“I think if you decide to love someone, you can see who they really are, even if they have problems.” –A Light Beneath Their Feet

This was a movie that involved a teenage daughter and her bipolar mother. I was filled with thoughts watching; it displayed so many facets of mental illness. Many forms of love and caring were displayed in several relationships throughout the story. It also highlighted the effects of mental illness, not just on the one diagnosed, but with everyone in relationship to that person. Furthermore, it demonstrated how far the ripple effects of these relationships go.

In this case, it impacted the daughter’s relationships with other family members, her friends (and lack of), the school, and community. There’s no doubt she suffered hardship concerning her mother’s condition. It’s also equally true that she had a big, caring heart and could see things in others that many people would miss. She was very empathetic, insightful and wise beyond her years because of the experiences with her mom.

She loved her mom, and her mom loved her. She decided to commit to love, to see all of her mom, and especially who her mom was beyond any of the effects of the mental illness. She lived the brutal and beautiful, the both/and of life with her mom. She refused to look only at the problems caused by the bipolar disorder. Instead, she decided to see with the eyes of her heart into her mom’s—and chose love time and time again.

What a difference we can make by looking with the eyes of our heart to see someone for “who they really are” and beyond the presenting problems.

Cheri Thomas

Cheri works as a Peer Support Specialist for RI in Arizona. She has experienced loss and grief which has led her to write for the masses to bring voice to those in similar situations. Cheri possesses a deep passion to share with, encourage, and inspire others on what she calls the Journey of the Heart.