Yesterday I addressed the ignorance and stigma surrounding any kind of Mental Illness in my blog post 3 Ways to Help/Harm Someone with Mental Illness. We spent a good amount of time addressing some of the mainstream issues that often tag along with the stigma, such as: How can we best help those who deal with mental illness? Is there really a “right” thing to say to someone who is depressed? Why is helping someone who is mentally ill so frustrating? If you haven’t read it go check it out and then pop back over here. It’s ok…I’ll wait for you.
Today I want to address the mentally ill that I took up for yesterday. The way that the title is worded may sound like I’m about to lay down some serious accusations. Far from it. I want to instead lay down some serious truth; and when I say truth, I mean encouragement. I know that I’m about to violate one of my “no-no’s” from yesterdays blog but I feel as though this is something that needs to be said. No one else is saying it. I don’t see many individuals uttering these words and then actually treating mentally ill people the way that they should be treated. I’m once again going to stick up and speak out for (and this time to) my fellow sufferers of mental illness. Ready?
You’re doing it wrong.
Bear with me, please. Don’t assume I mean that in a negative sense because what I’m about to clarify should hopefully be uplifting. When I say “doing it wrong”, I mean that we’re believing the wrong things. We’re falling prey to our enemies because we feel as though we’re too weak to stand up against them. We’re going about “the road to recovery” all wrong.
I want you to drown out all of the outside factors that weigh on your heart/mind right now. Forget about your bills, your family, your ex, your whatever for a moment and just focus on you. Examine what I’m about to say and try to believe it. I know it will be difficult. There will be many voices screaming out against every word I write but ignore them. Just give me a chance…As someone who has walked in mental illness’ shoes, take my word for what it’s worth…I hope you’re encouraged…Here we go.
There are so many exterior circumstances that inflict damage upon our psyches. Everyone’s story is a different manifestation of birth, destruction, re-birth, and death. Everyone of us goes through some kind of pain in our life. How we handle that pain ultimately defines the road we take. It is not my place to judge whether a situation in your life should have done less damage than it did. I don’t know your heart and I don’t know what you hold dear. Suffice it to say that despite whatever you’ve been through, these next few points are vitally important to you beginning (or continuing) your walk on the road to recovery. These are things you absolutely have to believe about yourself…
1.) You are valuable
Too often we hear the screams of a silent world penetrating our ear drums with words like, “You’ll never be good enough” or “What do you have to offer that Sally down the street doesn’t have?”. Mental illness is in all reality a civil war waged between you and your mind. It’s almost as if your mind has become the rogue traitor and its end goal is to kill you. When you think about mental illness I want you to envision a battle raging. One of the proverbial bullets that strikes us often and hard is this lie that we will never be good enough. Believe it or not, it’s just not true. God doesn’t say that you’ll never be good enough. In fact, he says the exact opposite…Don’t take my word for it, though. Listen to His…
“So God created man in his own image.” Genesis 1:27
This verse doesn’t meant that we all look like God. He didn’t create humans that represented his physical features. Rather, He gave us a soul. When it says that we were “created in His image” it bears this unbelievable picture of worth and value in God’s eyes. We were created in God’s eyes and He loves us immeasurably. Even if the world says you will never be worthy, God says the exact opposite. You are immensely valuable and your own soul is indelibly unique. If you can start believing this, you’ve made a huge “first step”. I encourage you to fight for this kind of perspective.
2.) You are loved
This doesn’t always resonate in our minds either. A common thread within depression is loneliness. We feel that if pain comes from people then why be around people? Oddly enough we still desire love and affection from the very same souls that we seek to isolate ourselves from. To be honest, it’s a coping mechanism; a plea for help. This cold, damp cave of loneliness lends itself to the lie of being unlovable. We feel that we’ve screwed everything up and that there’s nothing we can do to merit anyone’s compassion. All we hear are cliche sayings and we never feel the genuine love that we desire. I want to show you another verse that will hopefully serve to combat this lie…
“The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look. He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed.
We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him. He was beaten, he was tortured, but he didn’t say a word. Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, he took it all in silence.” Isaiah 53:2-7
Christ loves you. He doesn’t see you for what you’ve done but for who He made you to be. He was slaughtered for our sake but raised up from the dead, crushing sin, death, and hell in one fell swoop. He loves you. He loves you. He loves you.
3.) You are not alone
If you don’t happen to believe anything up above and are still hanging on to pain, I encourage you to just try and accept this final truth. You truly are not alone. There are thousands of people going through the same loss, isolation, and suffering that you are. You don’t have to go at this by yourself. Should I even mention that the Bible calls Jesus “a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief”? Did you know that? Do you know the implications of what that means? It means that He knows your pain and He has suffered it with you and for you. You’re not alone even if you feel like it.
As I’m sure you can tell, my worldview is based on a biblical foundation. I understand that not everyone operates with this kind of thinking. With that said, I obviously believe that this is truth and that it is life changing. It shapes me everyday. It encourages me when I am weak. I find rest and shelter underneath the arms of Christ’s love. I know that you can too. Even if you choose to not believe my reasoning behind my points, I pray that you will still believe that you are valuable, loved, and not alone. I am here for you. This blog is a safe place, a refuge. Please don’t walk this path alone.
My best wishes and love to you all.