What I Know

I know what post-partum depression feels like. Fortunately, it was brief and I had support, but there’s a real disconnect there. What should be a time of joy is devoid of emotion and desire.

I know what anxiety feels like. It’s over-planning so that nothing goes wrong. It’s over-thinking so that every last possibility is thought through. It’s dreading doing fun things away from home because it’s way outside your comfort zone and your normal area of control.

I know what it is to experience panic attacks, irritable bowel syndrome, and stress/tension-induced migraines. They are painful, and nauseating, and frustrating, and debilitating, and frustrating, and confusing. (I noticed the repeat of the word “frustrating” in editing and decided it would be more appropriate to leave it!)

I know the thoughts that go through your mind when the doctor runs all the tests and the blood work is fine, but he leaves the decision about medicating up to you.

I know how important it feels to seem to have it all together.

I know how it feels when someone you care about attempts suicide. It makes you wonder what you could have done to help them and what they could have done to help themselves. It infuriates you that they didn’t consider how you would feel if they died. It scares you to no end that they might succeed next time—because there’s often a next time. And then it makes you ashamed that you got mad at them, because you know it’s much bigger than rational thought can account for.

I also know the damage that is done from the idea that praying and reading the Bible and having more faith will fix everything. Don’t get me wrong, my Jesus can fix anything. But, we are in these mortal bodies, and, sometimes with mortality comes difficulty. We know so much more now about science and medicine than we used to, which why we see so many more babies make it out of the NICU and cancers in remission, for example. But, often, emotional challenges and mental illness are treated like they’re a spiritual issue or something people should just get over. Many of these challenges can be managed with spiritual guidance and natural remedies, which are great resources, but I am so very proud of my friends and others who seek counseling/psychiatric care to support them. And I can’t speak highly enough of those who have utilized the gifting and wisdom of their doctors and the medication they prescribe to aid them in managing these difficulties.

The recent suicides of celebrities have brought this issue back into the spotlight, but let’s not forget that there are people around us struggling every single day just to keep going one more day. And they’ll be there next week and next month when it’s not in the headlines. Let’s do our part to remove the stigma of mental illness.

 

Romans 8:31-39, NLT

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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About heart, soul & strength

God's Child; Dewayne's Wife; Mom to 2 College Boys & 1 Middle School Boy; Shannon & Becky's Sister; David & Sherry's Daughter; Friend; Pastoral Admin Asst; Women's Bible Study Teacher; Freelance Editor and Writer

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