How to Love the Mentally Disturbed

First, understand that everyone is mentally disturbed in some unique way. Some people are just more mentally disturbed than others.

Some people are more mentally disturbing than others, too.

There are those people who engage in behavior out in society that causes them to be a menace or a threat toward others. Some of these individuals are consuming illegal drugs and may literally be very dangerous to society as a whole. Like the man on meth and heroine who was randomly pointing a firearm at women in a parking lot in my area not too long ago.

That is mentally and emotionally disturbing. Anytime a gun is pointing at someone, it’s a disturbing situation.

Some people keep their mental health issues suppressed and subjected to what happens behind the walls of their homes. They do not allow outsiders in, unless they have orchestrated and planned a visit to put their best foot forward. I know these things. I married into a family such as this when I was only nineteen years old.

Some mentally disturbed people can appear quite normal at first, or on the surface, but it isn’t until you get to know them a little better that you begin to understand what lies beneath, or behind, their behavior. What we see on the surface is usually only the tip of the iceberg. Some families have unsolved murder mysteries in them. Some families have unresolved dysfunctions in them as well.

Some people use spirituality as a way to ease their mental disturbances. Some people use spirituality as a way to express their emotional turmoil and their fears. Some people will find out what might scare or terrify another person, and then deliberately try to instill fear in them as a means of wielding power and control over those they encounter or a situation they are in. Like the mentally disturbed man who stayed in my home for eight months who thought he was both Satan and the Father of Jesus. He was mentally disturbed, but also very balanced in his own unique way.

I grew to care about him and his partner who was closer to my age as lost and confused children in grown people’s bodies. I learned to listen with my heart, instead of with my initial fears. Schizophrenia and autism is a unique combination of mental health issues. I watched them self-medicate with legalized cannabis and wondered if it was really “helping” or possibly exacerbating the young man’s condition. I am unable to live with these people for my own sense of sanity, but that does not mean that I have no empathy for them.

I have dealt with mentally disturbed, and mentally disturbing, people my entire life.

I don’t enjoy being mentally disturbed by other people when I am having a reasonable and good experience and I am feeling emotionally balanced, safe and secure, and someone comes along and disturbs it, or even takes it away completely because they have a different idea of what is enjoyable or acceptable.

I enjoy being around people who I find friendly, positive, energetic, and fairly balanced in their intellectual and emotional maturity…and in their wisdom and ability to carry on a conversation about topics I find fascinating. Even if they look different from the average “norm;” even if they understand their world from a different set of eyes than my own.

Philosophy, psychology, theories, theology, politics, folklore, mythology, literature, culture, cults, alchemy, spirituality, sexuality, poetry, dance, music, plants, animals, criminology, film, theater, family dysfunctions, human behavior, growth of character, characters and comedy are all fascinating subjects of conversation. Discussing books, and intellectual knowledge is stimulating to me. How we label ourselves is fascinating to me.

Most days, I feel like I am on a quest for finding the right people to connect with…and then determining who I should disconnect from after discovering what I need to know or need to share. If I can leave a person laughing, or at least encouraged and better than how I found them, then I consider my day successful.

I love to hear true stories of irony and unexplained phenomena…I love to hear other people’s true stories, because it helps me understand my own experiences. I love to apply logic to my reasoning and prove my personal theories to be true…and it gives me great joy to see light-bulb moments get turned on in other people’s eyes for the positive, and to see their face light up with a smile or with laughter as they talk about their futures.

Everyone’s life is the most important life to them, because it is the only life they are given. Their experience of life is the only one they get, whether their life turns out like they imagined it would, or not.

Satan and his sweetheart have plans for a home and a child someday. That is a beautiful dream. However, Satan has a hard time being in society as a functioning adult and may have some difficulty holding down a job, so that is sad. He has a beautiful mind. I know these things, because I’ve had many conversations with him. He wants to turn our world back into a time when people healed hurts and stinky feet with lavender flowers, and men ate meat and defended their realms from invaders such as Hobos and Hobo Spiders. Satan is archaic and classic.

The mind of an adult child is a beautiful thing. It needs to be protected by society, not further damaged by non-empathetic fuck-tards! I wish I could save Satan from his fears, and from his inability to sleep because of the invisible flies that keep him awake buzzing in the window pane, but I can’t. I have my own fears that keep me awake at night. They are not invisible flies. They are more real than that.

They involve my children and their futures. They involve my earth and its future. They involve my state, my country, and my own state of mind and its future.

Everyone’s family is the most important family to them, because it is the only family they are given, whether their parents, siblings or children turn out like they expected or not. Some people were given really crappy families with really crappy issues. Some people only think they were, but they may not know how blessed they really were in comparison to other time periods and other cultures.

Everyone’s safety bubble is the most important bubble they have, because it is the only bubble they are given. Some people are given tiny bubbles, some people are given no bubbles at all, or their bubbles have been popped by one too many pin-pricks of reality. Or, they have been damaged by one too many pinheads with prick issues.

I learned an important lesson in loving the mentally disturbed. They have been traumatized by circumstances beyond comprehension to the average person.They cannot process what has been told to them, and done to them, sometimes from words and events that happened to them before they were even born.

