“The 6 Blessings of Mental Illness”

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“I could not have written those six words 30 years ago, when panic episodes, anxiety disorders and Tourette’s syndrome clouded my view,” writes author Jonathan Friesen in a Huffington Post blog. “But now I see that though the fog was exceptionally dark, good things were developing, good things inside of me.”

Friesen explores how his experiences of psychological struggles have contributed to his generosity and empathy, his creativity, and his spirituality.

The 6 Blessings of Mental Illness (Huffington Post, January 27, 2015)

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4 COMMENTS

    • Starry, starry night
      Paint your palette blue and gray
      Look out on a summer’s day
      With eyes that know the darkness in my soul

      Shadows on the hills
      Sketch the trees and the daffodils
      Catch the breeze and the winter chills
      In colors on the snowy linen land

      Now I understand
      What you tried to say to me
      And how you suffered for your sanity
      And how you tried to set them free

      They would not listen, they did not know how
      Perhaps they’ll listen now

      Starry, starry night
      Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
      Swirling clouds in violet haze
      Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of china blue

      Colors changing hue
      Morning fields of amber grain
      Weathered faces lined in pain
      Are soothed beneath the artist’s loving hand

      Now I understand
      What you tried to say to me
      And how you suffered for your sanity
      And how you tried to set them free

      They would not listen, they did not know how
      Perhaps they’ll listen now

      For they could not love you
      But still your love was true
      And when no hope was left in sight
      On that starry, starry night

      You took your life, as lovers often do
      But I could’ve told you Vincent
      This world was never meant for
      One as beautiful as you

      Starry, starry night
      Portraits hung in empty halls
      Frame-less heads on nameless walls
      With eyes that watch the world and can’t forget

      Like the strangers that you’ve met
      The ragged men in ragged clothes
      The silver thorn of bloody rose
      Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow

      Now I think I know
      What you tried to say to me
      And how you suffered for your sanity
      And how you tried to set them free

      They would not listen, they’re not listening still
      Perhaps they never will

  1. Before reading your stuff, well, frankly, I used to like you Jonathan. I did. I thought you were a pretty cool dude, you know? Plenty smart, no airs, grounded, just a pretty cool, good guy. I did.

    About a half dozen sentences in, I realized, “hey what’s up? no way. this guy, this dude says stuff I want to write about, stuff I mean to say, and he says it better than I ever could. So, suddenly I get some uncomfortable clarity and realize, “no. no way. this guy’s a bum. I don’t like him. Who does he think he is? Huh? I bet he thinks he’s better than me. Oh yes he does! Look at all the good stuff he writes! He knew I wanted to write that stuff, didn’t he? The thief. Not only that, that he stole my pretty cool ideas, he writes too darn good! Man, this boy really can express himself. The bum. No sir. I don’t care for this dude. He’s trouble. Thinks he’s a hot shot.”

    Great stuff Jonathan. Really

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