Clarity for 2017
It’s a new year. Another 365ish days around the Earth for us. I still have a few more days left before it’s officially a new year for me but hey, I’ll jump on the bandwagon.
If you’re looking for this to be an uplifting post about how today is the day to start new, make resolutions, get your life back on track…stop reading. It’s not that. Here’s the deal…you can do that any day you want. January 1st, March 13th, heck December 30th. You don’t need a holiday to determine when you want to ‘do better’. But enough about that.
I thanked a friend today about the work she does as a counselor and told her that one of my goals this year is to erase the stigma of mental illness, especially in the African American community, and in particular, in the church. This is my first step towards that so let me give you this little nugget:
Please stop assuming that everyone is jumping up and down about making a ‘fresh start’. For some people, myself included, a change in the year doesn’t mean that much if I’m still trying to deal with the hurts and losses I’ve experienced in the past several months. For some people, processing grief and frustration is quick. Not so much for everyone. Stop putting dates on other people’s healing.
Let me clarify this for you a little more. People with mental illness do not want to have these struggles. We don’t wake up every morning and say, ‘I want to worry about every single thing I possibly can’, ‘I want to stay in bed all day and cry’. That’s not how it works. And please know, we work very hard to play nice, ‘do the work’, and exist among everyone who ‘seems’ to be doing great. But it takes work- hard work. And a lot of prayer.
And about the prayer thing – I don’t throw that word around lightly. I prayed my way out of a suicidal and homicidal state, right to my psychiatrist’s office back in 2010. I pray daily to keep my sanity. And I know that God hears them and answers them because I’m here. I pray that others around me don’t judge me or those dealing with what I’m dealing with.
Now that I’ve gotten all of that off my chest remember this – someone you know and love is thankful that they are seeing another day. But they’re also working through their daily struggle with a mental illness. So instead of judging them, or telling them what they should be doing – listen and pray for them.
Until next time…