It might be very rare to see their face light up with a genuine smile or with genuine laughter. They might be so disturbed by what they’ve experienced that it is hard for them to feel at ease enough to let down their defense mechanisms.

Many mentally disturbed individuals are extremely insecure and afraid of rejection. They may have had a lifetime of feeling abused or bullied and their emotional maturity may have become stunted at a very young age.

To them, their brains are wired in such a way to make sense out of an often scary, lonely, and confusing world. To the mentally balanced, who are able to function better in a mainstream social system, it can be difficult to be patient and understanding with those who struggle to find direction and security, especially when they are riddled with the effects of an imbalance of power and control.

I know many mentally disturbed people who are beautiful, talented, highly intelligent, funny, and who wouldn’t hurt a fly on purpose. I have had to separate myself from some of them, because they are also very temperamental, too demanding, too emotionally volatile, too emotionally draining for me, too argumentative, and they tend not to listen to the voice of logic and reasoning. Sometimes, they expect empathy but have been so emotionally damaged that they do not seem to have any to give to others who have also been damaged.

Some people who appear mentally balanced and functional on the surface, have hidden issues of hypocrisy and double standards. They may not be as balanced as they appear at first, but they are balanced enough to know that they are not the center of the entire universe, just the center of their own. They hold down jobs, pay their bills, surround themselves with family and friends, and love to be the center of attention as often as they can get to be.

I have confronted some of these people in my life who appear “normal”, but who will speak as if they are an authority on subjects they obviously know nothing about. They are Alpha personalities and will often butt into conversations that are not even theirs. They have issues with social boundaries, chemical use and abuse, and safety bubbles. I have an ability to continue to love them, even though I believe they are mentally disturbing.

One day an intelligent, highly talented friend of mine told me he had tried cocaine for the first time and he liked the experience. That was disturbing.

“What are you thinking? Cocaine can kill you!” I told him.

One of his friends, who by all appearances seems to be a “normal” functioning and respected citizen working in a respectable social field of education, butted into the conversation and got into my face.

“Fuck you, Lorra! No it won’t! Cocaine will not kill you!” she yelled. That was mentally disturbing.

“Yes it can!” I insisted.

I thought, “What an idiot! What flip-tard idiots! They are both older than me, and should know better than to mess around with highly addictive drugs that can destroy a person’s life! Legalized drugs are destructive enough!”

I care about these two people. I consider them friends and would hate to see anything senseless destroy their lives or cause their deaths. But, I can’t control what they believe or do, since they are adults and I have no authority over them. My one friend has some heart issues already, so if she indulges in certain substances, like cocaine or alcohol, she might be flirting with death.

I thought back to the psychology class I tool while working on my Associate’s Degree several years ago. I noticed that back in the more ignorant days of trying to find a magical cure-all, Freud and other mental and physical health leaders used cocaine as a treatment for all kinds of ailments. When it was found to be more detrimental than beneficial to people’s health, it was largely discontinued and eventually considered an illegal substance for the purpose of keeping it out of the hands of such idiots and individuals with addictive personalities that might kill themselves with it.

I thought about the history of other illicit drugs during the Victorian times when the sale of opium, laudanum, cocaine and morphine was legal and widely used by society as a form of unregulated self-medication. The Victorians only “appeared” modest and socially appropriate, but there was definitely a dark side to that time period.

I raised my hand in class. The instructor acknowledged me.

“These guys back then must have thought cocaine was a miracle drug!” I exclaimed.

She stopped. She looked right at me. Her eyes got big.

“It is!” she retorted. Then, she carried on with her class, leaving me with my mouth hitting my desk. Wow. Just wow. I was dumbfounded.

I got an “A,” or a “B,” in her class. But, I’ve been suspicious of certain teacher’s drug use in their private lives ever since. I guess, just because a teacher “should” be an example of physical and mental health, doesn’t mean they are! I guess, I can think of one too many people in the educational field, as well as in the legal field, who have admitted to being “pro-drugs,” or who I personally witnessed taking them…both legal and illegal. That is mentally disturbing.

I didn’t use anything worse than some alcohol to self-medicate and escape from this crazy, screwed-up world where we are allowed to pick our poisons, pick our gurus, pick our guides, and pick our leaders…or pick our noses, and then suffer the consequences.

I was first damaged when I was only four or five years old. My parents gave me too much wine during the Passover dinner while I was surrounded by my familiar family. It was a warm and euphoric feeling. I have been chasing that feeling again ever since.

I was told that I have a beautiful mind that should be protected and preserved. It’s not my fault that my body kept getting older. It’s not my fault that I was forced to grow up and become vulnerable to men, to leaders, to bosses, to admonitions, to criticism, and to people who are in positions of power to take away my happiness.

I am not mentally ill, but I am mentally disturbed by those who are not mentally healthy.

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Lorrance Herring

Lorrance Herring

Oregon born, Bardass Poet, Bat-Shit Crazy Stand-Up Comedian, Entertaining Social Activist, Mamadadaist Artist of 8 kids, Weirdo Wonder Woman, Narc Researcher