Mental Illness and Jesus


So I’m crazy. 

At least that’s what society says. Of course the stigmas of depression have continued to improve as years pass by and we can see that people all around the world have it, but still, there are lot of people who don’t understand mental illness. Either because they have it and don’t know, or they just don’t have it. Which is awesome. 🙂

But for those of us who do understand and are also Christians, there is this post.

So I have mental illness all around me. As you know (hey frequent readers!) I myself have been diagnosed with depression. I’ve got anxiety, more anxiety, addiction, and ADHD hanging out in other people in my family and friends. And it’s a new learning experience every day.

First thing’s first. Jesus CAN fix anything. He totally can. Prayer works, and you should keep praying, no, matter, what. There have been plenty of times when I have been hopeless for the people around me with mental illness. And by nature of depression, I was pretty hopeless for a long time for myself. But, I have learned to not relent. God wants us to keep knocking on that door until He opens it. He desires healing – he desires peace for us. But, that doesn’t always mean that He’s going to answer in the way that we think He will. He’s going to answer in the way that is most effective for bringing us to Him.

I will tell you, being mentally ill will bring a person to Jesus. There’s not a lot more to do without actually going crazy. Trying to help someone with anxiety, depression, or ADHD will as well. And you know what? I’m thankful for that. Some of us are on meds. I used to think that they weren’t necessary. Jesus humbled me…sometimes that’s the tool he wants to use. Sometimes the meds can’t do it all and there’s some serious soul-digging that has to happen.

But through it all, Jesus is king. He knows that mental illness is just another piece of the fallen world, and the truth remains the truth – He has freedom for us. We may not know how healing will come in earthly terms, but we do know that it will come from Jesus.

Anyway…if you’re ill, or someone you know is, don’t give up. Beg for strength, mercy, healing. Keep your eyes on the goal. You may need to change the plan to get to the goal, but walk in with a shield of love, and see that healing will come, in some way. It will. So rest in that. You’re not at all alone.

Image

…because love wins.

Advertisements

Why it’s important that you’re healthy.


Today’s challenge in the 40 day challenge is to use something that God has blessed me with to bless another. I’m not a painter, so I’m not going to paint, but I really do love to write, so I’m going to do that. Hi. 

I lived a lot of my life depressed. I’m not exactly sure when I got depressed, but I know when my first real bout of depression came in. I was 16 and my whole life flopped on it’s head with breakups and deaths and cancer. And I thought I had it all together. Haha. No way man. So I basically fell apart. 

I knew that I was depressed. I got out of it. Started biking hundreds of miles per month and eating everything that could possibly help. I was in the sun probably way too much, but I made it. I’ve been aware since then that it’s something I needed to pay attention. I kind of survived college, though there were quite a few days where I thought International Finance 440 was going to be the death of me. Not sure if that was the reality or the depression, but I digress. 😉 

But, living years with depression even though I knew that I had it changed some pieces of me. Namely, my understanding of relationships. I was blessed with many healthy friends, but I also tended towards very unhealthy people. People who had enough issues that I could either a) try to fix them and feel needed and therefore not lonely, or b) know that I was going to feel okay because at least my issues were inside and no one could see them. (thanks, depression.) 

Fast forward to now. I was treated for my depression in January of 2013. It’s changed everything. I can sleep well, I can accomplish things, I can get places on time. And I can catch my brain when it goes off the deep end. But there are still those things that I need to re-learn. 

This is a time of health in my life. Attaining good balance, learning what healthy relationships look like, and mostly, demanding how I should be treated in life. There were plenty of people who manipulated and used me because I allowed them to in my life. They didn’t intend to – they were ill, but I was needed and it filled my emptiness, so I let it happen. But then all of a sudden a person (that’s me) wakes up and decides that they don’t want to live a stinky life like that anymore. 

So now here I am. People obviously aren’t going to be perfect all the time, but if you don’t demand that you treat yourself in a cherished way, and also demand that of others by not allowing them to abuse you, then it’s always going to be that way. You have to stand up for yourself. You have to know that where you are weak you cannot allow others to punch you in the heart and make you bleed. You have to know that this is your life and it’s so important that you’re healthy. You are alive, and therefore are allowed to live a beautiful, happy life. And not everyone will suck. 

Also, if you’re anyone who has someone who allows you to call them names or yell at them or immaturely deal with issues in your life and they’re not standing up for themselves, realize that you’re probably unhealthy too. And it’s time for you to get help as well. 

Here’s to being healthy, and being healthy making other people healthy. Just because other people are hurting doesn’t give them the right to hurt you. And just because you’re hurting, it doesn’t mean you can hurt other people either. 

Image

…because love wins. 

Why you need to call your mom and dad.


I spend a lot of time thinking about the end of early life compared to those around me.

Stubbed my toe? I’ll be in Heaven someday. This is okay.
Someone isn’t kind to me? They probably need a hug. Life is short.
Family needs help? Yes. Just yes. Life is short.
Someone picks on me? Doesn’t matter – the earth won’t matter at some point.
I’m tired? Still need to call my mom and dad.

When I was in the second grade, I heard three words that changed everything about me. “You have cancer.”

We weren’t a super exceptional family. We played together and argued and laughed. We ate dinner together and tried to give each other the space we needed to function. My sister and I were little – growing. Needing love. Mom and dad were older, but still needing love. We were by no means perfect.

Then cancer happened. And I changed. But so did the other three people who fought alongside me. My sister was my best friend, and she knows that, because she still is. But my mom and dad were my brain, and my comfort, and my hope.

I weighed somewhere around 50 lbs when I started my 49 weeks of chemotherapy. I was always so exhausted from the treatment that I often had a hard time waking up in the middle of the night. That paired with having fluids pumped into me all day every day made a lot of room for wet beds.

