I’m fed up.
How’s that for an opening line of a blog? It’s true though, I’m fed up. “Well, with what?” You may ask. Quite honestly with the perceived apathy towards Mental Illness that seems to be running rampant these days; especially within the Christian Church. The one place a person should feel safe has ironically turned into a torture chamber for the burdened soul.
I tried doing some research last night when this topic was placed on my heart. Mental Illness seems to be well represented when it comes to generic research. When I tried to dig a little deeper (into the Christian realm) I found very little. Surprising? No. Sad? Yes.
I’m sad because the more I represent Mental Health the more I notice Christians suffering. Not only that but they are afraid of opening up in a Church for fear of rejection or judgment. What’s the most common thing a depressed person will hear from the people around them? “You need to just get over it.” “You’ll be fine.” “Again? Really?” Or my personal favorite…
“You have Jesus so you need to be happier.”
Yes, Jesus is my source of peace. He is the sustainer of my life and gives me the breath I breathe. Have you ever stopped to think about content of your words though? The phrases above are simply an excuse to get out of having to deal with something you know nothing about. It’s not just Christians who do this but I’m sure many others as well. Can I enlighten you on something?
According to the Barna Research Program:
18% of Americans suffer with Anxiety disorder
10% of Americans are diagnosed with Depression
70% of Pastors suffer Depression, Anxiety, and Burn Out
350,000,000 People worldwide suffer from Depression
What I’m trying to say is that “Suck it up” isn’t going to cut it anymore. Depression is a disease. It’s an illness that literally shrinks the Hippocampus of your brain. The longer you suffer from sadness or stress related anxiety the smaller it gets. Therefore making it harder to feel joy. Why do you think Serotonin is such a favored medicine amidst those battling this illness? Serotonin is the chemical released in our brains that allows us to feel joy and happiness. Too little of this chemical obviously results in overwhelming sadness brought on by events in life or simply just because.
Our struggle isn’t situational. It’s our livelihood.
I’m fed up with the stigma of silence that so many have held on to. Carlos Whittaker (a Christian blogger and musician) says, “Anxiety and Depression are the Church’s dirty little secrets.” Why? Because no one knows how to handle this. Not many people have a single clue as to how best aid someone through their suffering. The other honest truth is that not many people care to take the time to learn…Instead we’d rather watch dopey videos and share gossip about what celebrity did what this last weekend.
Meanwhile 41,000 people commit suicide in America each year
I’m literally sickened at this thought. I feel so much for people who believe the lie that they are alone. I’m angry with Christians (and even non-Christians) for not reaching out with more compassion. If we only stopped for more than two seconds to think about someone other than ourselves this world would be a much better place.
Amidst my frustration I want to make it clear that I’m not trying to attack my brothers and sisters in the Church nor anyone outside. I’m passionate about getting people to care. Apparently that’s a hard thing to do when our noses are so far stuck into the cesspool of our plethora of selfies.
While I was plundering my Facebook newsfeed for all that it was worth today I saw something. A friend took the time to express their opinion about people who use Facebook to rant about their own opinion. I’m not sure that it was aimed at me and I won’t assume it was. They said something that caught my eye though…They mentioned that they were tired of people ranting on Facebook but never doing anything about it. The word they used was…Hypocrite. What I’m about to do has been planned long before any of today’s events but it comes with a little added zing to it.
Honestly, I don’t want to be a “hypocrite”. I don’t want to scream from the rooftops without ever getting down and dirty in the streets. I happened across another friend’s gofundme account last night. I noticed that she was preparing to run a marathon but it was her cause that caught my eye. She’s running for awareness of Mental Health within the Church. I don’t know her full story so I can’t elaborate but it seems to me that she was yet another victim of the stigma. She is currently trying to raise 2,000$ for the Mental Health Grace Alliance (link is embedded). They are a Non-Profit organization seeking to educate Churches on Mental Health and to better prepare people to help sufferers such as us. She is hoping that she can raise 26$ per person (for every mile she runs).
Please know that I will very rarely ask for financial contribution on this blog. I don’t believe in monetizing what I do on here. What I do believe in though is a cause like this. People need to know about our struggle and I believe that this can be a great way to do some education.
If you would, could you check out their website, see what they’re all about, and consider supporting my friend Anna as she runs the mess out of this marathon?
You all are loved. You are not alone in this fight. I will spend my life fighting for you and with you.
We’re in this together.