Monthly Archives: October 2015

How To Love Someone With A Mental Illness

Check out my website at http://www.centurionstrong.org

Having a mental illness can crippling at times and even terrifying. But I’ve learned from personal experience that there is hope and a chance to recover. Depending on the disorder, the process of recovery is a slow and often painful one.

Arguably the hardest thing about recovery is having to learn how to love and take care of yourself. Which is why we often need the ones we love to help us embrace life again:

Be as patient as you can. It’s easy to sometimes lose patience with them because you want them to get better, but it seems like they’re getting much worse. It’s important to have some patience because most likely, they’re just as impatient with themselves.
Be honest about your frustrations. On the other hand, its okay to sometimes admit that you’re confused and not sure how to help. Don’t be afraid to open yourself up to them because they will let you know the subtle ways you can help like holding them or wiping away the tears from their face.

Give them more hugs than you feel they need. A hug truly takes away some of the pains and aches, so hug them whenever you can even though they look like they don’t need or want it because those are usually the times they do.

Let them talk out their thoughts. A mental illness includes a daily fight with your own mind. It helps to talk out the thoughts raging within the brain and those thoughts can be rather disturbing. But keep in mind that they are the same person you fell in love with and those thoughts are not a part of them but the core of the illness itself.

Just listen. The temptation to give them advice is so strong because you want nothing more than to help them get better. But they’re not always looking for advice. What they truly need is for someone to listen and understand where they’re coming from. And sometimes, that’s all it takes.
Don’t try to be their therapist. They probably already have one and it doesn’t help to burden yourself if you can’t carry it. You’re meant to love them, not fix them.

Don’t panic, just be there. When they have a break down whether it’s sobbing uncontrollably or threatening to hurt themselves, do your best not to panic. Try to comfort them in their moment of pain. Take them to a quiet place where they can calm down and know that you’re here with them.

Don’t let them blame themselves. They will blame themselves for the way they are, especially if they know its affecting you. That blame can fuel their self-hatred. Try to encourage them to understand that it’s not their fault and that they will get through it.

Find celebration in the small things. If they tell you that they went to the grocery store without having a panic attack, or that they cleaned up their room, or even ate a meal, congratulate them. They may not see it themselves, but just being able to wake up in the morning and start the day is a sign of courage in itself. It helps to let them know that so they can continue to heal.

It’s okay to break up, but don’t give up. Let’s face it. Sometimes things go downhill and you have no choice but to let them go. But try not to cut them completely out of your life. Do your best to be there for them as a friend. Let them know that although they feel like it, they’re not alone in this.

By: Marie Cyprien
Nerdy Brooklynite who enjoys the art of writing from articles to weird sci-fi stories. Also plays guitar and cooks gourmet pasta on spare time.

Why the Church Needs to Address Mental Health Issues

We NEED the church to step up in its efforts to be more vocal in regards to mental illness.

It’s no secret that my past was ridden with mental health issues—ones that kept me from wanting to live for much of my teenage life. I’m very vocal about this truth, and I will continue to be as along as my story may have an impact on others who need to hear it. And while I do believe today’s church is doing better at addressing the issue that is mental health, I believe there can be so much more done than what is currently taking place in regards to depression and anxiety.

Let me explain.

I never tried to take my own life in my younger years, but I frequently found myself googling painless ways to commit suicide, and really had no remorse once finding what I was looking for. It was a sad state to be in. The reality is that my life was infected with the burden of depression and anxiety, and the only places I could find reliable information from were not churches in my local area. Why? Because mental illness wasn’t really talked about.

I felt as if all the “Christian” resources were outdated, and really didn’t address the fact that taking medication was okay in the eyes of God. There really wasn’t much information at all. It was as if all the answers I was finding were suggesting that I just needed more faith.

Seriously?

The last thing someone contemplating suicide wants to here is, “Just have faith.” I understand that Jesus has the power to conquer anything that comes in my way, but please don’t throw Christians clichés at me. I wanted real, authentic and practical information, and I assume there are millions in this world who would want the same. It’s what Jesus would have done.

I really wanted to find help in the church, but there were no ministries or non-profits working within the walls of local congregations that I could reach. All the counseling and help I received came years after I actually needed it, and it was found in the secrecy of a local medical facility, not a church—where it should have been all along.

Mind you, the church has come a long ways since my teenage years in regards to helping those with mental illness, but I believe we can still do a lot more.

Some Statistics

1. It is reported that 1 in 10 Americans are affected by depression.

2. Over 80% of people who are clinically depressed are not receiving treatment.

3. The number of people diagnosed with depression increases by 30% every year.

4. An estimated 121 million people around the world suffer from depression.

5. In 2013 41,149 suicides were reported, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death for Americans.

6. In 2013 someone died by suicide every 12.8 minutes.

We Need The Church

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”—1 Peter 5:7

Here’s the thing… I understand that there is importance to seeing what many would call a “professional” in the field of mental health issues, but this doesn’t mean that the local church shouldn’t be prioritizing leadership roles and ministry efforts to help those who deal with these issues. I understand that not all churches lack in this area, but I bet there are more who do than don’t.

My wife and I have met with and counseled dozens of young people over the last year, all sharing with us the brutal battle that is taking place within their souls. Suicide attempts, cutting, depression, and anxiety are just the beginning of what these young people were facing.

We NEED the church to step up in its efforts to be more vocal in regards to mental illness. Whether that be through a sermon series, free resources, creating non-profits or even a cultivating a designated year-long ministry. Regardless, the church should be at the front-lines of this battle. People need a safe place where they can be honest and transparent with what they are going through.

There is nothing wrong with admitting you are depressed, cutting, have attempted suicide or are even contemplating it. There is nothing wrong with seeking medical attention and being prescribed medication to help you along the journey. And there is nothing wrong with admitting you need help.

A Few Resources

1. My Broken Palace.

2. To Write Love On Her Arms.

3. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, anxiety or has even thought of suicide, please give them the resources above and do not wait another minute.

By Jarrid Wilson
Jarrid Wilson is a husband, dad, pastor, best-selling author and inspirational blogger. His articles have been viewed by millions, showcased on some of today’s hottest talk shows, and featured on national news stations worldwide. He is a dynamic speaker whose outside-the-box perspectives have gained him national recognition from some of today’s most influential Christian leaders and pastors.