Wrapping Up Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental health awareness is vitally important to change the way individuals with mental illness are perceived in society. We have not come a long way from asylums and being killed. We are currently repeating a history we fought so hard to change.

It’s normal for the police to be called on an individual with mental illness and potentially be murdered. We hear it, see it, know it’s bad, but it’s a normal in our society. It should not be this way.

Individuals with mental illness and addiction are handcuffed when transported from hospitals, emergency rooms, and to doctor appointments. They say this is done when we are considered high risk. Could you imagine being mentally sick and handcuffed because law enforcement is scared of you?

I have experienced this and it’s traumatizing. It causes individuals with mental illness to decline the treatment they need to avoid situations like these.

The saddest part is individuals with mental illness would rather suffer or take their own life rather than get help. It is because of these normal practices in our society that individuals with mental illness suffer in silence.

As we wrap up mental health awareness month, remember individuals with mental illness, are more likely to harm themselves than others. This is because we battle our mental health issues inwardly. It happens but it’s rare for an individual with mental illness to harm others unless they feel threatened or are struggling to manage their illness.

Be aware of what we face, but don’t stigmatize us and live in fear. We are battling an invisible disability and trying to cope with the struggles of life like so many other invisible diseases and illnesses.

Mental Health Awareness Matters.

💚💚💚💚

Following God and Battling Mental Illness

I was sixteen when I was diagnosed with a mental health disability. I thought my world was coming to an end. My family and I had no idea what the journey would be in May 2005. Later we would find out the road was hard and it would be a challenge for a lifetime.

Through it all my mother had built a foundation for me by keeping me involved in church and praying on a regular basis. I carried these godly principles with me over the course of my battle with my mental health challenges. Many hospitalizations and storms later, I know that when my world is falling apart, God finds a way to hold it together.

I have attempted suicide and I survived. I have been homeless and couch-surfed because I had nowhere to go and felt unwanted. God has taken me through things that keep me close to Him no matter what I face. You cannot do life without God. I would not be where I am today without God’s grace. I am glad that the doctors had it wrong and that God had other plans. A person who struggles with a mental health disability is a person that needs a lot of love and compassion as we all do.

I learned to live with my mental health challenges. I accepted that my struggles don’t define me. Early on doctors told my parents that I would not complete high school and if I did, I would not finish college because my struggles were severe. My father told me after we left the hospital in 2005 that I could do anything. He also told me not to use my illness as a crutch.

I am a fighter, and persistent, and I don’t give up easily. God is the source of everything I have acquired. He gave me the grace to have it all. I am not special. I am a child of God and He allows me the same grace He gives anyone else.

I finished high school in the top 10% of my graduating class. God has given me the ability to succeed with the challenges present and the obstacles stacked against me. I have accomplished a lot through God’s grace. I completed my first degree in Psychology in 2011. I completed my master’s in Social Work in 2015.

I became a self-published author in 2016. Since then I have written three books, “The Dealt Haand: The Story of my Battle with Mental Illness”, The Art of Resilience: Dreaming and Overcoming the Challenges of Life, and Resilient Inspired Spiritual Excellence: R.I.S.E.” I founded Resilient Inspired Spiritual Excellence in 2019 and I started a professional blog in 2018.

Battling mental illness with God has been a journey. Those who don’t have this battle or watched someone fight this battle will never understand. Some will let mass media paint the picture of mental illness. Some will walk in fear of individuals who fight to survive the struggles of their mind. I may stumble, but God gives me grace to walk this battle out in victory every step of the way.

I want the readers of my blog to know I post because I know that I am not alone in the struggles I have faced. I am in many ways still facing challenges. I created this blog because God said it’s time to inspire and encourage others. It has been five years and I know that this blog helps me as well as my readers.

The most important thing to remember is, not to let anyone put limitations on you because all things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26).

Have a deeper look at my journey in my memoir, “The Dealt Hand: The Story of my Battle with Mental Illness.

