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

Monday, February 20, 2017

Post Suicide Care - The First Week

by Julie Brooks

I just learned of yet another young person's suicide in our area. I don't know the youth or their family. But, it doesn't matter. 

I can still pray and remember what those first few weeks of shock and fog felt like when we lost Carson.

First, I ask you to lift up this family, and other families you know of and don't know of, who are left only with memories. Ask the Lord to cover them with HIS custom made grace, for His grace is always perfect and greater than our faith. 

Secondly, I pray that others who know the family will respond. Understand that this family will not know what they need in the midst of this devastating crisis. 

The Lord is always present, but this is where you can become the hands and feet of Jesus. If you feel led to help them, just do it.

The following list can be a good start:

1) Disposable plates, utensils, cups, individual bottled water, tissue paper, paper towels toilet paper, hand sanitizer; staple goods, etc. These could be left on the porch as not to disturb the family.

2) Stop and deliver small nutritious snacks, high in protein; i.e., mixed nuts/trail mix, dried fruit, granola bars, pretzels and cheese, yogurt, etc. They won't feel like eating, and may need to be reminded to eat and stay hydrated.

3) If it needs it, show up and mow their grass.

4) Transportation to and from the funeral home.

5) Run some errands.

6) Do they need someone to just be there at the house for comfort; just being there, perhaps even without saying anything.

7) Make phone calls, arrangements, etc., if needed.

And most of all, PRAY for them and the lifelong journey they are beginning. 

At around 3-4 weeks, the shock and fog will begin to lift, the pain and grieving will become reality, fewer people will tend to be available to the family. They will still need to be checked on. The pain and struggle of grief is real and raw.

These are just a few suggestions from one who has received such favor from Him through friends.

Thank you. God will honor our prayers!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

With Brave Wings She Flies

by Julie Brooks

As I have shared before, Carson described having bipolar like being a bird with broken wings. 


Which is why I always ask God to allow me to "fly;" to carry on the message of those who are struggling with mental illness.

It is hard for those who struggle with mental illness to let us see the pain they live with everyday. We all know many people that struggle with mental illness. We just don't know they have a mental illness. Because they work so hard for us not to know. 

I pray some day God will allow me to be a part of all that HE has helped me envision; the way we could better educate others about mental illness, early red flags, the power of community over individual efforts, the critical role of the local Church stepping up and establishing mental illness as a mission field, all of us taking more seriously the fact that suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for so many between the ages of 10 to 24 ... and so much more.

Today, there is incredible training and support for the lay person. No degree necessary. Resources like: Mental Health Grace Alliance (mentalhealthgracealliance.org), Saddleback Church (saddleback.com/connect/ministry/mental-health-ministry/lake-forest), Key Ministry (keyministry.org) and NAMI (nami.org). You can learn about mental illness; become a caregiver, an advocate, a educator or just a compassionate listener. You can be such a blessing to someone in need. You can be His eyes and hands, doing His work.  Help is needed. No waiting in line. 

We can begin to talk about mental illness out in the open, with the hope of reducing or ending stigma, such that the stigma will no longer bind those suffering from reaching out for help. We can develop friendships; like minded passion. 

Those who struggle with mental illness are some of the most compassionate people around, because they know what it is like to be in pain.

I will continue to do as God has persistently called me; to be available, to listen, to advocate for, to educate, and yes, to be a broken record if I have to - for His glory. Everyone can help break the devastating stigma of mental illness. Basically, we need to do what we do for those who have any other chronic illness. 

I pray God will make my wings supernaturally strong to do HIS work. It is still very lonely. The work is great, but the workers are few. I have a precious son in Heaven, who took his life, and another son doing an excellent job navigating the same illness...bipolar.  

I will not stop advocating, posting, talking, helping those who want so desperately to be helped and understood; not until I reach Heaven's gates.

Julie Brooks,R.N.
Warriorette in God's Mental Health Army.
We never turn away new recruits. Praying God sends an army of willing Christians.