No pictures this time; no quotes. Just truth.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Amy Winehouse.
Kurt Kobain. Asher Brown.
Adam Lanza. James Holmes.
You may know these names, you may not. The first set died from drug addiction. The second from suicide. The third set after gunning down innocent people.
And they all have something in common.
They have a neurological disease. A disorder of the brain.
It is important that we start recognizing that these diseases are real. To start treating the person and not avoiding the problem. We don’t need tougher gun laws, nor do we need to make every drug illegal. We don’t need to lock them up in prisons only to throw away the key, or call them out publicly or mock them, and we don’t need to shame their families.
What we need is compassion.
And we need to help them. Truly help them.
I want you to read the two articles I am going to link to in a minute, and I want you to comment. I want to know what you think.
Because if you think it’s not a disease, or the suffering person is at fault, or must have sinned to deserve it, or that they must not want it bad enough, or that they’re weak, you’re talking about me.
- I have PTSD (NICU/Loss of Carter, although I’ve always suffered from anxiety/depression).
- I am slightly OCD (to the point where I obsess over my fears and can’t sleep at night).
- I am addicted to sugar (and maybe caffeine) – and yes, this is an addiction and there is scientific evidence that it is possible.
So, before you pass judgement on the ‘crazy’ guy with the gun, or the ‘junkie’ that should have known better, or the person who takes their own life – please, please think about what their life (and that of their loved ones left behind), must have been like.
And, then, count your blessings. Or help someone. Or get help.
Just please, please, don’t stand by and do nothing. Or talk about it as if those that suffer from these diseases need to be banished from the earth.
Because, here’s the thing…
We are the hands and feet of Jesus.
And these people are people, too.
I’m sure some of you are going to think that I have sympathy for the wrong people; I still think that their actions are wrong, but that doesn’t make them any less lovable or worthy of my love and forgiveness.
In fact, feeling this way is what freed me. I realize now that there are people in my life that suffer from brain disorders, too, and while what they did might be wrong, they are still deserving of a Jesus-like love.
It’s what led me to forgive the 17-year-old babysitter that molested me for over a year when I was only four years old; who set it deep within my being that sex was dirty; who causes me to sometimes slip back into that scared little girl, even today, even though I know my husband loves me.
It allowed me to let go of the hatred I had for my stepmom that physically and emotionally abused me; who forced me to use tampons that first year I started my period and if I didn’t, gave me only one small pad for the day; who taught me to flinch whenever someone reaches over me from behind.
It’s freed me from the feelings of abandonment when the dad who raised me suddenly decided he didn’t want to be my dad anymore – at the same time my babies were fighting for their lives in the NICU, when I needed him most – because I was ‘too needy’.
It’s also what lets me forgive and love myself more.
For when I’m not a good wife because I can’t handle certain stresses or emotions and my husband has to work twice as hard to make our life work or pick up my slack.
For when I just can’t get out of bed because I’m so, so tired from grief or depression or stress or… something I can’t put my finger on, I just know I’m in a funky mood.
For when I need someone to come help me with the babies because it all just feels so hard.
For when, despite telling myself I’m not going to, I peel back the seal on another can of frosting and eat it by the spoonfuls, sometimes in the dark, small comfort of the pantry.
For when I’m not perfect. For when I fail. For when my brain disorder, my disease, gets the best of me.
And because I have people in my life that do this for me – that show me this compassion, this Jesus-like love – I am a survivor. I am able to continue on living, to make good of my bad, to be a voice for others.
Now, I’m not saying that every person with a brain disorder can be healed – at least not in this world. What I’m saying is this: instead of judging everyone that you think will never be as good as you, have some compassion. Walk in their shoes. Pray for them. Help them. LOVE them.
The world would be a better place.