An Itch

I’ve had this itch for a while now-a thought, a longing that won’t leave the back of my mind, that keeps resurfacing.

I want this thing so badly-for me, for my husband, for people who battle the same battles as my husband, for the wives/husbands/sisters/brothers/parents/friends who watch these horrific battles unfold and can do almost nothing about it.

I want the church to be a place of freedom, peace, rest and comfort for those with mental illness and their families. Jesus has always already been this place. I want His bride-the Church- to be this place, also.

I want to be a part of it. Or start it.

But I don’t know how. I don’t know exactly what it would look like. I don’t know where to start, or who to talk to, or if anyone would come. I don’t know if others want this. I don’t know if I could do it. I don’t know if I could start, lead, or participate well in this. I don’t know if I’m emotionally strong enough to handle it.

But I do know that there are so many more people than we realize who are fighting this war. I do know that God’s heart hurts for this even more than mine does. I do know I want to see Biblical, healing, supportive ministry in this area. I do know I’m not qualified. Sometimes I know that I’m called to this. But other times I don’t know that at all.

I don’t know a lot, but what I do know keeps growing in strength, crowding out the uncertainty, the fear, the insecurity.

But I still don’t know.

Robin

rw

I know this is a weird photo choice, but it just captures how fun he was and how much fun people had with him. photo from http://www.today.com

Celebrities’ deaths don’t usually affect me too much. My world and theirs are so far removed from each other, that other than a passing regretful thought, my world remains unchanged.

But Robin Williams is another story. Besides the fact that I grew up on his silliness and characters and watched Mrs. Doubtfire more times than I could ever possibly count, he left this world in a way that has become my greatest fear.

I desperately want to hug his wife. I want to hold her and cry with her and pray with her. I hurt so much for her, knowing the heartache that she has experienced even before his death.

There have been more than a few references on social media to some less-than-grace-filled opinions about depression-based suicide (insights along the lines of Christians Shouldn’t Have Depression, You Have Depression Because You Don’t Have Enough Faith, Pray Harder, Get Over It, etc.).

I would imagine that many of those opinions were shared by people who have never for one moment experienced depression themselves, nor watched a husband, wife, mother, father, brother, sister, or friend fight.so.hard. against this evil darkness and the lies with which it attacks. And this made me mad.

My first reactions were thoughts like, Who are they to weigh in on this? They have no effing idea what they’re talking about! They have no right to speak into this-they don’t know what it’s like!

But after my husband (Braveheart himself) intercepted a rather bitter, resentful facebook post I almost made, I recevied a text from a friend. A text of sweet support, letting me know that all this news coverage had brought us to mind and she was thinking of us. And in flooded all the experiences, people, and relationships we have that are so opposite of the opinions I mentioned earlier.

Yes, there are ignorant motormouths who will spout stupidly about hurts and illnesses they know nothing about.
But there are also parents who will attend conferences about mental illness because they want to be able to offer support.
There are parents who will take calls at any time of day because they have known this darkness themselves and can offer solidarity and comfort.
There are pastors who will lovingly counsel and pray you through dark moments in your marriage brought on by this illness.
There are life group members/friends who will listen, seek to understand, and refuse to stand in judgment, praying for and beside you instead of preaching at you.
There are best friends who will hold all your dark secrets and love you even more deeply because of them.
There are friends at church and at work who know just by looking at you when things are not well, and give you permission to have a crappy day.
There are co-workers who will let you vent over happy hour margaritas and not shy away from the hard topics.
There are other people silently suffering who find hope in the sharing of your own struggles, and who will stand with you in solidarity and hope because no one is alone in this.
There are blessings to be found despite this illness, and there are loving, grace-filled, gentle people to offer friendship and support. There are people who need your own love, gentleness, and grace. It’s my prayer that I can offer that. It’s my prayer that we all can.

I only post when it’s bad. Sorry.

Fuck.this.shit.

Spoiler alert: I’m a little drunk right now, because it’s been THAT kind of day. I normally eat a fairly (okay-semi) vegan diet (plus a little cheese and a donut here and there), but today I have eaten a Snickers bar, Flaming Hot Cheetos, two quesadillas, and Famous Amos cookies.

I’m on a bender.

This is what happens when my Mother in Law falsely accuses my husband for the UPTEENTH time of stealing a bunch of money, on a day he already feels like shit. This is what I do when I watch my husband struggle with the will to live while his own father won’t PICK UP THE DAMN PHONE to offer encouragement. No, that’s beneath him. He delegates that job to my husband’s cousin. Because his father can’t be bothered. This is also what happens when my brother in law calls my husband’s anguish “dramatic” and makes it clear that his brother’s depression is inconvenient for him. Fuck him.

Did I mention I’m a bit drunk? Honestly, I’m impressed that this is as articulate as it is.

Thank the Lord for Pinot Noir, Cabernet, vending machines,  and Gossip Girl on Netflix. I’m all about product placement. Without these distractions, I’d be a mess.

Oh. Wait.

For those who actually read this, if you are a father, BE A FATHER. Unconditionally. No matter how uncomfortable it makes you or how inconvenient it may be. If someone in your family has any form of mental illness, just LOVE THEM. Do not add to the pain. Please. I plead with you.

Happy Monday, Folks.

Get it.

I’m just going to say it. I resent cancer patients a little. People get cancer. Not as in, people are diagnosed with cancer. People understand it. It’s tangible (more or less). So when people announce prayer requests for someone with cancer, everyone gets it. They respond with sweet, encouraging comments and reassurances that they are, indeed, praying. They rejoice when the chemo side effects let up or when a cancer patient’s spirits are lifted and they can get out of the house. Those things are wonderful-small silver linings that are actually huge victories in the day-in-day-out-war waged by a person with cancer.

But we also live with a cancer. One that most people don’t get. What would people’s responses be if I posted something about how badly-desperately-we needed prayer last night because the darkness of this cancer threatened to take us both down with it? That I have begun and ended every one of the last 4 days in tears and anxiety from watching my husband suffer from this illness? What would people reply if I announced that my husband had thrown a tantrum of epic proportions while I was out running that resulted in a destroyed 3-drawer plastic organizer and a broken glass picture frame.all.over.our.bed (no joke) and I’m constantly anxious because he is fairly unpredictable right now and could everyone please pray for peace and comfort?

Would people rush to our side-literally or figuratively? Or would they just stay awkwardly silent, because….what the hell do you say to the wife of someone with major, chronic depression?! And let’s be honest, depression just is not as glamorous as cancer. It’s a lot harder to relate to it. It’s only a short distance from actual, legit Crazy Town. Fighting cancer is noble. Fighting mental illness is messy.

Ok, so maybe I should clarify: I resent people’s general response to cancer vs. depression. Generally. Overall. And I resent the hypocrisy in stigma between the two diseases. Yes, I know cancer is terrible. I would not wish it on anyone. It is horrendous.

But so is depression. And there is far less support for it, when that support is fiercely needed. 

I just wish that I could send out a mass email, facebook post, text, carrier pigeon, anything- to ask for the same prayer and moral support that families of cancer patients can. But I can’t. Because generally, overall, people don’t *get* it, and it will just end up hurting more.

Get it?