I know it isn’t Mental Health Awareness month (which is in May of each year), but we really need to do our part to help erase the stigma of mental health every day, not just one month of the year. So, I’ve been taking some time off from the Prodigal Thinker posts for my mental health. With #ADHD I struggle with executive function and oftentimes take on too many things at once or misjudge the amount of time a project will take. I also deal with deep cycles of depression, which I am just coming out of a very deep cycle even now. So, periodically, I need to take a step back and reevaluate my priorities and my mental health. A lot has been going on behind the scenes between my full-time job (really, more than full-time – more like 60-75 hours per week), leading worship at my church, taking classes toward ordination, and several other things here and there, I just spread myself too thin. The Verse of the Day posts are important to me. It’s one of the ways I continue to grow and help to encourage others as well, but as I was reminded over the last week or so, "you can’t pour from an empty cup."
Now, about mental health, there should be NO shame in talking to others about it. Sometimes it starts off with a chemical imbalance in our brains. Sometimes it is born in the midst of traumatic events. Either way, these things are outside of our control. But what we CAN do is talk about our difficulties and seek the help needed to better understand our differences and learn techniques and/or get the medicinal help we need.
If you are not someone who deals with these types of issues (a.k.a. Neuro-Typical), you can be a sounding board to those who face these differences (Neuro-Divergent). If you know/love someone that is neuro-divergent, the best thing you can do for them is educate yourself and then just be willing to listen. In some cases, just being present. During some of my deepest bouts with depression, the most helpful and most healing thing was someone who would just be there. No words spoken. Just being there helped me tremendously.
The last thought on this is that mental illness is not a faith (or lack of faith) issue. Does prayer and reading scripture work and help God speak? By all means, YES! But just as you would not tell someone who is dealing with cancer or some other physical illness that they just need to stop being ill and think thoughts of wellness, the same is true for mental illness. It isn’t a lack of faith. It is merely an imbalance of chemicals or a physical reaction to a traumatic event in the past.
You are loved and prayed for, my friends. Thank you for your patience while I pulled away. I’m thankful for each of you who read these emails/posts. May our heavenly Father bless you for your kindness and goodness.
Peace on you,