YOU DON’T GET IT UNTIL YOU’VE LIVED IT
“I’m sharing a story with you that I’ve narrated to friends a number of times over the years, and I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to share it with you “Razia stated. I have been asked a few times in my life, since I have a grown up son who developed mental health issues, if there is something bad I did that warranted me the curse. One time, I didn’t answer the question immediately and took a minute or two to reflect on it. The silence was powerful. I looked peacefully at the person who asked the question and answered, “We are all human and thus we make mistakes but does that warrant a curse?” It is a myth that persons with mental health conditions or their family members went against the gods and as such were cursed resulting to the omen occurring to a once active individual.
People with mental health conditions, including my darling son, bring a distinct and visible face to their unique situations. Not everyone wears their special needs so openly. Today, more than ever, the entire world faces challenges that are reflected in each and every individual. There is more human disconnect than ever before. There is more illness than ever before. And, when I think about it, perhaps they intertwine. Physical illness, Spiritual illness, Emotional illness, Mental illness, Abuse or neglect, and each category has its own share of challenges. These illnesses and challenges don’t limit themselves to any one person, generation, gender, race or social status. They are certainly not isolated or only inclusive of the “special” needs population or community. Genetic character and chromosomal counts do not translate into major challenges in life. We all face challenges and realities we didn’t choose: abuse, neglect, drug or alcohol addiction, exploitation, illness or disease, financial loss and many other life areas of hurt, suffering and pain. These various struggles and challenges arise from heredity, society, cultural practices, emotional and/or intellectual choices, and some come from places that will forever remain a mystery to us all.
Yes, the drug and alcohol addiction that makes people like my son special can create and cause various life challenges – physically, medically and intellectually – but they also create the unique gifts, talents and beauty that my son exemplify. His special, loving heart and emotional awareness especially when he is in a sound state are beautiful, engaging and uniquely different. When supported with love, peace, understanding, communication, respect, faith and connection, our special friends and loved ones grow even more special with and in their own strength.
What if we could have a loving, positive influence and effect on everyone in our world who faces challenges and has “special” needs? Consistent, meaningful, caring love and support are positive and life changing. For all of us. So, my friends, yes, we all have our own individual and collective special needs and challenges. They are not all visible or obvious – in fact, most are not. And, we all benefit from the same, special levels of care, love and understanding that have given my son a place to flourish. For every unique, special need a person has, they also have their own beauty, strength, resilience, perspective and knowledge. Living within a collective peace and acceptance has unlimited and immeasurable benefit and grace, and is definitely special – special like each and every one of you. Razia concluded her story leaving the support group members dump folded.
Compiled by Mary Kemunto – Project Officer; Isiolo County