Why the stigma?
It was the start of another day. A rare snowfall happened at my home in Tucson, AZ the night before. It was cold and a strange white substance (snow) was on the ground. At the time I worked about 70 miles from home. On the way I hit black ice and I rolled my vehicle about 3 times while going 55 miles per hour.
I was able to climb out of the vehicle and was unaware of any injuries that I had apart from a cut on my hand from broken glass. What would follow would be the scariest three months of my life. I had been knocked unconscious during the accident and sustained a pretty major concussion.
I also sustained a neck injury. I had head injuries before but the migraines and pain from this were unbearable. I was miserable. I couldn’t remember anything as my short term memory was shot. In my mind I had no reason to miserable. I survived. I walked away from what could have easily been a fatal accident. Better than that I knew I would able to see my twins be born in a couple months. Why am I so miserable?
I needed help, but at the time I thought I could do it on my own.
I self-medicated with my prescriptions and knew I was in trouble. One day I decided that the world would be better off without me and I devised a plan. I would drive off a cliff on the way to work. I drove to work but could not do it. I cried all day at work. How someone didn’t notice my despair is beyond comprehension.
End The Stigma
I was crying all day! I decided I would try the same cliff scenario on the way home, but then I decided to make a call. I called the Veteran Affairs Veteran crisis line and got help. On the way home the following piece of scripture popped into my head. That verse is 2 Corinthians 12:9 which says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness. So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me”. To this day this passage is one I go back to on a regular basis.
Why do I share this? Even though I was a Christian I was struggling with what I would find out was major depression and general anxiety disorder. We are human and are not immune to the idiosyncrasies of the human condition. I went to see a professional for help because I had no idea why I was feeling the way I was. In fact I see a counselor on a regular basis to help keep my OCD in check. God has given gifts to all of us, and to some he gave the gift of helping people with their mental health issues.
May Is Mental Health Awareness Month
May is mental health awareness month. It is my hope that my brief story will resonate and let people know that they are not alone. To know that they are still loved by God in their brokenness. He is with us every step of the way. If you need help, then by all means ask. One in four people will have bouts with mental illness during their lifetime. It is an issue that is common and yet stigmatized. End the stigma.