“Never give up on someone with a mental illness. When “I” is replaced by “We”, illness becomes wellness.” ― Shannon L. Alder
Today is going to be a rough day for me. Last night I learned that someone I love made his journey to the next place. He was way too young to have made the journey, but his life here was tormented and I am hopeful that at least he may now be at peace. That said, grief is a human emotion, and he will be missed. I just hope that wherever we go from here, he knows that he was loved.
Mental illness is just that, an illness. It carries such a terrible stigma that makes it hard to discuss. We hide it from the world, burying it like a box of shame and regret, hoping that the “normal” people won’t discover it and judge us. The healthcare system is unable or unwilling to help with so many. Individuals with these terrible ailments are forced to rely on their family, or even worse, survive on their own in a world that makes no sense to them.
Can you imagine being ashamed of an illness? When you find out someone is sick, you usually run to their side. We fix them meals, run errands for them and sit by their bedside. We secretly cry for them. We pray for them. We do anything they ask us to do. Most people with a mental illness are afraid or embarrassed to ask for that same help. As if they have done this to themselves, afraid of being judged, they hide the truth from the world. They suffer in silence, separating themselves from the world around them. Crouching in dark corners hoping it will get better, until they just give up. Mental illness scares us. Lets be honest, we don’t understand it, so we avoid anyone afflicted. We don’t know how to help, so we act like it isn’t there.
If you have never experienced depression or anxiety, I envy you. From the inside of depression, the world outside is dark and scary. Finding joy is a dream and getting out of bed in the morning can be a daunting task. Just sitting up and putting my feet on the floor were sometimes nearly impossible. But I was lucky. I found help. My doctors, my friends and my family were all there to help. They carried me through the dark days until I was able to see some light again. I found my way out of the tunnel, but not everyone is that lucky. Not everyone finds that light again. Not every case can be treated. Not everyone is able to find help.
Today, I am praying for Nathan. I hope that he has found peace in the next place that he could not find here. I hope that his mind is clear again. I hope that Ryan met him as he entered, and welcomed to that beautiful place God has created for us. I hope he is happy.
I am also praying for all those effected by his death. As I said, grief is a strong human emotion. There are people I love who are deep in grief today. As they plan to say goodbye, I hope they know how much they are loved. I hope they feel God’s presence. I hope they know that He is catching their tears and holding them close.