Cozette, Levi, Ebiri, Rachel, Liz, Sarah, Ruth, Judy, Mark, Patty, Aaron, Abraham, Isaac Lydia, Joe, Matt, Andy, Mum, Dad, Morgan, Jeremy, Briee, Mike, Donnie, Heather, Donnie and Heather’s kids, Kenshiro, Esther, Elizabeth, Brett, Nicole, TJ, Ashley, Kelly, Kelly’s whole family, and surely more who don’t come to mind at the top of my head.
Who are these people? I’d give their last names, but I don’t know if they all want their full names on the Internet. These are people who stuck by me. Stephen, Aaron. Those are two more whom I just remembered. Eric, Melissa, Michelle. They belong on the list as well. Annette should also be there. These people have seen me in the darkest moments of my illness. They have seen the depths of depression and rage. They have witnessed just how scary my illness got and quite often. Lauren. She’s another one. As well as Jeff who goes by Fred and his wife, Katie. Joe is another. (A different Joe than I meant the first time).
I cannot thank the LORD enough for these people. Some of them have parted ways with me. They had to. My illness was too dark for it to be safe for them. I threatened people’s lives, including many on this list. One person on this list is a veteran of war, which I used to hurt him in my rage. Many of these people have I physically struck in anger, even as an adult.
It is hard to mention just how deep my rage went. It is hard to remember that I have threatened to kill people. I’d love for my past to just disappear and be replaced with happier memories. However, I am thankful for what God has done with all this. God gave me a very long list of people who have been wonderful to me and supported me through the worst of everything.
I have moved from being a dangerous wreck into being someone whom God uses on a daily basis to make others’ lives better. I’ve moved to being someone who can hold down a job and perform well. Jerald. I have been changed from my past to a safe person. It is no longer dangerous to be around me. It has become safe and beneficial. I give God all the glory for this radical change. Mark.
I want to send a message to those of you who struggle with hurting people around you and have lost many friends. Probably half of the people I mentioned here don’t talk to me anymore. Many of these people are very angry and may be angry or even afraid of me for the rest of my life. That hurts, but I am still thankful for them. They stuck by me for a time, which I needed back then. I want you to know that I have many friends who are not on this list because they have had the good fortune to never have seen me being dangerous. Holly and her parents, especially Bill. Since Holly’s family comes to mind, I remember a time that I threatened them and they made some calls to ensure that I got treatment. What a move! They could have pressed charges because assault is a big deal, even if there is no physical violence, but instead they called to make sure I got treatment. During the meeting I had with people after that, I talked with a Peer Support Specialist. I had no idea what that was. I don’t remember anything from that conversation except that this man told me he had Bipolar Disorder and was working a job changing people’s lives. He was not a slave to his illness, but rather a man living a full life. I promised to myself that I would do the same.
So why did I name all these people? I believe in what I call the “Anti-Grudge”. I will never allow myself to get over the fact that these people have been wonderful to me. I will never “Forgive” them their wonderful treatment of me. Many of these people ultimately had to break ties with me, but I will never let go of the fact that they were wonderful to me for a time. I will pray for them and love them, even when I have to do this from a distance. I will never forget any of these people, by the grace of God.
No matter what you have done or suffered, God can do miracles through you. He can change the world. I encourage all who read this to never let go of the good things and the people who have been good to them. Ruth, Ray. Don. More and more people coming to mind. If you don’t have as long a list, I encourage you to meditate and ask God to bring people to your mind. I bet you’ll be surprised.
If I had the time, I would list the wonderful things that each of these people have done for me. To be honest, I didn’t expect such a long list before I wrote it. There are many people missing from this list because they have not seen me at my worst. There are others missing from the list because it is too long for every one of them to come to mind as I write this. May the LORD, our God be praised for the glorious work he has done in this world, both in my life and in the lives of others.