This is the first of a blog series on mental health. It is written by CFCer, Amy Roush. Amy speaks from the experience of her own mental health journey: and desires to share with those God puts in her path, that no one should ever have to face life alone. Amy is the author of the book, Crossing The Borderline Journaling a Journey from Madness and Mayhem to Faith and Forgiveness.
Do you have a minute? I know you’re busy, but I need your permission to have an uncomfortable conversation with you.
How are you? You responded quickly with, “I’m fine. Things are good. How are you?” I say that all the time too, but I’m not sure you heard what I meant to say. What I was asking is, how are you really doing?
I’ve noticed things have been different lately. It seems like you might be trying to make life look good all the time, and you don’t have to do that with me.
I know you’re aware I spent decades trying to fix everything by myself. Then, after admission to a locked unit, I was misdiagnosed with Bipolar II (manic depression) and correctly diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, chronic depression, PTDS, among other things.
I tried to hide it for several years before I started trying to get the help I needed. Even then, it was hard to stop playing the games that helped me survive. I didn’t know how messed up my coping skills were as a mental health patient. Please understand that these were things I hid for decades to protect myself from those who didn’t understand. I didn’t know better; even though the world thought I should.
In the beginning, I hated the process because it came with shame and humiliation. Now I’m determined to spread the word that it’s okay not to be okay, and everyone needs help sometimes.
People take meds for migraines and cardiac conditions. I take meds for anxiety and depression; and unless God chooses to heal me completely, His healing comes through doctors and meds, possibly for the rest of my life. I do well on the medication and don’t cope as well without them. I do still deal with those who think it’s all in my head.
I do want to know how you’re really doing; and if you’re not ready to talk yet, it’s okay. I understand. I am here anytime you want to talk, and it will stay between us.
Sure, I’ll answer any question.
How did I know? Well, the other day when we were talking you scratched an itch on your arm. I saw the scars. They look a lot like mine. I’ve been there. You don’t have to do this alone. It’s okay to need help. We all do sometimes.
Thank you for trusting me enough to have this conversation. I know it’s “socially acceptable” to talk about issues of mental health. Everyone from athletes to actors, politicians, scholars, and even royals speak of these things. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s hard to talk about what’s going on when it affects you or someone you love.
Oh, and don’t forget you are some of God’s very best work. He created you to do more than survive this life. God wants you to thrive. He loves you, and I do too. I’m here when you need to talk and. Let’s talk more soon.
If you need someone to talk to, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We can connect you with someone to pray with you or connect you with a mental health professional. If you prefer to remain anonymous The National Suicide Prevention LIfeline number is 800-273-8255, or you can reach the Crisis Text line by texting home to the short code 741741.To contact Amy directly, at email@example.com