Mental Illness and Addiction Don’t Discriminate

Flower against the mountains

This week has been somewhat emotionally draining.  I have remembered where I’ve been and how far I’ve come.  I’ve remembered how hard life can be and how devastating mental illness is.

Four days ago I wrote a post about having immense joy, and that joy is definitely still there.  I have had an amazing time with so many amazing people this week between spending time with facilitators, full time staff, and walkabouts.  And especially with my best friend and her family!

I’m just feeling deeply right now and that’s life for me.  I welcome it because it helps the joy be that much deeper.

Friends, mental illness and addiction don’t discriminate.  Anyone can suffer from mental illness.  Anyone can suffer from addiction.  It doesn’t matter how much money you have.  It doesn’t matter how famous you are.  It doesn’t matter if you had a great upbringing or a difficult one.  It doesn’t matter if you are a pastor or a new Christian or a non-Christian or anyone.  It can happen to ANYONE.

Tuesday was World Suicide Awareness Day, and I shared about my brother and my struggles with mental illness.  Then I found out that a well known pastor died by suicide on Monday night.  He appeared to have it all together on social media.  But he was also an advocate for people with mental illness.  There have been so many ignorant comments about him… being a pastor and committing suicide.  But gosh.  Pastors are human.  Like I said, no one is exempt.

This is the pastor and his wife.  His name is Jarrid Wilson and his wife is Juli Wilson.  Their two boys are Finch and Denham.  They are so young.

I’m currently working with a 20 year old who is about 2 months sober from hard drugs.  He is from a pretty wealthy family.  I worked with an 18 year old this past summer who is newly sober from drugs.  He is also from a pretty wealthy family.

No one chooses to be addicted to drugs and alcohol.  No one chooses to have a mental illness.  No one wants to be so depressed that you can’t go on anymore.

Meds can work.  Like really work.  They are working for me.  But even that can take years to figure out and some people can’t hang on long enough.  I suffered for about 8 years trying to figure out the best meds for me.  I self medicated with alcohol and Xanax for a lot of years, too, which made a huge impact on my mental health.

And I really believe that God is there to rescue us from our troubles.  Sometimes it’s in the form of meds or a great counselor or rehab or hospitalization.  Sometimes He chooses to use others to help us.  His Word speaks to me in times of trouble, BUT I sometimes struggle to understand in the thick of it.  I was angry for a long time because of that, but now that I’m on the other side, I can see how He was with me all along and now I’m a stronger person for it.  And he’s using me to help others who have gone through similar things.

In the meantime, I’m so grateful for where I am now.  I have come so far.  I still take it one day at at time, though, because otherwise I lose focus.

While this week was emotionally draining, it was pretty amazing also.

Monday and Tuesday night we shared a meal, conversation, and a fun game with camp full time staff, facilitators (like interns), and our Gap year students.  We had so so so much fun.  I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to be with people all the time and to truly love it.  It can be exhausting, but so worth it.  I didn’t take any pics of the people because I was trying hard to be “in the moment.”  So I just took a “before” pic.  I LOVE hosting people at our home.

Then yesterday we spent time with my best friend and her family at a really nice resort about 35 minutes from my parents’ house.  We had such a blast, and I’m so grateful for her!!

We have lots of fun things coming up… some travel, backpacking, hosting at our home, becoming involved at church as much as we can, working with gap year students, and I’m still working on adjusting homeschooling to work for our family.  Every day is new, and I trust God to work out the details.

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