10. If you had to choose just one of your mental health conditions which I would experience for a day. Which one would you choose, and why?
My counselor once offered to help one of my children understand my reality; I begged him not to. I worked so hard for them not to experience what happened to me. However, if I knew it was for only one day and then it would be over, I thought that perhaps the one thing that I would want to have them experience is the complete and total feeling of helplessness that I feel when my body collapses without my permission. I would choose this feeling because it is so hard to explain to someone that feels confident and able to deal with life's challenges. I would not want this to justify my behavior but would hope that they would understand how difficult change is when you feel so helpless. I think there is real opportunity to understand one another when you have felt what they have felt.
I appreciate the compassion my family of choice shows to me. I appreciate their willingness to help out without understanding why I need help. I appreciate the extra miles each one traveled while growing up. I am thankful that my mental illness has not shown up in any of their lives. Occasionally, I wish they could truly understand. However, I suspect my husband and children wished that I could understand their frustration and challenges of living with me. My sometimes unexplainable withdrawal, extreme reactions, and other manifestations of PTSD. I believe this is the miracle of Jesus Christ. He does understand exactly how I feel and how they feel. In Gethsemane, Christ suffered our suffering; He felt what we felt. He is the only one that truly understands perfectly how each one of us feels.
I don't want to cop out on this question. But the bottom line of some of my frustration is knowing that what I am feeling is not just for a day. A life time of struggles that I measure progress in years not in weeks and months. But I also believe that each of my children have their own challenges that they probably wished I could experience for a day that I might understand them. I use art to explore my feelings. Occasionally, I hit on something that clicks for those around me. I remember the day I was working on a mix media piece that I planned to take to my next counseling session. My son looked over my shoulder and exclaimed, "Hey Mom, that is how you think." He didn't need an explanation. Sometimes my children understand more than I do.
|How I think and my son knew it.|
|How I feel sometimes.|