Do I really know you?

I made assumptions without experience and was comfortable I knew the truth.

If I don’t take my mental health meds people object. They tell me I have to take my meds or I won’t think right. If I take the meds and do well they say it is not me doing well, it is the meds that are doing it. They say if they took meds they would have an easy time doing well just like me. If I miss my meds and do poorly it is my fault, not the lack of meds, and I am just showing who I really am.

I don’t know if ignorance is bliss, but it certainly makes a lot of assumptions. At the bottom of https://i-m-4-u.com/ is a poem I wrote called, “I was a perfect parent. . . Until I had children.” Parents . . . perhaps you can relate. I made assumptions without experience and was comfortable I knew the truth.

And I can condemn you because I know why I acted that way in the past and so you must be acting that way for the same reason. By doing this I condemn myself; and I’ve done it countless times.

My brain is an electro-chemical machine. Around age 18 I went off to college in a different city and because I didn’t know Jesus and didn’t know mental health guidelines, I spiraled down in depression. My brain chemistry changed. So now my meds help my brain chemistry function more like God intended.

I would like to not need the meds and am working toward that goal through learning forgiveness, trusting Jesus for what I need, trusting Jesus to produce love, joy, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control in me. But my brain may be permanently damaged and I may need the meds the rest of my life.

The next time I see someone I don’t understand, may God grant me the honesty to say to myself: I don’t understand them; but I will talk to them and learn.

P.S. This was very convicting to me to write. Like Paul, I am the worst sinner I know, but thank God for Jesus who rescues me.

“Quote”-able: Wintley Phipps

It is in the quiet crucible of your personal, private sufferings that your noblest dreams are born and God’s greatest gifts are given.

During my “personal, private sufferings” I may not have wanted to read this.  All the courage that I imagine I have when not suffering abandons me in the face of real suffering.  All that I thought stood by me I realize can’t help me.  Sometimes even Jesus seems as though he has left me.

I am alone.  And I am afraid.

As I obey my best guess as to God’s will my soul aches and I search for God in my circumstance.

It is here that I decide that no one should have to go through what I am going through alone.  If I only had someone to talk to I could bear it.  I decide if I encounter anyone struggling as I am, I will help them.

And a dream is born.

My dream, forged in the late seventies and early eighties, when I had not yet decided to take meds regularly and  I had yet to welcome Christ into my heart, is being lived out now 35 years later (with Jesus and with meds).  As a Certified Peer Support Specialist I have the privilege to serve people dealing with mental illness every day.  I am doing, as Whitley Phipps says, HPLP: Helping People Live their Potential.  Or, as Jesus says, Loving others.

Am I a hero?  Not even close.  But I am privileged to serve the real Heroes;  people who fight horrific battles in their mind and in their life every day and keep on fighting.  Battling thoughts that no one should have to experience, making even the simplest daily tasks excruciatingly difficult.

Mental illness takes the most hospital beds in our country and receives the lowest per patient funding in our country of any disease.  It is projected that half of our population will experience mental illness in their lifetime.  If that is not you then it is most likely someone you love.  And it is much cheaper to pay for treatment for all who need it than to pay the costs that untreated mental illness cause: personal, family and friend suffering; lost productivity; prison cells and hospital beds.

What can we do?  Get treatment for yourself or your loved one, treat the mentally ill with the respect being a Hero deserves, and vote for funding of Mental Health in your area.

It took going "crazy" to discover what real sanity was

I am grateful to God for the mental illness He gave me.  (But I would never want to repeat it).  Looking back I was “crazier” when I was “sane” and sane now that I’m mentally ill.

Let me unpack that.

Before mental illness I wanted to be a aerospace engineer.  I wanted to impress people with how smart I was.  I wanted fame, fortune, power and pleasure.  I had bought the whole commercial-driven American media world-view.

Most of the girls in my high school graduation class wanted to be social workers it seemed.  I thought they were crazy.  Helping people seemed like a colossal, boring, unrewarding waste of time.

It was at this point that God publicly invaded my private world.  God told me I was a sinner, but I didn’t believe Him.  What I didn’t know was that I was in love with myself, looked down on everyone else, and thought the world should serve me.   That’s when God gave me mental illness.  And my life and the lies I told myself, about myself, fell with a great crash.  God humbled me.  I couldn’t get much “lower” in superficial stereo-typed status than being intermittently locked up in mental hospitals.

For the next ten years I fought God and the meds.  At the end of ten years God gave me the wisdom to take the meds.  Then He sent Bonnie, who knew and loved Jesus, to tell me Jesus loved me.  I wasn’t interested.  Then Bonnie told me that if I rejected the love of Jesus, the only thing left for me was hell.

That got my attention.

I chose to turn around and follow Jesus.

He forgave me, loved me and gave me a heart that cared about other people.  Now I am a Certified Peer Support Specialist working with others who themselves deal with mental illness.  I encourage, give hope, and care.  And I love it.  It took most of my life to discover my life’s work.  And it took going “crazy” to discover what real sanity is.