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.
Pathways to Promise is an interfaith technical assistance and resource center which offers liturgical and educational materials, program models, and networking information to promote a caring ministry with people with mental illnesses and their families.