May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the Redbud Writers Guild is focusing their articles on this subject. If you've followed my blog for awhile, you know it's my desire to educate and promote healing through the modalities of writing and psychotherapy. It's my honor to share some of my story on the Redbud Post today. If you or someone you know is struggling, I encourage you to connect with a counselor or a crisis resource. At the end of this article, I have listed some crisis resources for your use.
All the best,
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 ESV).
If I could go back and give anything to my tender adolescent self, it would be an excellent counselor. Unless, of course, I could have healed my family—that would be my first choice. It may sound odd to some but growing up in a family plagued with addiction, trauma, and mental health issues, one of the resources I needed most was someone whose training allowed them to understand how significant dysfunction affects people. And maybe, even more, someone who could provide me with the tools to validate my experience in the middle of what felt like madness.
But lacking this, I shifted and adapted to our unhealthy family system. I became over responsible for dealing with the constant chaos in our house. I became rigid and perfectionistic to ensure success, believing that if I didn’t look after myself, I might fall through the cracks. I created a façade to show the outside world that I was strong and independent—all the while developing severe anxiety, a need to be noticed, and adopting a wounded view of the world and myself.
Graciously, faith was also knit into my family in my childhood, and it was a source of hope and joy for all of us. I experienced Jesus at a young age in the midst of my family turmoil, and I am deeply grateful for God’s presence in my life. And yet, he chose not to heal my family or myself in an instant; and believe me, I asked.
If this is an emergency or if you are worried that you or someone you know may be at risk for suicide, please call your local authorities (911). The hotlines below are 24 hours and are confidential.
TEXT TWLOHA TO 741-741
For hearing and speech impaired with TTY equipment: 1.800.799.4TTY (779-4889)
1.800.273.TALK (273-8255) PRESS 1