch’’ him?” I didn’t get the answer I wanted: “You don’t.”
I was prepared to have a 24-hour watch, and do it all myself if I had to. That was neither possible nor practical. In the emotion of the moment, I wasn’t thinking; I was reacting. I didn’t, couldn’t, think about myself.
Why? The human response when bad things happen – death, loss of job, disease, mental illness. Our inquiring minds go into hyper-drive seeking an explanation for the unexplainable.
The day my son called and told me about his attempted suicide, followed by telling me that he had been diagnosed with a mental illness, I tried to maintain a “sunny attitude.” Part of the charade was so he wouldn’t get angry and hang up. And, part was due to not knowing what else to do. It was three days before I cried.