Facing my Mental Health History

Studying Scripture, along with the good teaching that lets me see the gospel side of it, helps me ground in uncertain times. I feel like I’m back, in some ways, to 2016. Everything that once was has crashed. It is different for me this time bc I’m in a completely different place: new church, seminary and therapy. Major changes that are making all the difference in the world. I don’t feel as alone.
2016 I spent time listening to perspectives I never heard before. I loved it. It made me change and want to join that story, and God made a way. Living by faith will astound us; if we can let go.
Now instead of listening to other people’s stories, I’m having to listen to my own. Now that I’m with people who are safe, I can go back and remember what hurts, and comfort the child that needed it so badly. Eventually, with therapy, the pain of these memories won’t be so intense. We are doing EMDR therapy bc my body is reacting to these memories too. I have had a non-stop sinus infection since March. This hasn’t happened to me since High School. We are working on getting my body back to the present. My mind has made it back to the present, my body has not.
I’m sharing this because I keep hearing people worried about kids mental health if they don’t return to school. Either way, mental health is being affected, and going back to school during a pandemic is not the cure for it.
Church has put a stigma on mental health too. Just turn to Jesus and all your cares will be taken care of is not true. Yes, grounding ourselves in a higher power certainly is helpful, but I’m going to be straightforward here, a lot of people getting the help they need for themselves and helping others is coming outside the faith. Christians are largely absent. Jesus knew this problem too. I can hear the anxiety and depression in Jesus, Jesus’s followers, and the Hebrew prophets. Feeling in a troubled world is hard, but it leads to life if we get the help we need. (This leads to a healthcare discussion, but that’s a separate from this post. I’m just noting we don’t allow this avenue for the vulnerable).
Getting help is not a sign of weakness, but strength. I don’t know if I could do this without the community surrounding me now though. Healing is hard work and needs a community. I feel beat up emotionally right now, but my people are treating me with tender care.
Something my therapist is working with me on is validating myself. It is so hard for me to do. I’ve been programmed not to. Thinking back on gymnastics and being told my 8.5 was a gift, and not the result of my hard work, did more damage than I knew. Plus, the 6.5 not getting explained away by anything other than my failure. Then just being a compliment in church. Being treated like a doormat in soccer. It’s a lot to overcome.
She’s trying to get me to say I chose my church; I said yes to seminary; I said yes to therapy-etc. when my world crashed and I felt alone in the cruelty I said: At least God cares. Therapist: you cared. You did.
I’m sharing this bc we need a better conversation around mental health. Fighting through and forcing scenarios to avoid pain only makes it worse.

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