As the connection between mind, body and spirit becomes popular in conversation among Mental Health Professionals, I as an out spoken believer in Jesus Christ and Mental Health Therapist, find it extremely necessary that I take another Monday to talk about what I have been talking about since I first began combating my mental illness in 2010.
Today, however, I want to take some time to be a little more transparent than I have been because I believe that in doing so, others will be inspired to continue fighting like hell in the fight of their life.
In 2010, I was 3 stories high, crying after dealing with a bad breakup that left me miserable, lost and wanting to end my life. I had spent the last however much time, engaging in a relationship with a man who throughout the course of that relationship had contributed to me losing myself and my sense of purpose. So there I was, depressed, suicidal and struggling with anxiety. I had come up with a plan to end my life and right as I was about to start writing my final goodbyes, in walks my roommate. It was so God that she walked in, in that moment and instantly became concerned with the state in which she found me. Even to this day, I’m not quite sure if she realizes how much of God she portrayed for me in that moment. It was almost as if God was speaking to me directly through her and well 8 years later, and I thank God that I’m here to talk about it.
I thank God that I didn’t end my life that day and I thank Him that my mental illness has not gained so much control over my life since then to get me to the point being about to end it all (although I will admit that there has been a couple of times when I thought about whether or not the world and those close to me would be better off without me).
My battle with mental illness since 2010 has been rough. In fact, in going through it, I realized that I had been dealing with parts of it, since childhood. In fact, I had made something that was not normal, functional for me because it started so early in my life that I had not yet developed the knowledge to understand it and I didn’t know how to communicate it, so I thought it was just how life was.
I went on from that day in 2010 of seriously wanting to die, to being diagnosed with depression and generalize anxiety disorders. I went on a journey of exploring different medications to help me “feel normal” again, some that made me worse, and others that seemed to work a bit, for a while. Some that made me feel like I was about to have a heart attack and some that helped with one diagnosis, but made the other one peak.
I went on to begin seeing a therapist and then on to becoming one. I learned that there will be some bad days, but that one bad moment doesn’t equate to a bad day. I went through a lot that those close to me don’t know about. I had my heart broken a couple times after that and because of that first experience, I knew how to deal with it. I learned to not let any circumstance control me. I learned how to be healthy and whole and it has greatly contributed to my ability to help others become healthy and whole. Because I overcame my irregular experience, I became someone who could help others overcome their irregular experiences.
… but, out of every experience that I have had in dealing with my mental illness, the most important lesson that I feel that I have learned, is that God will never leave me nor will He forsake me. It’s so God how He shows up right when I’m about to break down. It’s so God how He gives me exactly the right words to say when I’m the one with the mic, tasked with filling people with knowledge about Jesus or mental health. It’s so God that the same anxiety I feel as I’m walking out on the platform becomes the same energy that God uses to strengthen me for the task. It’s so God how He allowed me to go through it, so that I could not only help others from my educational background, but from my experience.
I am a firm believer that we go through wilderness seasons in order to prepare us for our next assignment. In fact, I wrote a whole blog about it on my Christian Lifestyle blog http://www.heart4truthmovement.org. God will use the most unlikely circumstances to shape us for our destiny. My relationship with God works better than any medicine ever did to keep me pushing through in this fight (I’m not telling you to quit taking your medicine, I’m simply sharing how God has been a great solution for me). My relationship with God allows me to know that no matter how low I get in dealing with my mental illness, I can look high to the one who is in full control.
I know how hard it is to deal with a mental illness. I know how it can be embarrassing to talk about. I know how people don’t understand. I know how sometimes you just want to scream because everyone wants to tell you to get over it. I know what it’s like to not be okay. I know what it means to need help. I know how scary it can be to ask for help, but I a also know how helpful it can be to seek God while dealing with all of it. My peace comes from knowing that God is with me. A songwriter Candy West, once said… ” contentment is knowing that You are never unaware and no matter where I am You will always be there.” God has proven that to me time after time after time and that is where my hope comes from.
My hope for you is that you will continue to move forward, and that you will discover that your mental illness is bigger than you. Someone needs to hear your story. While the struggle is definitely sometimes real, the goal is to overcome every mental encounter.