I have an vibrantly beautiful daughter. She is talented, spirited, creative, hardworking, organized, independent, and full of life. She is amazing. Unfortunately, most of the time, she doesn’t believe a word of it. The image she sees in her mind is not one just skewed by the jaded eyes of teen-hood, but ones far more intense and deeper wounding. Lindsey is living in a fractured reality that is distorted by mental illness.
Wow. Mental illness. That’s a word I’ve only allowed myself to say out loud to a precious few people in my life, and only in the last couple of months. They’ve been intense months and the fact of the matter is, it’s now fully impossible to deny that the ugly “M. I.” labeling words are the only ones to help shed light into a very dark place in our lives.
The only way I can describe it to people is that it’s like Lindsey is living in a glass bottle with a long narrow neck. It’s been fractured and the glass is splintered and cracked. Looking out at the world from inside the bottle makes it look like a distorted version of what it really is. Nothing she sees is “NOT” really there, it’s just not the way she sees it. It’s close, but it’s not nearly as ugly or scary as her perception of it is inside her bottle prison. She cant reach out and touch things to prove they are not what they seem. The glass prevents it. Each time she does, she gets little knicks on her fingers, they bleed, and she’s learned to be afraid to event reach out.
I cant join her in her world. I can only reach down through the neck in the bottle and try to give her comfort. Her Dad and I try to be the voice of reason in the midst of confusion and pain. The hard and painful fact is that the only way we can truly reach her is if she reaches upwards. If she reaches up to God – with God we can reach into her world as best we can – then hopefully will connect through the nuggets of words and situations that God brings us to.
And he does. Over and Over. Then there are the days, for whatever reason, it just doesn’t work. It’s a long hard truth. I’d love to say that we connect more times than we don’t, but that isn’t the case. There are long spans where we don’t connect at all. It’s terribly painful and torture for us both.
I love my daughter more than I have words to express. But it isn’t easy. I plan to share our journey with you over time. I hope you’ll join us. I have no answers, I am not a counselor… but this is life as real as it gets, unfiltered, raw, and full of the trial and errors that we have faced that have lead to us still having our daughter with us to walk this road with.
We will fight daily for her, and help her learn to hold the hand she was dealt in life, and to play the game before her called life, without having to fold. Because folding this ill hand is not an option. Period.