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 Godโ€™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 donโ€™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 donโ€™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.

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.

God Answers Our Prayers

Many people wonder does God hear their prayers. God does hear our prayers. The issue we may face is that what we pray for may not be in God’s will. It may not be His will despite how bad we desire the things we want. Years ago I was diagnosed with severe mental illness.

I was raised in the church. I knew praying was how people tried to fix their problems. I thought I could pray away my mental illness. As the years rolled on I would learn about God’s will. He has a perfect plan for our lives.

For many years I thought God failed to answer my prayers. As time went on I began to see that God did not need to answer my prayer about mental illness. The truth was it was a part of the plan. Once I realized that I began to live free and accept that chronic illnesses exist.

My illness was no different. Many believers feel mental illness is some spirit that needs to be prayed away from a person. The problem I have with that is if you can accept chronic illnesses like cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure my illness was no different.

I want people who suffer from mental illness or any illness to know that God has a plan. As it stands today research tells us that mental illnesses have no cure.

There are things that we go through that often we can’t understand or don’t make sense in our natural understanding. Though this is true God is still God. I had to learn this because, after eighteen years, I realized that God answered my prayer the way He saw fit.

While I was praying it away God was teaching me how to live with it. The years came and went. There were a few hospitalizations, but God was with me through it all.

There were times when things could have been worse than they happened in my life. A lot of the struggles I faced brought me closer to God in many ways. Some of the things I went through were also humbling experiences.

We must remember God does answer prayers. I wanted God to take away what I felt I could not handle. God knew what I did not see. I felt the load was too big. God saw that I had the strength and courage to battle mental illness and not be consumed by it.

The road became too rocky many times. There were times when I thought I wouldn’t make it. I endured sleepless nights and being misunderstood. For every trial, God showed me grace. It was not because I was perfect or did everything right. It was because that is just what God does.

My prayer life got stronger. I don’t take certain things for granted like I used to. I learned that there is nothing like family no matter what. We all get it wrong. We hurt people and people hurt us. It may be unintentional and other times we hurt others because we are hurting.

We must incorporate forgiveness as well. Forgiveness is every day. Forgiveness is also about forgiving yourself. “Then Peter came to him and said, Lord how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times? Jesus said to him, I do not say to you up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22). Jesus was not giving forgiveness a limit He was making the point that it’s over and over.

A strong prayer life does not make troubling times stop. It does make them easier to bare. God may not answer your prayers the way you want Him to, but He still answers prayers.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6)”.