How Are You Eating?

There are millions of people that struggle with an eating disorder. Many do not know what is happening. The symptoms may be there but can be hard to recognize. We often use terms like “greedy” or “eating too much”. These can be normal, but can also be a sign that you have an eating disorder.

Binge eaters can consume 2,000 to 3,200 calories in a day. 2,000 calories would seem like you made the calorie goal, but these calories were consumed in a matter of a few hours. It makes the person feel exhausted, guilty, shame, and as if they have no control. The truth is there is no control and no formula for when the binge eating episode will happen for most binge eaters.

Currently, a phrase has been coined on social media, food vlogs, and blogs. The phrase is “foodporn” or being a “foodie”. Many people watch reality TV shows like “My 600lb Life”. These phrases and shows overshadow the issues that are really going on for millions of Americans.

Some binge eaters will consume 3,000 to 4,000 calories in a few hours. We see this on “My 600lb Life”. The saddest part about these binge eating issues they could lead to death or physical issues over time. You can choke on all that food sitting in your digestive system if it starts to come back up through your esophagus. We have heard on the show that death has occurred for these individuals.

The truth is that many people struggle with eating disorders that go undiagnosed for years. Also, for some, it may never be diagnosed. This depends on how distorted their view or connection is with food. Also, how disabling it is for the person.

There is support for individuals who suffer from binge eating. Many people learn to manage their binge eating a lot better over time. They may still have episodes because of the years of no diagnosis or treatment. Over time with treatment, these episodes are less frequent and can go away completely. There is a high demand for eating disorder specialists in the US. Access to specialists who treat eating disorders is limited though the demand is high.

Staying fit and active often helps curve the issues with weight and weight gain for binge eaters. Many fail to manage a healthy weight due to battling issues tied to binge eating like, depression, anxiety, shame, and guilt.

Also, some binge eaters may realize they have an obsession with food. Some signs are a person always stating “I’m hungry”, I’m hungry” but have just eaten. This becomes an issue if a short time has passed since their last meal. It takes approximately four hours to digest a single meal.

If you face the issue of not actually knowing when you are hungry or just have an urge to eat that is a problem. Being hungry means you have had the absence of food in your body for an extended period of time. It also means your body is in need of food or fuel to function. The urge to eat means you have food in your body or enough fuel to function, but you have the urge or a desire to eat.

National Eating Disorders Association Eating Disorder Resources

I hope this helps someone and feel free to share especially if you are subscribed. There is no shame in this blog. There is inspiration and information.

Struggles of Battling Mental Illness

Mental illness is complex for us who battle it every day. The shame that many of us feel is an understatement. The ways we are discriminated against for being different goes without saying.

The struggles I have faced can be overwhelming. I know I’m not alone, but it can feel like we are alone in the fight to manage our illness. Also, while fighting to be understood and accepted by those who love us and people in general.

A month of awareness changes nothing if hearts and minds toward individuals with mental illness don’t change.

There will always be a need for awareness. In the United States, we often see the picture that individuals with mental illness will harm others or are violent. Statistics actually show that individuals with mental illness are more likely to harm themselves than others. Often times the individuals in the media are just people with evil hearts that committed violent crimes.

It is these issues that make it challenging to struggle with mental health issues.

May is mental health awareness month don’t suffer in silence

Be the change. Be the difference the world needs.

Happy Mother’s Day

I have been fortunate to have many mothers in my life. My grandmother was very influential in my life as a child and made me the woman I am today. She loved me with a deep love.

She was also a big supporter in my battles with mental health or mental illness. About nine years ago I prayed for spiritual mothers. I have had many of them since that time. This included church mothers, godmothers, and friends.

A mother is someone who takes pride in ensuring the needs of others are met. God-fearing mothers put others’ needs before their own needs. My mother taught me how to pray and always told me to put God first. My spiritual mothers encouraged me to live a life that honors God in every way.

