Look Deeper by Craig Wagner

At times my vision is shallow and short-sighted as I see my loved-one cope with the challenges we label mental illness.
At times through shallow eyes I see a future stunted, my loved-one’s possibilities not fully realized.
But then I look deeper.
There I see unnecessary expectations created by me, held by me, and fully releasable by
There I see good in today’s actualities, somewhat hidden perhaps, but free of the
………..prejudgment of my favored possibilities.

At times through shallow eyes I see pain unrelenting in the chaos of the unexpected and
But then I look deeper.
There I see and coalesce my strength, knowing my loved-one manages pain and
………..difficulties much more acute than my own.
There I see comfort in controlling what I can control, influencing what I can influence. ………..Knowing that can be enough.
There I see a stream of moments: each an opportunity to find contentment in loving,
……Even if those be the odd loves of allowing the one I cherish to painfully fall,
……Or keeping myself at a painful distance from the one I long to hold near.

At times through shallow eyes I see guilt deserved for the mistakes I made that may have
contributed to my loved-one’s pain.
But then I look deeper.
There I see the natural messiness of life, where mistakes will invariably be made.
There I see my ability to forgive myself for nothing more than garden-variety human frailty.
There I see my resolve to do the best I know how to do now, regardless of what has ………..happened in the past.

At times through shallow eyes I see my loved-one as irreparably broken.
But then I look deeper.
There I see my loved-one whole and intact, worthy and good, sharing in my desire for
There I see a hope in a therapy not yet tried, in a kind word not yet spoken, in an hour ………..not yet arrived.
There I see a beauty, not broken, not diminished, not missing, but shrouded in a scrim of

We can work together to pierce this scrim if and only if we recognize the stunning value of what lies beneath it.

I choose to look deeper.
I choose to help my loved-one and others similarly struggling.

I choose to help, not to compensate for their weakness, but to supplement their strengths.
I choose to help, not to bend them to my ideas of recovery, but to liberate them to express the ………..profound goodness they are.
I choose to help, not because I must, but because I can.

I choose to look deeper because I choose to recognize the human treasure trove at stake.

I ask, “What do you choose?”


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Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.