Last week was Mental Health Awareness week. I hope that some of you were able to attend a seminar or workshop and receive more information, support or just a sense that you don't struggle alone.
Whether you are the person experiencing a mental health issue or you are a caregiver, your pain is mostly invisible to others. Along with the pain and struggle of the mental illness itself, is a profound grief that one must carry.
Difficulties happen to us in life. When we experience traumas: like losing a loved one to cancer, a sudden (much too young) death, a family member struggling daily with the symptoms of depression or anxiety, a marriage break-up, infidelity, the experience of the profound pain of sexual abuse or the loss of a dear co-worker, all these all leave us feeling lonely, sad, somewhat confused. We are left with what I refer to as "foggy headed."
During these profound times of grief it is essential that we take good care of ourselves. Crying tears of sorrow is cathartic. Writing, journaling, drawing or painting is helpful. Resting, walking, prayer and meditation are also life giving. Seeking God's guidance and comfort during these times and leaning into His promises that "joy will come in the morning," is also comforting.
Today I saw a different translation that said, "Joy comes in the Mourning.” As I experience more of life and hear more people's pain, I do believe that we grow as we allow ourselves and others to mourn.
Seeking out someone you trust to share your grief is also helpful. But be good to yourself during your vulnerability. As you learn to grieve well, you gain the distinct privilege of being able to join in another's grief. This too is profound.
Principles for Real Living:
I am responsible for my own attitude
My attitude affects my actions
I can not change others, but I can influence others
My emotions do not control my actions
Admitting my imperfections does not mean that I'm a failure
Love is the most powerful weapon for good in the world
Desperate Marriages by Gary Chapman, Northfield Publishing, Chicago 1998, 2008