Mother’s Day reminds me of all the women that help me to grow and mature into the woman I am today. I learned that life is hard, but you can overcome anything with God.

I was taught that my relationship with God will carry me over the course of my life. During the storms I faced in my life my mother, grandmother, and spiritual mothers have been there for me every step of the way.

Mother’s Day is a day to honor the women in our lives that have held us up and made our lives better and helped us grow.

Mothers change the world every day. We become a part of this world through our mother’s womb. Mothers are the vessels to carry life in this world.

I want to wish all the mother’s in my life and all the mothers in the world a Happy Mother’s Day.

The Value of a Mother

Warm and cuddly when we are young

Should be our provider and protector

Stands up for us over the course of our lives

Builds us up when life beats us down

Surrounds us with love and guidance

If we are daughters teaches us how to be God-fearing women

Teaches us how to mother our children

Is our example of how to be a grandmother and elder of the family

Leaves a legacy of motherhood and a footprint of love for years to come

Mental Health Awareness Matters

Stigma is defined as a set of negative or often unfair beliefs that a society, group, or individual has about a group, or person.

The month of May is mental health awareness month. The color or ribbon is green. The first week of October is mental health awareness week.

Millions of people in the United States battle mental illness. Mental illness is always hard for people to understand because it is an invisible disability. You can not see a mind or brain that is unhealthy. It is hard to see anxiety, depression, irritability, suicidal thoughts, etc. These can be easily missed or misunderstood unless they are expressed by the person struggling with them. The battles individuals with mental illness face are real. There is no cure for mental illness.

The severity level or how much it disables the person varies from person to person. There are people who just seek therapy, or meditate to stay grounded or centered to manage stress. Others like myself need treatment, medication, and struggle to manage the stresses that come with everyday life. This does not mean we are weak, or inadequate in any way. It does mean our mental health disability impacts our daily lives.

Some of the most brilliant minds we know today battled mental illness. Robin Williams was one of the greatest actors of all time. He was one of the most iconic comedy stars. He battled depression and ultimately ended up taking his life.

Jennifer Lewis is an African American female actress. She has played many roles on television and in some of the most iconic movies like “The Temptations”.

Jennifer Lewis has shed light on the fact that she has battled bipolar disorder for most of her life. The most challenging part for her was that for many years she received no treatment. She did not know what she was battling. Later on, she realized through seeking help that it was bipolar disorder.

Many people believe that mental illness is something you pray away, but this is untrue and a form of stigma. Also, some believe that we are being possessed by a spirit, and if that spirit is under control we would be cured. These are all myths.

Individuals with mental illness are extremely gifted. We are often very artsy, or witty. We do well working in a trade field or working with our hands. Some of the issues we face as adults are because we are often misunderstood. We often realize and recognize more than people think we do.

Some people target individuals with mental illness and we can be manipulated, taken advantage of, or abused. This is not a reflection of our lack of awareness, but more of the craftiness of the person’s tactics to use and abuse.

Mental illness should not bring shame to those who battle it every day. More awareness is needed. Many people who haven’t been impacted by it do not understand individuals who battle mental illness. A lot of people suffer in silence to avoid stigma.

Also, many people decline proper treatment and live very challenging lives. For the small percentage of us that embrace, and strive not to suffer in silence, it is a rocky road to live.

Mental health awareness matters. If you are someone battling mental illness do not suffer in silence. Though it may seem impossible, reach out and get the help you need.

I have been on this journey for eighteen years. I know more than anything that it is my connection to God that makes a big difference. It helps the battles that we face as individuals with mental illness. All things are possible with God no matter what we face (Matthew 19:26).

Feel free to check out my book about the struggles I have faced battling mental illness.

