12 Nuggets of Wisdom from My Experience with Mental Illness: Part 1


Living with a mental illness for the past fifteen or so years has been a harrowing experience. I’ve had some up’s, but many down’s. Thankfully, however, God has enabled me to learn from my experiences and to develop a few tactics in order to live a more enriched and satisfying life. I would like to share these with you, with the hope that you can use these “nuggets of wisdom” in your own life.

  • Recovery is a process — it doesn’t happen overnight. I cannot count the number of times I have thought to myself or even said aloud, “I want to be better, NOW!” Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.There are many aspects to a person’s recovery, and each need to be addressed over a period of time. Yes, I hate not knowing when I’m going to be “better”, but I have learned that each day is a new opportunity to learn and to grow and to improve.
  • It’s important to take responsibility for your own recovery. It’s one thing to want to get better because your spouse or your children or any other person/people desire(s) it, but it’s much more effective when you have the desire within yourself to overcome your areas of difficulty and to become the best person that you can be. This gives you motivation that you wouldn’t always have if you were attempting to heal for the sake of someone else.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s humbling and embarrassing at first to realize that you need outside help in order to work towards healing, but the sooner you admit this truth to yourself, the closer you will be to getting connected with the resources that can help you in your recovery.
  • Widen your support group. This was (and still is) a difficult endeavor for me. I rely greatly on a very few number of people with whom I am close, and have always had a hard time knowing how to reach out and get the extra support that I need. This support could be from a pastor, a church group, a counselor, a friend, a family member, a recovery program, or a group that meets to specifically discuss mental health issues. The goal is to have people around you on whom you can rely, as opposed to only having one person to reach out to. This is not healthy for yourself, or for the other person.
  • Don’t be ashamed of your mental illness. Unfortunately, there is still a large stigma related to mental illness. Many people just don’t understand, because they haven’t had this type of experience themselves. But having a battle with mental illness does not make you any less of a person, or any less “normal” than anyone else. Even though I have never felt “normal,” I am learning that everyone has areas in which they struggle; and although they may be different areas, we all share the common need to grow and improve and to overcome the obstacles in our lives.
  • Learn as much as you can about your mental illness. As is often said, knowledge is power. Do whatever it takes to grow in your understanding of your illness. Whether it be researching the nature and possible cause(s) of the illness, searching for available treatment options, or exploring different coping skills that you may be able to use to improve your quality of life, it is extremely important to educate yourself in all aspects of your illness.

I will continue with the last six “nuggets of wisdom” soon. Thank you for reading, and I sincerely hope that what I have learned from my own struggles can be even a small tool to help you (or someone you know) in your (or their) journey.

Here is a link to 12 Nuggets of Wisdom from My Experience with Mental Illness: Part 2!

He Never Lets Go


I have so many thoughts running through my mind right now, I don’t even know where to start. This past Wednesday, I was discharged from the behavioral health program that I had been attending for twelve weeks. I learned so much during this time, and I definitely feel like it was worth it. I acquired knowledge about myself and my illness. I learned coping skills to use when I am overcome with anxiety. And I regained the hope that I had been lacking for quite some time.

However, this is not the end of the race. Already I have faced challenges that make me doubt my progress, because of how I have responded to them. I had a follow-up psychiatrist appointment on Thursday, and I prepared for it by printing out directions and by using my GPS–but somehow I still ended up getting lost. My panic in those moments of trying to figure out where I was and how I was going to get to the doctor’s office and would there be any consequences, was strong, and I was unable to overlook it. I was so worked up when I walked in late to the Dr.’s appointment that it took me a good fifteen minutes sitting with the doctor just to calm down. Needless to say, my anxiety is still there.

Then I was finally able to get in touch with someone from Temporary Disability yesterday, who I have been trying to reach for a month, only to learn that my application had been denied again because of a discrepancy about the dates listed. But thankfully, they told me what I can do to fix this error, after which there is a possibility that I could be approved for benefits. Praise God!

Nothing is ever easy, and nothing will ever be perfect. I really need to come to terms with these truths. I want to float through life without any pain or problems, but that is just not the reality of how the world works. God has allowed difficulties into our lives–into MY life–so that we will draw closer to Him. The sooner I accept these realities, the more prepared I will be to face what is ahead.

All I can say is that I’m SO glad that God is holding onto me–and that my relationship with Him doesn’t depend on my ability to hold on to Him. He will never let me go, and because of this truth, I have the strength and hope to move forward.

“You Never Let Go”
by Matt Redman

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I’m caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won’t turn back
I know You are near

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
A glorious light beyond all compare
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
We’ll live to know You here on the earth

Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You