Mental Illnesses: Loving the People

I was with my friend Will. He and I decided to listen to live local music downtown Kansas City. The music was incredible! The lyrics were phenomenal.

In 2016, I was to have been married. For several reasons, I broke off the engagement officially, days before the April wedding date.

This night out was my time to smile, laugh and push into gratitude, but the lyrics of one man's song captured me. They were almost preparing me for what was to come that evening.

His lyrics made me question, "Do I need to fall once more to be able to write such raw lyrics or a good book?"

I had this thought before I received the text from my friend Jamin. I couldn't answer the phone straight away. I was listening to music and having a blast! I texted him to see if it was urgent. He asked if I were alone, then if I was driving myself home or not. I didn't know what I was preparing myself to hear as I answered I was with a friend who drove us. I went outside the venue and my best friend's brother-in-law told me, "Maria is dead."

I collapsed to my knees on the sidewalk. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't talk. I just began to hyperventilate and cry.

Something unexpected happens and we might shut down totally or in certain parts of ourselves. I broke off the engagement with one to have called my best friend then lost my true best friend. She saw me for what I wanted to be. She saw the world through such a clear and hopeful, gracious lens.

I wish to love like Maria. This is why Birdie's Travel Spa exists. She was caught up in Postpartum Psychosis; no one understood what that was or that it was even an option. Now that I battle with anxiety and passive suicidal ideation, I get it. I kind of understand feeling stuck and trying to run from an idea you wouldn't feed sobermindedly.

How do we love our friends and family with mental illnesses? Struggles? Imperfections? Needs?

1. Learn what they are going through; seek to understand; do your research

2. Be patient and selfless as long as it takes

3. Support them by asking how they are doing

4. Ask how you can help them. When they say they aren't sure, support them by helping with their daily tasks, treating them from time to time. or simply giving them quality time.

5. Tell them they are loved, they have shelter, they have people who love them and people who's lives have been changed by them.

Let it matter; understand it; make a difference.


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