I had certain plans in mind for this week’s blog, but today I was made aware that this is Mental Health Awareness Week. So, having a bit of personal experience in that area, I thought I’d take a moment to acknowledge others who may also be struggling. If you ask my friends and family to describe my personality, they might tell you that I’m melancholy. Or, they might describe me as cynical. I tend to describe myself as a “glass seven-eighths empty” kind of person. Now, that may or may not come across in my blog entries, and that may or may not be the Zoloft talking—but whatever the case may be, I have a great deal of sympathy for people near to and distant from me who struggle with all varieties of mental illness and related challenges. Even people who don’t suffer from a diagnosable mental illness can experience bouts of sadness, doubt, low self-esteem, anxiety, stress, you name it.
It would appear from various sources of research that mental illness is on the rise and especially so in America. Now, certainly, that is partly attributable to higher rates of diagnosis, greater possibilities for effective treatment, and a lifting of the stigma that once accompanied an “admission” of anything but the most stable mental and emotional condition. But also most certainly, there are a lot of sources of discontent out there that are inhibiting many from embracing the abundant life that God intended for them. We can see that even in the rash of celebrity suicides that seems to have plagued our society during the recent years.
A view that is very common among those struggling with mental health issues is that things will never get better. From experience, I can say—no, I can PROMISE—that they do. As a young girl, I wrote a lot of poetry. Nowadays, I have found other outlets for self-expression, and I write many fewer poems. But for this blog, I searched through an old notebook to find just the right one to close with:
Too Weary Have I Grown
(April 11, 1995)
No longer have I the strength
No longer can I carry on
I tried, and thought I could,
But too heavy is the load I carry
Too long is the path I face
Too weary have I grown
Too many are my burdens
Too few are my allies
Too distant are the pleasures of this journey
And I cannot go on.
If you can relate to these feelings, then believe me when I say that you CAN go on.