Mental Illness in the First Person

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The stereotypes about mental illness that our society tells us are, mostly, lies. In poem, memoir, funeral sermon, eulogy, and painting, people narrate life with mental illness through Disability Concerns’ Stories of Grace and Truth. We hope that telling these stories will promote safe dialogue about mental health issues within the body of Christ. Please take a little time to explore, learn, and have your heart opened. Feel free to send us your own story as well.Here are a few samples. Read more at Stories of Grace and Truth.

During the past year I sought anonymity while I worshiped. I wasn’t rejecting the church where I belonged, nor were they rejecting me. I wanted to be where few might know I was ill with depression, and no one would have expectations of me. I succeeded in finding anonymity—sort of. But God kept finding me . . . (Anonymous by CKH)

When my father experienced a frightening psychotic episode in 2007, our family went into collective shock. Although we all wanted to retreat into denial and have dad back to "normal,” we realized over time that his diagnosis of bipolar disorder meant that everything in his world (and much of ours) had changed. (Dad's Psychosis by Lynn Wielenga)

If there was anyone ready to embark on her college career, it was me. As I walked into the entryway of my dormitory at Calvin College, I immediately began introducing myself to my new dorm mates. Many of my friends from high school that were also attending Calvin were apprehensive about living apart from their families. I had a twinge of nervousness too, but I always kept it buried at the back of my mind. (My Journey with Anxiety by Amy Marie Toornstra)

In December 2007 my depression caused me to retire earlier from ministry in the CRCNA than I had expected or planned. I was sixty-four. My ability to function had shrunk to the point that I was no longer capable of preaching or of carrying out other important tasks. (Depression is a Dark Poison by Larry Van Essen)

I was up on a hill, tethering at twilight
The sweet-smelling grass that was neatly raked in rows.
The tractor’s tether tips were messing with all their might,
When suddenly a winsome wonder came into sight:
Under the grass, dandelions were below,
And the tether threw like feathers the dandelion snow—
Fluffy puffs, falling up—yes! Up they go,
Reflecting the sun’s shining fire-gold light. (Dandelion Snow by Laura Bokma)

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Mark, thanks for sharing this on your blog today.  Wow.  Amazing stories, all.  My heart aches for so many.  But amidst the confusion, the pain, and the sadness are glimmers of hope.  Christ's light continues to shine in darkness.  Thank you for being a vessel of His light.