It’s come around again. World Mental Health Day.
Every year, it shows up on my calendar and I realize I haven’t written anything. If I had my act together, I’d have written something weeks ago. Created a graphic. Scheduled a post.
And yet, I most obviously don’t have my act together, and here I am late in the evening, trying to wrangle the words in my head onto paper.
There is something freeing about a day where all of my newsfeed seems to speak up about mental health.
And something exhausting too.
I’m so glad we are talking about it, so relieved my children live in a world where therapy is normalizing and stigma is being removed. So unbelievably grateful to attend a church where counseling and medication is not viewed as a flaw in my faith.
And I’m so tired of being that woman who is still talking about it. Still fighting it.
It weighs me down sometimes – the feeling that I need to say something. Say something again. Say something new. Say the right thing for everyone.
At the same time, am I talking about it too much? Driving my friends and family crazy? Do they fear reaching out to check on me, because they know my response may possibly be a rant about the state of mental health assistance, or my mental health, or mental health within the church?
I’m reaching close to forty. I was eleven.
Twenty-nine years of silence, therapy, medication, hormone supplementation, herbal supplementation, diet and exercise, meditation, support groups, light box therapy, and prayer.
Twenty-nine years of waiting for the magic bullet. Twenty-nine years of doing the work.
And two solid years of very sporadic blogging about it. About Jesus and my mental health. About my story and my setbacks and my progress.
And yet, it all still boils down to this:
I have anxiety.
I have depression.
I have struggled with suicidal ideation.
I am a Jesus Follower.
I believe in The Omniscient, Omnipotent and Omnibenevolent God.
And neither my religion, nor my love of spreadsheets, nor my love for my family prevented me from battling with my mental health.
The basic story hasn’t changed. There hasn’t been a magic bullet. There have been helpful tools, improvements, growing, learning…..but no complete healing.
Oftentimes I find myself wishing for God to grant me healing. I find myself calling out with a #FixItJesus. But, while I know He could fix it, I also believe there is a plan to this pain. The plan might be this blog – I honestly don’t know. But I also know He has granted me tools – medicines, friends, support – so I can do some of the work myself.
And though I may be tired of speaking up, and tired of fighting it myself. . .I’m going to keep doing the work.
I once texted a friend with this very idea, that I was tired of the fight.
Her response was this “I feel you. Rest, but do not quit. I’ll come hold you up if you need it.”
I took a screen shot of that exchange and use it now when I feel overwhelmed with exhaustion, tired of fighting, tired of being “that” person. I doubt she knows it, but that line has been my mantra as of late.
Rest. But do not quit. I’ll come hold you up if you need it.
Sometimes it’s Jesus that holds me up when I am weary.
And sometimes it’s a person, physically on this earth, who shows me that love.
So on this Mental Health Awareness Day, I’m asking you to keep doing the work too. Not just today, but every day. Do the work for yourself, and for others who need it.
- Show up. I promise this world is better with you in it.
- Speak up. Let others know where you are struggling.
- Rest up. Be kind to yourself. It’s ok to not be a warrior every minute.
- Hold up. Support those you know are struggling, encourage them to open up, to speak to a counselor, look into medication – help them find whatever tools they need to do the work.
Rest. But do not quit.
I’ll come hold you up if you need it.