The Dealt Hand: The Story of My Battle with Mental Illness

Mental Health Organizations

National Alliance on Mental Illness (http://nami.org) There are local affiliates across the US and surrounding counties where you live.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (https://www.samhsa.gov/)

Suicide Hotline: You can dial #988 and that will direct you to the suicide hotline from any mobile phone.

Change is Necessary

Are you resistant to change? Be careful how fast you answer. Another question would be, if your world as you know it changed, how would you respond?

Let’s take a look at the Israelites…

The Israelites were God’s chosen people. They became in bondage to a tyrant Pharoah king.

“Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we; come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and it happens, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land” (Exodus 1:8-10).

They were in bondage to this tyrant king. They were in bondage like many of us are in bondage to our past, relationships, addictions, people, jobs, grief, etc. God decided that they needed to be delivered or that it was time for a change for His chosen people.

“The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

This conversation between Moses and God is a similar conversation that God has with us when it’s time for a change. God is about change. Though God does not change, He is a God that is always working to change and mature us (Galatians 2:20). It is a work He will continue until it is complete (Philippians 1:6). This is the reason Jesus did not stay in the tomb but rose with all power.

Jesus is the sacrifice that changed everything. God gives us an opportunity to change, grow, and evolve. We often decline the offer because we are not ready or are not open to change.

“And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward” (Exodus 14:13-15). 

The Israelites were being delivered, but fear set in and they felt like going forward would be impossible. God told Moses to go forward instead of listening to the Israelites’ fear. Moses let them know God is with you. They were facing the army of the Egyptians and the Red Sea.

I am not sure what I would have done. I know that I have faced challenges and obstacles that evoked fear to move on. God is with us when it is time for us to change. He needs us to move into a new phase in our life. No matter how hard it may seem to set a new path, set the new path anyway.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:1-2).

Our bodies are the vessels we live this life in. Given to us and created by God. We are to live in these vessels holy and sold out for Christ. This seems easily written or said, but we all know it is hard. Many of us are plagued by all forms of abuse and other trials. Our bodies should be a reflection of God. The mind is to be renewed. The mind is the source of how we act and have our being in these bodies or temples. If we are not open to change and a renewed mind we will not live out our purpose.

We must begin to change the way we see ourselves and past hurt. We do this so that we are not aimlessly living with no purpose. It is essential to change and live a life that glories God. Though the world is turning away from the natural order of things. We must choose that the change we want to make is one that glorifies God.

I thought years ago, I would never make it through all the challenges I was facing. I thought my mental health issues were too great to master. They still give me quite a challenge. Though this is true every day I change a little at a time.

I try to remember to embrace change. The older we get the more centered and stuck in our ways we become. Change will always be necessary. You decide whether you are open to it or not.

The Israelites were facing the Egyptians behind them and the Red Sea in front of them. They chose to tackle the Red Sea and never look back. What is in front of you that you want to run from?

It’s time to tackle your Red Sea. Change is necessary.

Faith is Powerful

A few weeks ago, I posted about prayer and how it’s a spiritual weapon. Another important weapon we need to have in our toolbox is faith. Faith includes hoping and trusting God will do what He promises in the midst of the waiting.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). In this scripture the writer illustrates that faith is hoping and believing for what you cannot see and that has yet to be revealed or seen. With this in mind faith is trust in God. Many of us know God has promised things to us. The absence of what He promised makes us waver in trusting that the promise will fulfill itself and come to pass.

Ultimately this process is what matures our faith. There is nothing mystical about faith, but there is the need to read God’s word. So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ (Romans 10:17) That is the foundation of faith. When you read God’s word your faith matures. We see so many people in God’s word who believed and God worked through their faith or belief.

God’s word has been the foundation of faith since the Old Testament. In Hebrews, chapter 11 we are given a look back into how many like Abel, Noah, Abraham, and Sarah kept the faith (Hebrews 11: 4-11). They trusted the promises God made to them.

Some might ask the question does one have more faith than others? Has God given some people more access to trusting God and having faith?

