I heard a story today that made me want to weep.
A mother of three grown children, and grandparent to one beautiful baby, successfully committed suicide last week. She had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder at some point in her life and had never successfully found a therapeutic and/or medicinal approach that worked. Over time, she became addicted to pills and attempted numerous times to overdose. Each attempt resulted in a 30-day stint in a recovery program, the positive effects of which never stuck around for long.
This story made my heart ache for her and her family. It made me ponder what more could have been done to help. Why couldn't she get help for longer than 30 days? Was her family supportive? Did they have the energy to be supportive? Did she have an advocate to fight for effective treatment of her bipolar disorder?
I don't know what more could have been done to help this woman. What I do know is that I want to contribute to overhauling how society typically responds to addiction.
I see my contribution including the following two things: lessening, if not eliminating, judgment; and providing support to the best of my ability. This woman and every other person suffering from addiction are just as human as I am. I choose to empathize with their life circumstances and/or choices that may have gotten them into a difficult spot. And I want to connect with those that I love that are suffering with addiction, not chastise or belittle them.
Rethinking our own thought patterns and approach to those fighting addiction is something each of us can do today, do right now. We can offer our ear, our shoulder, our respect, and our curiosity and understanding vs our judgement. I know if I were to fall prey to addiction tomorrow, that's what I would want.
Be open to what comes.