There is something that weighs on my thoughts tonight. A reality that I have experienced, seen, witnessed in the lives of those I love, in the grit and dirt of this world. Something I have clenched my teeth at and wiped my eyes against, praying for understanding. It is a subject more sensitive and tender to the touch than a raw, exposed nerve with opinions and judgments on many sides. But there is only one side I want to discuss in this post.
Do you have a minute for me tell a little about what haunts me? Can I talk to you about the invisible, the hidden, the judged? Will you listen, read and understand with no photos or illustrations to make it entertaining? We have missed those whose struggles are different than ours and we have left them alone in the dark. We have downplayed the battles that are found only in the depths of someone, because they seem less real, less bad, less everything. They are not, they are simply less photographable.
Friends, depression is real, anxiety is real, panic attacks are real, bipolar is real, chronic fatigue is real, insomnia, attachment disorders, mental & emotional breakdowns (just to name a few) are real. Just because someone’s veins are not gushing blood, does not mean that they are not breaking. Just because their body looks whole and well does not mean it is not rebelling against life. Some sicknesses can not be snap shotted.
We have to stop judging & start listening to each other. These issues are everyday and overwhelming illnesses, whether physical, mental, emotional or spiritual, they are real. Whether out of our control or brought on by our choices, once they are here, they can not be ignored or hidden or laughed away.
When someone has a broken leg, we don’t brush it off and demand they just suck it up & carry on with life like they always have- “Get out there and be a good human being”. Maybe they were reckless and are at fault or maybe they were totally wise & it happened anyway…the point is, it happened and now it has to be handled with care. It’s just the same with all the struggles that happen inside a person, in their mind and emotions and hormones and joints and muscles and thinking.
When someone is battling an internal fight, things are going to change just as if it were external. A persons start point and stop point, the maximum and the minimum are going to shift for some time. Thriving and succeeding is going to look a little different. And that is okay. Be gentle. It is going to be a long road & possibly life long, so relax and buckle up for the ride.
Acknowledging the reality of an issue does not mean we give up hope and just say “Well this is what it is so might as well not even try”! I mean, does the man with prosthetic legs win races, does the deaf woman become miss america, does Helen Keller learn to speak, Nick Vujicic learn to swim, Beethoven create masterpieces? YES YES & YES! But it was hard! Harder than we can imagine. So lets not be so stupid as to say “This is nothing, it isn’t a real problem, just get over it.” It has to be noticed and cared about before any healing can come.
Who can cure cancer without first recognizing that it is cancer? Who can learn to run with prosthetic legs if they don’t admit they need them?! If we duck and dodge the fact that these hard to explain weaknesses in each other are there and can feel debilitating, we won’t even know how to help each other. If we judge one another based on our own personal experiences, we will NEVER be of any benefit to another human soul. A small step for one person may be a leap for someone else, a minor setback for one may be a devastating blow for another. Find out what is real in the life of the person beside you and then maybe we can offer real help.
BE GENTLE WITH EACH OTHER. That is my point. There are many points that can be made about this issue, but this is the only one I am trying to make here. JUST BE GENTLE WITH EACH OTHER.