I ask you one poignant question: "what is the value of one life?" Any life? And not the just lives of those who look powerful or who make you feel better but the lives of those we don't understand; a life of a mental health consumer. As Christians, why do pass by on the other side of the road?
Mental illness is a wide encompassing set of diseases in the chemistry of the brain. Period! It's not anything more or less than that. I will no longer argue this point with another soul. If you want to live your life with your head in the sand, that's your choice. But know this, you will soon be unable to breathe.
It's dark and hideous. It's no respecter of persons. It comes to many. Thank God it hasn't been you. Be grateful your life is spared this agony. But never underestimate the reality of brain illnesses. As surely as people get cancer and as certainly as you would never think to blame them, then stop the insidious judgment of the souls who have been afflicted with this hell. Just stop it!
In the powerful name of Jesus Christ, I exhort you with every fiber of my being to become a beacon of hope for people who are suffering. Are you not willing to walk more than a mile with one soul? Are you not willing to carry their burden with them? You are not a hero for performing one act of kindness. True heroes are born when one realizes that battling brain illnesses requires a lifetime of support.
Want to be a hero? I think everyone does at some point in their life. I can tell you how to be one. If you'd ask my husband what makes a hero, he would say a hero is one who straps on their boots and wages war with me against mental illness. A hero is one who agrees that not just one act of kindness is enough. A hero signs up to walk the journey...the complete life journey with one who is facing the darkness. Heroes understand it's not about them. It is about their selfless sacrifice of time, energy and resources that truly makes them a hero.
Battling brain illnesses takes a lifetime of commitment. Remember, these diseases don't have cures. We just know we can manage them with God, medicine, therapy, prayer and support. That is healing, my dear friends! This is how God heals mental illness. He does it one day at a time. One moment at a time. One episode of learning "how to quiet oneself to calm the mental chaos"...one episode of "understanding depression is lurking" and that perhaps time away from the stressors can ease the mind. It is a constant battle. We wage war minute by minute, day by day, month by month, year by year. The war is not over until life comes to an end.
For those who think suicide is selfish. I'd much rather say a life lived ignoring mental illness is far more selfish! I declare it's shameful to know the truth and to ignore it. It's far more damaging to the soul to believe you can pat yourself on the back for one act of kind treatment.
You want to live for God, then strap on your boots and vow you will never ever again abandon the soul with mental illness!!!!! In fact, I challenge you to take this seriously. This is no trivial matter. This is as serious as you value yourself. If this were you, how in God's name, I ask you, would you want to be treated. Have you no compassion whatsoever? Would you consider one act of kindness shown toward cancer as a sufficient response? I doubt it.
I ask you the tough questions. I offer the tough advice. You desire to be like Christ? Then here is how to do it:
Agree that brain illnesses are real. Understand they have no cure. Accept that we all manage them with medicine first, then a balanced blend of therapy, faith and life management.
Stop the judgment, arguing, blaming, criticism and self righteous pious attitudes toward those who have a diagnosis. STOP! In the loving style of leadership that Jesus used, please, I beg you, show compassion. Simple loving compassion!
Commit yourself to walk the journey with someone! Do it because this is how people stay well and not just survive life with MI but this is how they will thrive. If you care to see people live with hope, knowing their life has value to the world and those around them, then I challenge you to take the Thrive Talk Pledge.