Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2015 Nancy Virden
Three months ago, an original article introduced you to Tammi, an addict who selected to enter a treatment center. You can see that story here: http://bit.ly/1M90sV0. I promised to let you know how she is progressing.
Scared at first, she moved into a large home with at least two dozen strangers like herself. She had little time to worry about it though, because immediately her assignments were to clean, cook her own meals, attend counseling and groups, and clean some more. She told me of her exhaustion at the end of her first few days!
One of the priorities in treatment is to teach responsibility, so after a few weeks, a puppy became Tammi’s assignment. This little dog acted temperamental and he was nice one minute and then not at all. After a few more weeks and no change, the puppy received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder! Who knew? He has been a more content and stable doggie since he went on veterinary meds.
First priority on her professional caretaker’s agenda was of course Tammi’s addictions. Surprising perhaps to some, recovery entails more than just removing a substance and lifestyle. Tammi had to face why she was willing to cause pain for her family members, friends, and destroy her life for instant pleasures. I believe many self-destructive people do not believe they are worth saving. Tammi was one of those, and it’s great to hear her voice and self-descriptive language changing.
Determined to continue her healthier lifestyle when she gets home, her sense of worth is growing and becoming more pronounced each week. She is learning she does not deserve the harm others were doing to her, and that she is valuable enough to practice self-care. I hear laughter and even giggles over the phone. She shares her excitement over a trip to the mall and a sale on boots. Happier, she’s also more mature than at the beginning of this year.
Not all has been a straight course. She has had to deal with a few upsetting relationships in the treatment center. Instead of allowing those incidents to destroy her mental health, she has been bold enough to walk away, leaving other people to their temper tantrums and mean behavior.
In addition to developing inner strength, she is walking, planning, and budgeting. She’s discovered food allergies and is knocking those ingredients out of her diet. Maybe that seems an obvious decision, but for Tammi who did not believe she matters, it is a big step toward emotional health.
In some ways, I am sure she is doing better than many people on the outside who proudly declare they do not have serious problems!
And that’s the beauty of Tammi’s story. A damaged girl further damaged herself and allowed others to do so. She blindly made choices that brought more misery on those around her. However, Tammi finally admitted she needed help. With positive input and prayers from a few sources, she took a mad dash toward potential triumph and is reaching her goals.
Any one of us can do the same. Please keep praying for Tammi.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.
-pictures from Qualitystockphotos.com