Mental illness isn't something I ever thought I would face in my lifetime. Not me . . . I've got it all together! Or so I thought.
Finding resources in a rural setting for people with mental illnesses can be especially challenging. The U.S. based National Association for Rural Mental Health (NARMH) is a professional organization that serves the field of rural mental health.
During the week of June 5, 2006, a door was closed somewhere inside my mind. My eyes acted like a video camera. From time to time I talked to the screen like I was part of the scenery, yet I knew I was not an actor of any consequence. I was way back behind the last row seats, just watching.
This morning I received a “Care Page” update from a friend whose young daughter is ill with cancer. I appreciate getting the Care Page updates so that I know how people are doing and how best to pray for them. This morning my 16-year-old son had a serious rage.
This writer has been depressed three times, each lasting three to six months. Two sisters coped with post-partum depression. Dad sought counsel in the past year for depression. Now their son who is 22 years old is trying to cope with it. The son’s depression hurts the most.
Through no aspiration of my own, I’ve become a speaker, writer and advocate for mental illness victims, myself included. My all-American upbringing did little to prepare me for the silent enemy that would eventually claim my life, destroy my soul, shred my heart, and leaving me frail and vulnerable.
Our son was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in the seventh grade. I wrote this Pantoum to capture a snapshot of what he was like before he became ill as well as the initial period of his mental illness. Writing the poem was also therapeutic for me. Thank God, Tim’s mental health has improved.
I grew up with mental illness in the family. I watched my parents struggle to cope with this often-misunderstood disability. Fifty years later, we are still trying to deal with it as everyday the specter of misunderstood behavior invades our otherwise normal lives.
About a month and a half after our first daughter was born, I started down a long journey of postpartum depression. For a year I went undiagnosed, going to the doctor complaining of extreme tiredness, severe mood swings, and disinterest in daily activities.
Disability Concerns has partnered with Faith and Hope Ministries to produce a free, downloadable study series on mental illness. Let’s Talk! Breaking the Silence around Mental Illness in Our Communities of Faith will open conversations about this often hidden subject.
Shalem offers individual, couple, and family counseling from a Christian perspective and equips and supports communities, including faith communities, to better embrace the needs of people who struggle with emotional distress and/or mental illness.