Not a Day Promised

Battling mental illness through education and resources. "Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance." Proverbs 1:5

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Word Picture - Mental Illness: The Natural Disaster Within

by Julie Brooks

The Lord gave me this word picture a couple of months ago, but I just remembered writing it as I thought of the help needed to rebuild lives affected by the recent tornadoes in our area.

We all have seen the destruction that can come as a result of natural disasters, such as tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and tsunamis. Suffering with mental illness is a natural disaster turned inward. The damage is hidden from those around the person suffering because the disaster starts from within; i.e., irrational thoughts, paralyzing fears, physical symptoms (headaches, stomach issues); the list goes on!

We must educate ourselves to the signs of these oncoming disasters. Education, plus a purposeful and kindred connection are required to equip a caregiver, or just one who cares, to sense when an individual is trying desperately to “contain” the development of the inevitable disaster brewing within. It is possible to assist in calming the upcoming disaster within, before eruption, if there is someone educated around them to point out the pain and erratic behavior they are seeing exhibited and offer understanding and support.

However, if you haven’t experienced this type of natural disaster within, of mental illness, yourself, or see a loved one who suffers with it, once it happens, it is truly hard to imagine! The behavior that can follow can look like so many other behaviors; i.e., anger, sadness, isolation, defiance, that can be misunderstood. Unfortunately, the results can be devastating and sometimes fatal (suicide) to the person experiencing the mental illness. The disaster can create “shock waves” that affect family, friends and friends of friends.

If mental illness is handled not by the Red Cross but by those that have been healed by Christ’s blood, shed on the cross, those that are Christ followers, the outcome will look more like a construction site than a disaster site.

If we as Christians believe that God is in the business of helping rebuild and restore lives, then what are we as Christians waiting for? We are willing to help with natural disasters everywhere. Will we not take the time to proactively educate ourselves about mental illness and what it looks like? Is it easier to just avoid the disaster site?.

With the Lord’s insight, and willingness on our part to become educated and open to the hidden pain around us, we can join The Lord’s Disaster Relief Team. Rebuilding any disaster site takes preparation, time and tireless effort, but the results will be one disaster site at a time reconstructed for His eternal glory.

Will you join me in praying for the Lord’s construction sites and teams to begin popping up everywhere? The life restored could be yours or your loved one’s.

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