Sitting on the bathroom floor, feeling like loneliness and hurtful words would never go away, she held the Drain-o bottle for the 2nd or 3rd time, thinking once again that the pain she was experiencing could be gone forever with just a few sips.
And then a voice reminded her of the family who loved her. The voice reminded her of the few people she trusted as friends from her church. She was reminded of the youth leaders who encouraged her and made her learn about Jesus’ love more and more. And once again, she dried up her eyes, prayed to God for strength, and put the bottle away.
I, Nikki, am so glad that my parents loved me enough to remind me of that love each day. And I’m so blessed that God used amazing leaders to stop me from doing the worst to myself those few days in Middle School. And as I got older, I realized that counseling and coping skills would be my best friend if my depression ever came back (which it has a few times here and there).
The one thing I do wish is that all the things I learned I wish others, like my uncle, could’ve known. After suffering in constant torment, but never talking about it with anyone, he took his own life when I was in college. It broke my family, but it also made us learn about mental illness more and to never feel ashamed to talk about it again.
Mental Illness is real, and it affects 1 out of 5 people. It comes in MANY different forms, which includes depression and anxiety, with many different ways of help individuals can get. And us as the Church need to realize it’s a real thing that we can’t always just “pray away.” I’m not saying prayer isn’t powerful, because it DEFINITELY is (God is bigger than ANYTHING we bring Him). But I’m also saying extra help through coping skills, counseling, diet changes, and even some medicines, may also be what’s needed to help yourself or someone you know live a better, more “normal” life! Those things could also help save a life…save your life!
This week, not 1 but 2 very famous individuals, Anthony Bourdain (chef) and Kate Spade (fashion designer) took their lives. In pictures they looked all smiles. But both struggled silently with depression and other mental health issues. I don’t know how their spiritual walk was (if they had one), but I can tell you that to reach a place where you’re thinking suicide, you need help…and it seems like they didn’t get it.
Please, PLEASE reach out for help!! Put the pride, the fear, and shame to the side and ask for help – there are those who really want to offer that to you. And Church, PLEASE reach a hand of help out to those you see are struggling. Love on others and lets start getting educated on what mental illness is all about. If a person has to take medication, encourage them for being honest with you. If someone has a counseling appointment, ask if you could give them a ride. The Stigma needs to end, and it can start with us Church!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
If you or someone you know needs help, here are a few places in ETX that can help:
- The Andrews Center
- Grace Counseling
- Magnolia Behavioral Hospital – Longview
- Pathstones Counseling Center – Longview
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