Did you know that ….
- Almost 1 in 5 adults in the United States live with mental illness
- In 2016 that ratio represented approximately 44.7 million people that are at least 18 years old
- 44.7 million = 18.3% of adult population
- The highest prevalence of mental illness involves young adults ages 18-25
Did you realize that so many people were living among you who deal with some sort of mental illness? Mental illness can range from mild to severe. It can be mental, emotional, or behavioral in nature. Examples include anxiety, compulsions, fear, depression to name a few. These people include your neighbors, your family, your coworkers, your friends. That person may very well be you. As a matter of fact, I realized that person was me.
I always viewed myself as a positive person. You know, the one who always tried to look at the glass half full. Regularly telling people that everything was going to be okay. It was crazy because I was also one who found myself worrying a lot. How does that make any sense?
I soon learned how critical it is to have balance in our minds and emotions. And that this balance may not always be an easy task. It can sometimes feel like an all out war going on inside of our being. I came to a point recently in my life where I met the giant called depression. I definitely learned that it was more than having a bad day.
As some of you may know (and for those of you who do not), I decided to do one of the boldest things I had ever done in my life. I chose to be obedient to the call of God on my life and left my full time career as a registered nurse. I knew that God was calling me to help others who needed some help moving towards their divine purpose as a life coach and mentor. To encourage those who didn’t have it all together. Those who may have made some bad choices. And those who would be considered the underdog. I know all too well about all of these aspects of life. Talk about a step of faith!
I knew God wanted to use everything that I had experienced in my life – trials and triumphs to work for His glory and to help others along the way. In Romans 8:28 it says…
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose. (King James Version)
Another version says it this way…
So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose. (The Passion Translation)
Well, when I took that leap of faith I felt as though my life started to spiral downwards. I honestly had the nerve to ask God where He was. After all, He placed this vision and desire in me. I knew it without a doubt in my entire being. I just could not understand what was happening. But can I tell you that as I sit here and write this, I can say that God was there with me the whole time.
As a result of things not going as I planned, I started to get very discouraged. I started listening to all the negative things that were being said around me. Sometimes by even those closest to me. Things like, “did you really hear from God? Did you make a mistake?” Not to mention all the self regret and condemnation. I had never been so depressed in my life. I wanted to be alone in a dark room and cry. All the time.
And all the while, all I could think was….how am I supposed to encourage others when I am so depressed at this time. I even had someone very close to me say what a strong person I was and how I knew how to pray to get over this “funk” I was in. They could not understand why I couldn’t simply snap out of it. Neither did I. I didn’t want to hear how strong I was in that moment. I wanted to be held.
By the grace of God, I eventually found my mind and soul being renewed. It was not necessarily easy, but I had to be intentional about it. I started going back to church more regularly. During that time of depression I started isolating myself and it is one of the worst things we can do during these times. I began to read the life giving words in the Bible once again. I looked for scriptures related to our mind and emotions. The book of Psalms became food for my weary soul. I learned to overcome my shame and reached out for help from trustworthy people.
People do not always understand what you go through if you suffer from any type of mental illness. It may relate to your emotions, mind, or behaviors or a combination of them. I want you to know that you are not alone. God wants you to know that He sees you. You enough to Him. If you let Him in, He will give you victory over these hurdles i your life. It may not happen immediately, but there is nothing impossible for God.
He has also has placed people around you that will help along the way. They may not always even be the ones you would expect either. But most of all, I want you to never be ashamed. You are one of millions of people who are suffering. And if you do not suffer from any of the things mentioned, please be mindful of those who do. Give an encouraging word, do not judge, and show mercy. Our God gives each of us grace and mercy everyday of our lives.
If you found this post encouraging, please share. And please let me know your thoughts on the subject. Be blessed!