Mental Illness

Caregiving: The Danger of Wishing

Wishes are something I have always been cautious of. I can’t offer one singular reason. It isn’t a fear of the supernatural, I don’t believe wishes are real. I don’t believe that by uttering the words, some force may impose good or ill upon me. I’m uncomfortable with them, nonetheless.

To talk of wishes is often to talk of the unattainable. To talk of wishes is to lose sight of what’s right in front. That, at least, is how I have come to feel about them. I will often find myself about to say, “I wish” and then stop myself. Wishes are dangerous, I tell myself.

And there is a part of me that considers them dangerous. I do fear otherwise losing sight of what is in front of me. I fear forgetting to focus on what I already have.

There is so much I could wish for.

And there is so much of the reason. Forget losing sight, I fear losing myself in wishes. If I wish upon a star for Mr. Juniper to be well again, I ignore that his lack of wellness is chronic. That his lack of wellness has roots going back decades. To think for him to become well can be achieved through a wish is to ignore what has happened to him. To wish for wellness is to deny his horrors. To wish for wellness is wipe his slate clean.

To think of wishes is to indulge in a harmful distraction. For my own mind, wishes become destructive. Wishes ignore hard work. Wishes forget hard-fought battles.

To set goals, to consider future places, those are positive. They don’t ignore the journey. Wishes. A click of sparkling shoes. A snap of fingers. Wishes negate the journey. Negate the journey and I negate Mr. Juniper’s existence. He makes it through each day. At present, making it from dawn ‘til dusk has been a treacherous journey. His journey is written across his body. Wellness won’t make that map disappear, nor should it. His story matters. To wish for wellness dictates that his illness is all I have of him. To wish for wellness dictates that his illness is all I can see in him.

And, quietly, there is a part of me that harbours another fear of wishes. That part of the mind where things go bump in the night thinks of how the world might balance itself. The Greeks had Nemesis, after all. That to wish for wellness, that to think that we had beaten ill, would come at a price.

It would be so easy to make a wish, to say I want him well. But this is his journey. Leaving wishes behind is to remember that the journey is his, no matter what the destination may be. To be his partner isn’t to dictate the path, it’s to hold his hand. To walk with him. To quietly hope.

By Juniper

Rarely to be found without herbal tea nearby. Team Unicorn. Often in pyjamas. Also: TEAM KATNISS!

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