Mental health and faith can feel like two separate worlds. For many people, they look at life as either spiritual or physical/mental. Mixing the two is like trying to mix steak and Kraft Dinner. They just don’t seem to fit. But this is not healthy, because a healthy mind is a healthy soul. Check out this post for 7 ways faith can help you with the weight of living.
Four years ago today, I woke up in a fog like I’ve never experienced before. Everything seemed so bright and I was desperate for something to drink. My throat was raw and I couldn’t feel my legs. It had been nearly a full day since I tried to kill myself and as I slowly started piecing things together, I was flooded with humiliation, dread, and anger.
If the Prodigal Son had been able to work through the smothering lies that come with shame, would he have come home sooner? I’ve heard others ask it this way: “If the Prodigal Son had Xanax, would he have ever come home?”
Early in recovery, my biggest struggle with returning to the Church was getting past that sense of not being good enough. My fear of being compared to all the other “normal” Christians made it very hard to believe in a Father who was inherently good, patient, and kind. The Church had been my home for nearly three decades, but after such a massive personal failure, I wasn’t sure how I fit into it anymore. From my own experience, the Church knows how to deal with addiction, adultery, and anger. But mental illness dumbfounds them.
It took me three days to realize I’m building toward a panic attack. I think of it like a simmering pot that begs for days to boil. Eventually it may. Or it may finally run out of steam, still piping hot, producing nothing but exhaustion, confusion, frustration, and sticky sweat.
It reminds me of dingy socks.
Mental illness is no respecter of persons. Anxiety and depression are equal opportunity employers and they do not care what kind of day or week or year you’re having. And along with mental illness comes shame. Shame whispers things like “You can’t get your own shit together, so stop writing.” It tells lies like, “You are crazy and this will never get better.”
It’s been four years since my suicide attempt. For the longest time, I thought my week on the psych ward was pointless. I saw it as a frustrating waste of time. Now, I can recognize the value of what we did during those days.
I know you.
I guess I should say I knew you.
It seems like a lifetime ago. Poor guy. I’m so sorry. You look so scared and so blank. So utterly confused.