I would roll over, “Mommy, (who was sleeping on a terribly uncomfortable couch) I had an accident.” She was exhausted, but she loved me. And these are the moments when someone knows what real love is. She changed my clothes and moved my IV pole over to her bed where I went back to sleep. The nurses could have changed the bedding, but my mom always insisted upon doing it.

My dad spent the night with me on the weekends. He was strong enough to carry me, so every night he would set an alarm to wake me up to take me to the bathroom to prevent having an accident. I was frail, and sick, and he would gently wake me up, carry me into the bathroom which he kept dimly lit, and take care of me. Then he would carry me back and we’d drift back to our hospital sleep.

And that’s why you need to call your mom and dad. Because no matter what you think they did wrong, they did stuff. They took care of you, changed your diapers, worked to feed you, and honestly, kept you alive this long. That’s a lot of work.

I hate seeing my parents grow older. Cancer taught us to call each other. I talk to my mom at least 3 times each day. Because you know what? Life is supposed to be like that. We’re supposed to be obsessed with each other and want to talk to each other. Someone should know what we’re eating for lunch and it shouldn’t have to be on facebook.

And I hate seeing them grow older because I know that unlike most people my age, I won’t have to worry about if we were close enough. I’ll know that we were, because I won’t know how to move forward without my best of best friends to share each day with.

Think about it next time you’re worried about yourself before your parents. Then pick up the phone and ask them how they are.

…because love wins.

This is what depression feels like.


Wake up.
Crap. I hate this. I don’t even want to get up. 
Lay there. Try to sleep again.
Can’t sleep. This sucks. Why even get up? I hate everything anyway. 
Alarm goes off again.
Just…no. 

Deep breath.
Well, I have to. People expect it. But *sigh* nothing is good. 

The feeling sinks more in as the tired wears off and the reality that there is no energy to come shows up again. Another day, after another night where you thought you’d go to bed and wake up okay. Another morning where you cannot understand why you can’t get it together.

I don’t want to brush my teeth. 
Sit on couch. Stare out window. No thoughts.
I can’t brush my teeth.
Lays back down.
Please, don’t let anyone come and talk to me.

Mom shows up. “Time to get up!”
She makes me so mad, but okay.

I can’t do this. 

The fog grows darker and darker as you realize that you haven’t the strength to even get dressed, let alone try to put on a disposition that you care about something in the world. The fog that takes away what you do enjoy, and leaves you begging to just enjoy something again.

Get dressed from the unorganized clothes.
I’ll get to those tomorrow. 

Work.
Come on brain, concentrate. Please, just concentrate. 

Rubs eyes.
Can’t concentrate. WHY CAN’T I THINK!? 
What’s even the point? 

Tears.
Phone call to mom.
I can’t do this. 

“You can do this.”

I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t do this. 

The walls start to crash in. You feel like an idiot because nothing is wrong, but everything feels dead, teary-eyed, and purposeless. You want someone to call and check on you but you couldn’t speak with them even if they did. You’re just…exhausted.

You make it through another day, somehow.

Go home. Empty house. Feels like your heart.

Who cares about TV? Why are there always so many dishes? I hope no one calls. I have to try to get this house in order. 

Sit on couch. Exhaustion piles on thick. Tired eyes, no reason to stand up, achy body, and every negative thought ever.

You won’t be able to do this. All of your friends are going to leave. Your family won’t want to be around you. You can’t be real with these people or else you’ll just sit here like this really alone. You’re a mess; get it together. 

No dishes, no cleaning, just begging for bedtime. But knowing 7pm will always be too early. Lay there awake and in aching misery for a while more. Cry, if you’re not too tired to.

Please, God, let it be better tomorrow. 

——

I find that a lot of people have no idea what depression feels like. Oftentimes, it’s a joke. “Why don’t they just get over it?” “Why don’t you just be thankful for some things?” “Clean your room; open some blinds!” “Just call a friend.”

But I just couldn’t. No one with serious depression can. In all honesty, to have depression and not kill yourself sometime during the day is a huge feat. And it’s not pretend. It’s devastatingly real. So real that I would rather go through every day of chemotherapy and amputation instead.

People who stay alive in this aren’t a mess – they’re stronger than you’ll ever know.

So here’s to hope. If you don’t understand depression, please do. Know if your friends and family are depressed. If they’re not calling you back, it might because they need you to go to their house and help them. Clean their house until they can do it again on their own. Never tell them they’re a mess – they’ve already got all the problems evident enough.

If you do understand depression, and you’ve been there, you’re not alone. You are never, ever alone. I know how you feel, and I now, for the first time in my entire life, am not fighting the negative screaming in my head. I’m alive, and you will be too.

Just comment here if you need help. I can help you know what to do.

Don’t give up. You are not ever alone.

…because love wins.

Image

In the Hall of Fame.


ImageOften in life, as a leader of many who is also a young adult, I’ve had a lot of lash back. Not that people didn’t like what I was doing, or didn’t want to walk alongside me, but that people often times didn’t (and don’t) believe what I am saying or that why I am acting is genuine.

But the reality is, even in this broken world, some people are still honest. And some people really do still care about you. And they don’t do things half way. They are loyal. They will come in the middle of the night – probably with your favorite tray of cookies.

And they aren’t here to push you under or away.

In the midst of bombings in Boston and explosions in Texas and entire countries unaware of the outside world because of tyrants, be a sparkle. Be a light. Don’t let people who aren’t genuine make you think that you can’t be either.

It’s that kind of thing that gets you in the hall of fame.

…because love wins.