I started writing today’s post last week. I wasn’t making a whole lot of sense to myself through the writing so I stopped. The trauma of the week was too much to form a coherent thought. The threads in my mind were fraying, and I didn’t know what to do. Finally, it came to me. I was supposed to start speaking about mental illness. Giving a voice to those who were voiceless. I started writing a series of what I call uncomfortable posts on Facebook. I received some support on my posts for which I am very grateful. I also received some blowback stating, in not so many words, that I was selfish. I thought about it. Yes, I do have a mental illness, an illness that society says I should be ashamed of. But, many other people do too, and they are ostracized in the world and in the Christian community. Sad, isn’t it? We can’t get support in the places we should be able to count on it because we are afraid of stigma or the wrong people knowing. So, today, I thought I would share some anecdotal evidence (Nothing medical, I promise. I’m not qualified.) of how mental illness affects me and other people like me.
This topic is starting to become a passion for me. To use my writing to inject light into the darkness. In one of my writing emails last week, the author said that writing didn’t truly become good until you discovered what your passion was. Maybe, this is mine. Anyway, as we are entering our third week of quarantine, I’ve realized that my sky is broken and my routine is shattered. In case you didn’t know, people who suffer from mental illnesses thrive on a routine, me included. It keeps the voices at bay and enables us to be functioning members of society. Think you don’t know someone with a mental illness? Think again. It’s more common than you might think.
So, as I said, things are broken right now. I’ve done my best to establish a new routine–physical fitness, spiritual study, writing, reading, and household tasks, but there’s one missing component–community. There’s no one around to encourage progress. And that makes the voices stronger. The voices that say I’m not good enough, that say no one wants me around, and that say it’s useless to even try and fight. I say that’s hogwash. But, first, you have to know your enemy and to do that, you have to be able to speak of your enemy. That’s where we fail as a society, and that’s where we fail as a church. People who are struggling with our new normal shouldn’t be bullied into bucking up or not speaking out. Being able to talk about a broken sky might be the difference between life or the end of life. If you’re one of the bullies, do you want that on your conscience? Or do you truly not care? If that is so, I feel sorry for you.
I’ve got one more thing I want to mention. Many of us who suffer from mental illness take medication, sometimes more than one. The medication mutes the symptoms, but never totally takes the voices away, takes the urge to sleep all day away, or takes the urge to not care away. It’s something I will have to deal with for the rest of my life however long that might be.
I pray for those who have the coronavirus, those who are working in essential jobs, and those who have other physical ailments. Would you do me the courtesy of praying for those of us who have mental illnesses and those who are dealing with their own broken sky during this confusing time? Thank you, and God bless you!