Forgiveness does not change the past, but it can enlarge the future. -Paul Boese
The following post is written by an artist, a wife, a mother with a young child. I know who she is and can only imagine how painful writing these words must have been for her. I am friends with her socially, and for what it is worth, I would never label her with any of the terms she uses to self label.
I truly believe that forgiveness must begin from within, and you must forgive yourself first. I wish this for her, that she can find the place from within where she can begin the long journey toward forgiveness.
She asked to keep her post anonymous, and I am respecting her request. Here is her story:
But this event which still brings tears to my eyes was the catalyst for a new way of life for me. I live with the realization that I will never have that clean, fresh, start I desire. Awareness is difficult and I do slip up often, the past even now keeps slapping me in the face. I hope I am a more forgiving person and I do my best to laugh often and count my blessings every day."
Can any of you relate to what she has written? Have any of you let your interpretation of the circumstances of your life or the symptoms of your disease "snap you?"
Recently, I had a conversation with my psychiatrist. I told him that when I felt ashamed or embarrassed, a terrible vision came into my mind. A gun at my head, firing away. Every little indiscretion caused this horrifying vision. And I was embarressed to address it, because it seemed so very... well, melodramatic.
Here is what my psychiatrist said to me:
"Tell that vision that it does not belong to you." (Would I ever think someone should be shot and killed for mailing a package out late? Um. No.) "Tell that vision that it has no power over you, and that it isn't real, and that no one is allowed to hurt Chelise in this way, so it might as well go away."
In the moment, I was frustrated. This was his advice? No pill? No hypnotherapy? No EMDR? Just tell it to go away?
And yet - I had to do something, and so I tried what he suggested, and though it is not a perfect response - for the most part 80% of the time, it works. My imaginary assassin scrambles away before it can even get its gun out.
I hate advice. This is my issue with a lot of my psychiatric interventions. A suggestion is made, and I am like "oh right! Like that is going to work!" But some stubborn part of me stays put, listens, and then whispers in my ear "let's give this a try," at exactly the moment in which I need it.
My Dear Sweet friend who wrote the post above: I have lost friends, tortured family, ended relationships and been left in relationships - all because of my disease. It happens. It's part and parcel of the misunderstanding of these brain disorders.
So before I take a new breath each day, before I step out the door, before I can attempt to be fully alive, again - I have to both start and finish with forgiveness.
It's not perfect. I'm not perfect. But I'll take imperfect forgiveness any day, over the alternatives. I wish the same for you. If I could reach out and offer you a handful of imperfect forgiveness, I would do so. Lacking that, know that I'll hold it for you, for safekeeping, in my heart.
Here is to wishing that everyone reading this blog today takes a moment to forgive. Forgive someone else. Forgive your circumstances. Forgive some higher power who dealt you really sh*tty cards.