Let’s Discuss 13 Reasons Why. Actually, let’s Discuss Suicide.

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I know, edgy topic. Another one that people don’t really talk about much. Until this past few weeks when Netflix aired the series “13 Reasons Why”

If you haven’t watched it yet, I highly suggest that you start. It is intense. It is provocative in wording and scenery, but it is real. Okay, maybe the whole basis of somebody taking their life and leaving tapes explaining why is a bit far fetched but it sure does get you thinking.

I don’t want to talk about the show. I don’t want to spoil anything. But I want to talk about the topic of suicide. What leads a person to make that choice, because I can tell you for fact that you do not just wake up one morning and decide you are done living. It is a slow and painful process.

It is something that is so relative in today’s society and yet something that is so rarely discussed.

My question is why?

This past September a classmate of mine took his own life, and it threw everybody off track because nobody knew that he was suffering, most likely because nobody was talking about it.

You see the day after he passed away all the teachers were talking about how they are always there for us, we were being encouraged to go talk to counselors and trusted adults about how we were doing. This all took place after the tragedy had already occurred. It took somebody taking their own life for the community to address it. Why was this not brought up before? Why, on the first day of school, don’t we have an all school assembly informing us of the different places we can go to get help?

I want to make a change, more than I can begin to express. I want to change the way things are done. I want to be the person that doesn’t stick to the status quo and breaks the barriers. I want to take that leap of faith and speak up about the hard things, mental illness, suicide, rape.

Right now, I am praying. It might not seem like much to you, but to me praying is the most important step. I am praying that God shows me the right ways to speak out about this topic that I feel so extremely passionate about.

I want to take the road less traveled by.

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What is the real reason we don’t talk about mental health in the church community?

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Why is it that mental health in the church is something that is kept so quiet?

Are people afraid to speak up about it? 

Afraid to trigger or offend somebody?

Or do people simply not know what to say on the topic due to lack of information?

A few days ago while having a conversation with my youth pastor he told me that mental illness isn’t something that they are taught about in “pastor school”. I was shocked, but it made sense. In my few seventeen years I have never heard a sermon on mental health, and I have been to my fair share of churches.

Nothing against pastors, at all. In fact, my pastor is the reason I have freedom in Christ today.

I don’t know why the conversation of mental illness is swept under the rug in the church community, but I do know that as somebody who battles anxiety and depression, it is something that people with mental illness want to be discuss.

Are pastors and leaders afraid to speak up on this topic? Or do they simply not know how to go about the sermon due to lack of information?

I am a wild advocated for mental health. I believe that people need to be informed about the realities of mental health, but beyond that I believe that people need to know the reality of being a person the battles mental illness all the while clinging onto God every minute of every day.

My mental illness isn’t a sin, I am not unholy because of it. My mental illness is a chemical imbalance, that therefore causes me to over think little things, obsess over things I have no control over, and worry about the unimaginable.

Here is the thing, mental illness isn’t something that is cured. It isn’t a paper cut that heals with a band-aid and some neosporin. It is incurable, but it can be managed. You see the day my depression stopped controlling me was one, about a month after I was prescribed the correct amount of medication for the severity of my illness. And two, the day that I stopped letting the devil use my mental illness as an excuse for him to torture me.

Mental illness is really scary, for somebody that doesn’t have a relationship with Christ. I know because I have been there. I have woken up morning after morning with a pounding headache from the tears I had cried the night before. I have had more than one anxiety attack in the middle of a big exam. I know that it is not “fun” or “cute” to have depression and anxiety, contrary to what a large majority of society thinks. I also now know that none of my battles were or are from my mental illness, but from satan himself. He saw my illness and he knew that he could use it as a way to grab a hold of me. Now, It took me two books and months and months of guidance to realize that. But eventually I realized it and I got all the right balances of everything I needed. Now I look forward to tests, because they are a day when I don’t have to sit and listen to a 30 minute lecture. I love going to bed because I am able to reflect on the day and relax my body, spend some time with God.

I understand why it is a touchy subject. Even just writing this post I have fear of offending people who struggle with mental illness and don’t know Christ because I know what it is like to be on the other side. I sat and listened to my religious role models tell me that my mental illness was satan controlling me, and I thought it was crap. In fact it angered me that somebody that didn’t know what it was like to live my life was telling me that cause of my struggles. But I also know what it is like to have freedom in Christ. Not to say I don’t still have depression and anxiety, I do, and it will always be a constant fight.

But I also will ALWAYS have an astonishing God that loves me more than I could ever even begin to imagine.

And guess what? So do you.