by Julie Brooks
I don't really want to mention this after such a perfect birthday yesterday, but I always want to be transparent, in hopes of helping someone else who may be struggling.
For me the 1st day of October brings memories of Carson Brooks. He was born on October 23rd. For me, it seems the days leading up to an event that is connected to his life brings back many memories; how we awaited his birth, the 1st time I saw his precious face, the joy he brought to our family as child #4. And, how looking back, I can now see signs of his bipolar illness beginning at an early age.
At 3 or 4 years old, Carson would come to me and tell me, "My brain is angry," but he didn't know why. As Dave Matthews sings it, "My head won't leave my head alone."
My desire to educate parents and others regarding mental illness is a God-given passion - because I have lived it. Not to mention my own depression, anxiety, and OCD (each treated with specific meds). All this to say, the days leading up to any event involving Carson is extremely difficult for me.
Grief looks different for every person. I still cry 2 to 3 times a week. I miss my boy. To those who are grieving, there is no book written that will tell you how to grieve. I believe God allows my tears to wash my eyes, renew His grace to sustain me and give me that added boost to continue knocking at Christians' hearts and the Church.
We can make a difference! We have the Holy Spirit within us, guiding us to get involved in learning how to minister to those struggling with mental illness. Statistics overwhelmingly point to the local Church as the 1st place a mentally ill person thinks to go for help. Statistics from two recent studies also clearly provide evidence that we (the local Church) aren't prepared to minister to the mentally ill.
But we, as the Body of Christ, have what it takes to minister to those suffering! We just have to stop ignoring that still small voice advising us to "carry one another's burdens." It is all about educating ourselves and then reaching out!
My heart aches to see all who are suffering with a mental illness, and how most people just pass by, as with the two who passed by the fallen stranger before the good Samaritan arrived.
I pray God gives me a platform that others can not ignore...to get involved in helping those with mental illness.
If you are hurting don't hesitate to call me (click here). I can listen, pray, and provide resources!