Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2016 Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry
There was cake. This morning, a small crowd acknowledged our friend’s birthday. People with cake told those without, “It’s delicious! Here, have a piece!” We have no trouble sharing cake, even if we are tempted to tuck some away for later.
I had a good, long, frustration-ignited and exhaustion-fueled cry a few weeks ago. Life pushed hard this summer. What is exciting is that I did not go under mental health-wise despite some challenges in that area. There was a time that kind of stability seemed out of reach. Now that I’ve tasted it, I want to share.
Here, have a peace, friend.
Know your risk. Mental health is not, contrary to what some might wish, a guarantee. Mental illness is not, as the stigma goes, “losing one’s marbles.” At least 1 in 5 people in any given year struggle with the dysfunction that often accompanies a triggered, underlying mental illness. Left untreated, these diseases of the brain tend to become worse.
Know how to find help. In a suicidal crisis, call 9.1.1 or go to your emergency room. For medical care, see a psychiatrist, a doctor who specializes in brain function. He or she will prescribe medication. To learn how to manage your disease and for counseling, see a psychologist or other licensed therapist. To avoid feeling alone in your struggle, join a support group through NAMI* or another organization.
Know there is hope. Millions of people with mental illness are enjoying more normal and satisfactory lives due to receiving treatment. Mood swings, irrational thoughts, phobias, a sense of being out of control, a sense of worthlessness, or despair are, believe it or not, manageable. There is a way out. Seek professional treatment, stop self-medicating, do not beat yourself up for feeling “abnormal”, and pursue the hope that is yours for the taking.
Know God loves you. When we doubt this, I think it is generally because we feel flawed in some way, and incapable of deserving God’s attention. The voice of Truth, Jesus, teaches grace, mercy, and unfailing love as character traits of our heavenly Father. Sin separates us from him, yes, and he made a way around that because he loves us anyway. Knowing God’s love begins with believing Jesus is his one and only Son, that Jesus took punishment in our place, and that by dying and rising from the dead, Jesus became our Savior.
The peace I know despite discomfort, sadness, grief, heartbreak, stress, and depression, is that I have a foundation for mental stability. Understanding my illness and how to manage it are key to healthy functioning. Reaching out for appropriate help keeps me well. Because I have experienced loss of hope and watched it return, I understand hopelessness is temporary. All of this prevents utter despair.
Knowing God loves me changes my worldview, releases me from the past, and frees me from fear for the future. Because his love is constant, I am never alone and cannot question my worth.
This is delicious!
Here, have a peace friend, we can share.
Today’s Helpful Word
Psalm 34:8 NIV
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is one who takes refuge in him.”
COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME (see tab below)
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.
*National Alliance For Mental Illness (NAMI) is a grassroots support and education organization which exists to combat stigma and hopelessness. You can learn more at http://www.NAMI.org