Love is Love
Love is love is love. This weekend I spent time with old, old friends. You know, the ones that have seen every shade and color of your flawed human existence? I grew up with these people and a few of them I haven't seen or spoken to in at least 15 years. It wasn't a matter of losing touch, it was a matter of mental illness getting between people who love each other.
This weekend reminded me of two things: Firstly, if we let it, mental illness will drive a wedge between even the most important of relationships. Secondly, that love really is eternal.
Recently I had a riveting conversation with someone about the stigma around mental illness. How when you come clean about your struggles, people shun you, push you away. I think if that's true, it's because they don't know how to handle your suffering and need guidance on how best to proceed. More often than not, people are fearful around mental illness, not judgmental of it. But what I think is more important to call out is that when you are struggling with mental illness, you play into the stigma too! We push those who love us away, we hide, we crawl into our dark corners and don't often ask for the help we need. That's the rub--all our friends need to do is ask "What do you need from me?" And all we need to do is actually tell them. Why is that so much harder than it needs to be? Intimacy's a bitch sometimes.
My PTSD battle put a wedge between me and a lot of people I love and loved. But as they say with true, true friends, decades can go by and when you see them it feels like a day hasn't even passed. That's reassuring to me. If we can be courageous enough to reach out, love does have the power and capacity to bridge the gap, heal the divide and bring people back into one another's lives.