“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not think of yourself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each the measure of faith (Romans 12:3).” God has given us everything we need to have faith and trust in God. It is up to us to use the faith God has instilled in us.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Faith and trust go hand in hand. It is hard to master faith as troubles come and we question and begin to lose trust in God. Trust is often lost as we face losses and hard times. The derailment of life and often being caught off guard by unfortunate circumstances are hard. It is hard for most of us.

“And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment. For she said to herself, If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well. But Jesus turned around and when He saw her He said “Be of good cheer, daughter, your faith has made you well” (Matthew 9:20-22).

This woman had endured a sickness for twelve years that no natural medicine could cure. She was tired of going through the sickness. She must have heard about Jesus and what He could do. She pressed her way to Jesus. He says in this scripture that it was her faith that made her well. Yes, there are some things that are not going away in our lives. We see that with Paul who had a thorn to buffet him (2 Corinthians 12:7). But there are certain things that God does want to heal, but our lack of faith hinders the healing from taking place. Deliverance is often found through believing things can and will change.

She had suffered for twelve years. I have battled mental health issues for eighteen years. Do I believe my mental health issues can one day be gone? Yes. I also understand that even if it remained God will help me to live with the issues I have.

God said to me years ago, “Even if your illness remains it won’t stop the call on your life. I can use you no matter what”. I share this because some people need to know that God can use us no matter what.

I have suffered battling mental health challenges. Even with these challenges, God has used me. I saw him help me believe that I can do things many said I would not do. It is my faith that pushes me to believe that despite my illness God allows me to do the impossible. He has pushed me to a higher depth of faith. I have said things God would do in my life even if people doubted me. Though they doubted, I was sold out that I would reach whatever God put in my path.

Faith is about believing despite what some may say is impossible or don’t understand. As this woman pressed through the crowd for her deliverance some people could have seen it as strange or weird. She pressed because she was sold out that she was going to be healed. This is the power of faith.

Ultimately, faith is powerful.🙏🏾💜💞

Bruised by Life

We all come to a point in life where we feel bruised by the struggles of our past. It can make us feel overwhelmed and stuck. We can feel like we are too broken or damaged to ever be whole. The healing process can seem impossible.

I must admit that the struggles of my past often have a hold on me. It’s like fighting to shed skin or an open wound that just won’t heal. As I blog week after week it helps me just as much as I hope it helps my readers. The truth is God is always refining us. He works on us through the pains of life.

There are some other truths about the things in life that bruise or hurt us. You can’t always spend life wondering how you could have made different choices. There is no fixing the past.

Starting over can seem impossible, but it’s a part of life. Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is like a rat running on a wheel going nowhere. Our failures don’t define us they mature us if we let them.

It may feel like, life has been so hard, but you should not accept the state you are in. Though you may feel that way, it is not true. I lost a lot a few years ago. If I had thought that was it for me, you would not be reading my blog. You have to keep working on yourself. Never give up. When you think it’s over God has a way of turning things around.

Life can hurt but you get stronger in the push and pull of life. Remember to keep God at the center of your life no matter what is going on. I am sure Jesus knew it would be the greatest pain to endure the cross. Despite the pain and bruises, He knew it was a part of the call on His life.

The things we go through are a part of our journey and the call on our lives. We all have our crosses to bear but just like Jesus, we are not bound by them. We will rise with all power.

There was a time when taking my life seemed like the answer to the pain I felt. I am so glad today I lived to let someone know the bruises of life hurt, but God redeems. It still gets hard. Life doesn’t stop.

There were even times when I thought my dreams were washed up. God showed me I will use what you have left (2 Kings 4:1-7). He said when you feel like it’s over that’s when I use you to do my best work.

The bruises of life can seem like they are wounds that won’t heal, but with time they do. God is an ever-present help and He does not need you to have it all together (Psalm 46:1).

Remember the bruises of life do heal. 💜🙏🏾