Our society and world today are so very focused on allowing others to make decisions, to paint a positive spin on situations, and to not take away someone’s rights by forcing them to go against their will, yet my question is: what if they are truly harming themselves, or are incapable of helping themselves?
We do not let children run in the street, we do not leave them unattended, yet we allow people with severe mental illness to choose whether they take medications or not; we allow them to choose even if they are incapable.
Yesterday, I witnessed something that truly broke my heart. A young man I know who is diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder was conserved– meaning someone, or the state had the right to determine his care and could technically place him in the hospital if needed. Currently, he was hospitalized because he refused to take his medication, was using illegal substances, and chose to be homeless, which was causing serious damage to his physical health as well. The young man contested his conservatorship, and the judge said that, “Yes, he should be medicated, and yes, he is safer in the hospital, yet he has his rights to choose for himself, and if he chooses to be homeless, that’s his right”.
I very much value our legal system– it guarantees our basic freedoms, and we can argue that if we do not allow this gentleman to have his choice, then who is to say our choices cannot be challenged? Some want to abolish religious freedoms, calling them immoral, unethical, and even crazy, which leads me to my question: How do we determine when we restrict human rights and when we do not? What do you think?
Ultimately, I am just heartbroken that such a kind and good soul is choosing to harm himself, and there is nothing that I can do about it. What I have determined, is that what I can do is be his friend, and not abandon him because he is sick and making poor decisions, and I can let him know that I am here for him, even if I do not and will not support those decisions.
This week, do not completely reject someone because they are not living the lifestyle you choose for them. Be kind and respectful, and offer others the basic dignity you so want them to offer to you.
Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love
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