To The Girl Facing Mental Illness Every Day
To the girl who faces mental illness every day:
I have been in your shoes. I have walked this road my whole life, and I have fought that battle to get out of bed in the morning, to stand through the trembling anxiety, to keep breathing when depression wanted to strangle me. It is a real battle. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you it isn’t.
You are living a reality that most people cannot understand. Most people do not know what it’s like for their own mind to be a prison, day in and day out. They don’t know how strong you are, how you keep holding onto hope when everything inside you says there is none.
So people will misunderstand. They mean well. They want to help you, and they want to see you happy. This is why they say things like, “pray about it,” “trust God,” and “everything happens for a reason.” They think these words will bring hope and guidance, not despair. They don’t know that you’ve already prayed and trusted and believed against all the evidence that there must be a reason for this pain. And despite all your prayers, the pain still stays. And you wonder why you keep praying to a God who doesn’t seem to be there.
Know this: Your Father in heaven does not like to see you in pain. He does not enjoy it. He does not want this mental illness for you. Okay? If we believe He loves us, we have to believe this. A Father who loves us wants us to live lives that are according to His purpose and ultimately His glory. Pain and suffering are apart of this world, but they are put to shame in light of Christ.
So, I don’t know why you’re in pain. I can’t tell you that praying more will fix it. I won’t tell you that God ordained this because He wanted to test you or grow you or accomplish some unknown purpose. He loves you and wants the best for you. That’s all I know, and to be honest, that’s all I cling to every day.
Please know that it is okay to ask for help. It isn’t good for us to be alone. And when you voice your struggle, some of its power is lost. When you voice its name, whether that is depression or anxiety or OCD, it ceases to be your identity. It is no longer your fault. It’s an illness. Because it’s not something you chose, not something you want, and not something you alone can fix.
When you believe this, when you let the truth pour out and find the help you need, you can finally stop trying so hard to make yourself better. You can breathe. You can start living as yourself; independent of your illness. You are not the state of your mind. You are a precious human soul, loved by God, and stuck in a hurting world.
Although God’s heart breaks to see you here, He has promised to make something beautiful out of your broken pieces. When He lovingly takes your shattered pieces and creates something whole, this is redemption. It is not something you can reach by trying harder or fixing yourself. It is something that only He can do. He promises that, despite all the pain surrounding us, He will make something new. He will meet us in our brokenness, pick us up, and make us whole again.
So, dear friend, it’s okay. It’s okay to struggle. It’s okay to hurt. And it’s okay to ask for help. You aren’t alone in this—there are so many people out there who feel the same way you do. So many people will band together with you and help you through this. If you continue to be honest about your struggle, you will find them. You will find the people who understand. The people who show you God’s love when you can’t find it on your own. You will find the people who support you in getting the help you need.
I hope I can be that person for you today.
Another girl who is facing mental illness every day, who is on her tenth month of antidepressant medication, and who is finally learning how to live the abundant life God created her to live.
Tori Margaret is passionate about writing honestly, loving deeply, and walking with people through their stories. She writes about her struggle with depression, anxiety, and OCD to encourage others that they are not alone and to open the door for real conversations about real suffering. She has written for TWLOHA, a non-profit devoted to supporting people with mental illness. You can find more of Tori’s writing at her blog, BoldBrightBeautiful.com, or connect with her in our Writing group.
November 7, 2016
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