Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More Musings on Mental Health

I have been reading another blog whose writer is presently writing about healing from emotional traumas and this has been an interesting topic to reflect on. I find myself trying to understand my sister's mental health issues. I am very much the kind of person who wants to know the why, when and how of things. I like to make sense and order out of my world,and for me, this doesn't make sense. Or perhaps I should say, didn't make sense.

After all, she and i were raised in the same family. By and large our parents treated us equally. If there were any differences, they were that she was viewed as the "pretty one" and I was the "smart" one. Accordingly she was often given greater latitude in her behaviors and choices because she was pretty and presumabley didn't know better. I felt the unfairness of this growing up. I struggled with accepting the fact that I was attractive, if not perhaps pretty by the standards of my family. But I was able to grow beyond this. Writing of this now does not evoke painful memories. It is more like looking back through an old scrapbook of family vignettes. I know who I am and I know what I am. I don't look to others to form my opinion of myself. I deeply believe that we choose how we will walk our life's path. We don't always get to choose the path, but we do get to choose how we walk it.

But I think my sister does. And therein may possibly lie the root of her mental illness and why her life has been by and large one dramatically marked by ill advised choices and emotional chaos. She is validated by the opinions others have of her, by what her friends say and thing. By being sexy and desirable and able to ensnare a married man. She has many good qualities too but her life choices seem to create situations where those good qualities become diminished or trampled by the morass of suffering she ultimately burdens herself with.

Do I think it is my parent's fault that she has this illness? No, not really. We are all imperfect and doing the best we can. Is their imperfection perhaps at the root of some of her issues? Maybe. I hope that therapy brings her an ability to walk her path with confidence and with the joy that I believe we are all entitled to find in our lives.

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