Mental Illness: Blessing or a Curse?

We’ve all been there. Whether you believe in Jesus Christ, karma, or positive energy–we’ve all had those moments. The moments where we just can’t seem to get out of a rut. We do all the right things, we have supportive friends, we make positive changes, we recognize our inability to do life on our own and yet, things are still overwhelmingly out of our control.

I’ve talked about it a bit before, but today I want to share authentically without advice, without pretence and without any false notion that I’ve got all the answers. I have mental illness. I struggle daily with debilitating depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. Any one of these on their own is hard to handle, but being blessed with the trifecta is a living nightmare.

There are days I feel like a conquerer. I say “take that” to my illness’s face as I do something that scares me or is difficult.  Other days, like this week (and today), I feel like the blankets on my bed are made of space titanium and I am unable to move them or my limbs to be motivated. Strangely enough, I have a lot to be thankful for. Depression and Anxiety have little to do with our haves and have nots—it’s deeply connected to how we view reality.

For example, I’ve been praying for healing for years. Ever since I first began to know Jesus and follow Him, I’ve asked to have this burden lifted from my life. I’ve experienced some great triumphs and I’ve also had deep, dark, and desperate lows. I know that God can heal me, and that He wants His children to live joy filled lives that trust in Him completely. So, knowing the Bible fairly well, I cling to those promises that the answer to my healing prayer isn’t “no” but “not just yet”.

This is great, until like today, I pray for a friend with their own health issues and see immediate answer to prayer–not just an answer, but the one they’re longing for. It is here that my OCD and Anxiety kicks into over drive. I obsess over why my prayer didn’t work. Did I not have enough faith? No, that can’t be it–I prayed for my friend in faith and they were healed. Does God not want to heal me of this? No , that can’t be it His word speaks differently. Am I missing some lesson that He’s trying to teach me? And I go on and on for days.

There is no answer. There I said it. God alone knows why, when and how He chooses to bless His children. The change in perspective for me comes in how I view my illness. Yes, it is exhausting. Yes, it is a battle. Yes, it effects my ability to lead a functional life at times. BUT…and this is a big one…it also allows me to see God show up in ways that I would miss entirely if I were healthy. I get to see Him take care of me when I cannot. I get to experience His love from strangers and friends, most of whom do not know what I am going through. I get to feel His comfort when I am feeling all alone in a group of friends. He is my source, the strength when I have none, the light in the darkness and the reason I keep breathing.

You can do it too. He’s got you.

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