Share Your Story. I’ll Go First.
I struggle with depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. I love Jesus, serve Him wholeheartedly, and I still struggle with my mental health. There, I said it.
How did that make you feel? If you’ve struggled with mental health issues then you probably let your shoulders release a little, let your breath deepen, and maybe even shed a tear. If you haven’t then it was probably uncomfortable and confusing.
And that’s okay.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned through the years is that if you haven’t struggled with mental health yourself it’s almost impossible for you to understand, and I don’t fault you for that.
Today is “Bell Let’s Talk” day in Canada. It’s a day set aside by Bell to raise awareness of mental health issues and to raise funds for mental health initiatives. What it’s really doing, in my opinion, is normalizing speaking up about our struggles and I’m so grateful. There was a time in my life that a day like this would have thrown open windows to sunlight I didn’t know existed.
If this is that day for you then I pray the sun shines bright on your face and fills you with the hope that tomorrow can be better.
Between my husband and myself, I think we’ve witnessed every possible reaction that mental health issues can bring. So, while I say that I don’t fault you for not understanding our struggles, I’ll be honest and say that I do find fault if you don’t attempt to learn enough to be able to react to people who are weary with kindness and empathy.
You don’t have to understand, but you also don’t have to add to the pain with the wrong words and reactions. Think about it this way, if you have a friend with diabetes would you make them feel like their health struggles may have been caused by something they have done? Would you pass off their pain as “not that big of a deal”? Would you look down on them for seeking medical attention?
No? Then why would you treat someone with an insulin chemical imbalance differently than someone with a serotonin chemical imbalance?
In the past, I have been made to feel like I need to hide in the shadows. My husband has had his own struggles weaponized and used against him (yay, ministry). The church can truly be one of the loneliest places on earth.
So, instead of normalizing hiding and silence in the church, let us normalize openness, breakthrough, and healing together! I’m grateful for Bell opening the conversation, but the Church should be continuing the conversation all year long. #churchletstalk. Normalize this hashtag.
Share your story, I went first.
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