Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2016 Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry
One year ago, I told you about a young addict named Tammi*, who chose to turn her life around and enter rehab. Four months later, this blog reported her progress. Since last August, Tammi’s experience has tested and grown her into the beautiful young woman she always wanted to be. I am so proud of her! To those who prayed for her, thank you.
The original expected six-month stint turned into twelve. Tammi celebrated a birthday, Christmas, and all four seasons while in the treatment center. She was challenged on relationships, standing up for herself, responsibility, consequences, and self-care. She went in believing she was worthless, and is coming out with a plan for her future.
One big issue was Tammi’s choice of friends. People who believe themselves of little value may welcome bad influences into their lives, even abusers. There are plenty of so-called friends and romance partners who are glad to fill the lonely gap in the hearts of the vulnerable. They are toxic. To Tammi, a best friend was one who was always there, regardless of negative experiences with this person.
Toxic “friends” share secrets after promising to be trustworthy, relentlessly cross healthy boundaries, disregard requests to stop, and aim to control or “fix” the one who needs them. They are unhelpful at best and likely damaging. They excuse their rude and overbearing postures with accusations of “you are too sensitive.” These types of people in Tammi’s life would threaten to get angry, leave, not speak to her for long periods, and verbally assault her if she tried to say no. Her life has been in danger in the past because of violent and otherwise abusive relationships.
By saying no, Tammi is learning to uphold her boundaries. She has discovered this changes relationships, and some end. Healthy people appreciate her strength, while those stuck in their own destructive patterns are not happy with her newfound confidence.
This week, she is going home.
She is facing possibly running into toxic people from her past. Old temptations will pop up into her mind in stressful moments. She no longer will have the cocoon of safety found in rehabs.
However, by anticipating all this, she has already established a support network ready to greet her in her hometown. A church knows she’s coming and that she has decided to attend services there. Tammi plans to join a group of young people her age in that church, and find a Bible Study in her area. A therapist and psychiatrist have her on their dockets, also.
You see why I am so proud of her? Tammi is courageous to have admitted she needed help, bold to have followed through with that, and strong to have stayed in treatment when she could have left at any time. She is powerful, and it shows in the wisdom with which she approaches home.
Happy Graduation, Tammi! You inspire us all.
Other articles about Tammi’s fight:
*not her real name
Comments are always welcome (see tab below) 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 is yours.