Often I think they are the worst parts of toxic black mold and/or Lyme disease. I mean, the mental battles: brain fog, anxiety, depression, etc.
At least, in my opinion they’re the worst. 😉 And they mess up a lot of things in normal day to day life.
Especially communication. It’s hard to read body language when you have brain fog, hard to figure out how someone really feels about something, or what they’re really saying. It’s hard to remember things -even important thing- in your family and friend’s lives. It’s hard to remember people’s names. It’s hard to understand what’s going on around you, or remember what you were going to say in the first place. Sometimes you even say things (or not say things) that seriously hurt other people without even realizing it! It’s horrible.
Even worse, though, is when you have to deal with the irrational part of mental illness, specifically the part that can come with Lyme disease. When it causes you to be anxious, depressed, or irrationally irritable or angry, things come out of your mouth that you never would have verbalized otherwise. Eek!
Well, here comes the tricky part. There’s a fine line where on the one hand the Bible calls us to self-control, and on the other hand, where this is an illness, and we need to show ourselves some mercy. And this illness isn’t our fault. This is a very difficult question that I’m still figuring out and what will probably be the contents of a future post. But for now, let’s look at the question of whether or not we need to apologize for what our illness made us say.
For ourselves, we know that it was in part caused by our illness, and we can’t be trapped by guilt, but the thing is, other people don’t see it that way. Other people around us can’t see the intense battle in our minds. And so when we say things it isn’t easy for them to understand that it is not us, not what we would say, and not even what we believe to be true. They can’t see that and so what we say hurts them. They don’t realize that we don’t actually believe it’s true when we’re in our right mind.
So my answer would be yes. Yes, we need to apologize. We need to acknowledge to them that what we said was wrong. We need to have mercy on ourselves, and not be trapped by guilt, but we need to help those around us understand that we didn’t mean to hurt them and that even though sometimes we couldn’t help it, we are sorry that we did hurt them. Again, this is such a hard balance for ourselves, and I’ll be posting about this in the future, but for other people- yes, we need to apologize. In Numbers 15 God actually addresses unintentional sins for the Israelite community. He says,
“‘Now if you as a community unintentionally fail to keep any of these commands the Lord gave Moses— any of the Lord’s commands to you through him, from the day the Lord gave them and continuing through the generations to come— and if this is done unintentionally without the community being aware of it, then the whole community is to offer a young bull for a burnt offering as an aroma pleasing to the Lord, along with its prescribed grain offering and drink offering, and a male goat for a sin offering. The priest is to make atonement for the whole Israelite community, and they will be forgiven, for it was not intentional and they have presented to the Lord for their wrong a food offering and a sin offering. The whole Israelite community and the foreigners residing among them will be forgiven, because all the people were involved in the unintentional wrong. Numbers 15:22-26 (NIV)
Of course, since Jesus died for our sins we can simply ask forgiveness, and we don’t need to sacrifice any animals. But God had told us to be holy. And in our relationships with other people we want to make things right even if we unintentionally hurt them.
For your close friends and family who will see you in that mental place often, one other thing that can help is to talk to them before you get to that place and tell them about what you are struggling with, and how you don’t mean to hurt them. That can help in communication, understanding, and less hurt all around. That way instead of being afraid to hurt them in it, you can know that they will have your back, and that they can help you when you are in that bad place mentally.