Watching a mentally ill person fall apart must be one of the most dreadful experiences in the world. I sometimes think of it as finding that one little flaw in a skirt hem. That one thread that hangs down and brushes your leg and makes it itch. And when you discover the source of the annoyance, you fixate on it until finally, you pull the thread and it just keeps coming and coming until the entire hem is unravelled and the skirt is ruined.
Seeing a person’s life come unravelled like that is distressing. A person who is bright, talented, loving and wonderful, will find the flaw and then make that so much a part of who they are that they stop seeing all the wonderful things that they are. Focused only on that flaw, they begin to despair of being perfect (because, everyone wants to be perfect) and then they get angry with themselves for not being perfect. Then, they pull until all the other wonderful things that they are start unravelling. Suddenly, you are left with a person you don’t recognize. The anger and bitterness of being imperfect is just too much and they find that they have to destroy themselves completely.
We all know that a hem can be put back into a skirt. That skirt doesn’t have to be thrown away. Sometimes it takes a skill that we don’t have to do it, but it can be done. A mentally ill person can be put back together, too. It takes patience and love and skill to help a person put themselves back together, but just like that skirt, they don’t need to be thrown away, nor do they need to throw away their own lives. They just need a needle and thread, some good light and maybe a more experienced hand to help them.
I am grateful for my family and friends’ support during our time of trial.