Healing in Public
If you’re just looking for help, scroll to the bottom for a list of resources~
We live in a world today that seems to value the outward appearance of permanent happiness and perfection. From photo filters that make our skin look flawless to waist trainers that make us appear to have hourglass figures, we have become really good at making the world seem that we are living in our own version of ‘The Truman Show’. Even those suffering and healing from debilitating diseases are given well-meaning suggestions and products to make their healing appear smoother and better than it may be. Social media and ‘reality’ TV has influenced and allowed us to post the most spectacular aspects of our lives and leave out the more realistic, sometimes painful parts of our daily struggles. But at what cost?
I’ve read comments, seen posts, and heard others talk about their thoughts and feelings on how others should deal with their pain. When someone is battling cancer and other debilitating illnesses, we host fundraisers, print T-shirts, car magnets, and bracelets, and tell everyone how courageous those people are. I’m not saying we shouldn’t do this; but, what if we did the same thing for people who suffer from mental illness. What if we surrounded people dealing with the invisible diseases of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc. as if they had a gaping wound instead of a paper cut? What if we break the stigma that has for so long, shamed many people into remaining silent until they felt there was nothing else to do but take their own life? What if instead of saying they are selfish or weak, we build them up? What if we show compassion and love instead of contempt and frustration?
Before I gave my testimony at my church’s annual women’s conference, you would often find me on Sunday with a smile on my face. I would hug any and everybody and answer ‘good or great’ when asked how I was doing. Sometimes, a lot of times, that answer was true. But there were many days in which it took every ounce of power I had to get up, get dressed, and get to church. And I dare not tell others that I was miserable, anxious, or just plain sad because I didn’t want to hurt my witness as a Christian (I mean how can you have depression when you’re blessed and highly favored?) Giving that testimony freed me. I didn’t feel the need to put myself on display as a super saint who never has anything wrong. If I’m ‘in a mood’ I sit at the back of the sanctuary. If someone asks me how I’m doing I answer truthfully. And I remind myself constantly that God still loves me and that what I’ve been through, what I’m going through, is so I can be a witness of what God can and will bring you through. I’m allowing myself to heal in public.
Friends, it’s time that we wrap our arms around the masses of people who struggle every day with mental illness. It’s time to put aside judgmental thoughts and behavior and listen. Below are various resources and counselors throughout Tarrant County that I’ve used or know someone who has. Most importantly, if you are struggling with mental illness remember that there is no shame in your pain, only hope for healing and recovery.
Until next time…
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255
- Balanced Vision, LLC – Siobhan Flowers-Hill, M.A., M. Ed., LPC, NCC – http://www.balanced-vision.com/
- Je’Serai Therapy Services- Tishara Jackson, Ed. D, LCDC-I – www.jeseraitherapy.com
- Family First Counseling – http://ffctexas.com/
- Mental Health America of Greater Tarrant County – http://mhatc.org/
- MHMR Tarrant County – http://www.mhmrtarrant.org/
- Tarrant Cares – http://tarrantcares.org/
- Mind Above Matter – http://mindabovematter.com/
- Lena Pope – https://www.lenapope.org/lena-pope/services/family-matters-counseling/
- Recovery Resource Council – https://recoverycouncil.org/
- The Art Station – https://www.theartstation.org/
- The Women’s Center of Tarrant County – https://www.womenscentertc.org/