It’s World Mental Health Day. And my husband is out of town with work.
He texted me this afternoon, with a standard “All good there?”
I replied: “All good. I’m a little wobbly today, but we are all ok.”
Seven seconds later my phone rings. “Why are you wobbly today?” I immediately tell him that I don’t know, and then correct myself. I do know. It’s because it’s World Mental Health Day and I feel the need to write something, but everything I try to write comes out as something I’ve said before.
“Write it anyway.” He says. “What you are saying is worth repeating. It’s important. Say it again.”
I wonder sometimes what it is like to be so unbelievably logical and even-keeled….
But he is right. The sharing of our stories, of any kind really, is worth repeating for the ones that need to hear it again.
The reassurances we offer by coming along beside those in active struggle, with words of hope and understanding, cannot be measured….a hand squeeze, and a simple “I’ve been there. It gets better.”
The knowledge that we are not alone in our darkness ignites a tiny spark. It may be a small and distant lighthouse on a far-off shore, but the pinprick of light is visible. And real.
It is this way with all stories – stories of new motherhood, of parenting toddlers, of aging parents, of troublesome teens. Of workplace frustration, of heartache, of loss, of divorce, of marriage.
All of our stories are important to share, because of the power they have to help others find that light.
It’s been right at a year since I started speaking up about my illnesses to more than the smallest handful of people. I did it because I wanted others, particularly within the church, to know that they were not alone. Some days, it’s been weird and awkward and terrifying honestly. Hi there, relatives and ex-coworkers and my son’s preschool teacher and people I knew from my childhood that now know SO MUCH about me and my brain!!
But I truly hope that it has been helpful to someone, somewhere.
I know, however, that it has been helpful to me. To get it all out there, to not live with the hidden shame. But specifically helpful due to the number of people who have reached out to me this past year to tell me “Hey. That’s the same with me. I’ve had those thoughts. I feel that way sometimes.”
And so in an effort to help others know that they aren’t alone, I’ve found myself less alone, with more support and encouragement than I thought possible.
And still it bears repeating, for those who may need to hear it today, or need something to hold on to tomorrow:
I have anxiety and depression.
I am a Jesus Follower.
I believe in treating my illness in a variety of ways: therapy, medication, support, diet and exercise, love….and Jesus.
I am 100% certain that I am worthy, and lovely, and loved by God – and that my illness doesn’t change that.
I am even more certain that the same is true for you.
You are not alone. You are worthy, and lovely, and loved by God.