May is Mental Health Awareness month and, after recent events, I have decided to be transparent with you guys and let you in on what my life has been like in the past few years.
My mom is diagnosed with a mental illness and, in my culture, in order to preserve reputation it is detrimental to talk about anything of this sort. But dealing with a family member who suffers with a mental illness is frustrating, overwhelming and not talked about enough.
It. Is. Hard.
There’s no better way to put it. Seeing your parent slowly deteriorate into the characteristics of a child is more burdensome than what any “regular” twenty-something -year-old experiences. Not only that, but seeing the spouse of that parent not being proactive in dealing with the issue at hand is even more frustrating.
I have learned how to be strong, how to hold back my true feelings for fear of being labeled as weak and the daughter of a crazy woman. I have learned that regardless of my circumstances, the unity in family should be there, but it feels as if it’s not. On the contrary, it seems as more division is being caused than anything else.
Through this whole struggle of seeing my mom with her mental illness and how my dad has reacted to it has taught me what I would want in a husband, and it’s not someone who isn’t willing to do the tough part just so that he can save face. Granted, I do understand that he didn’t sign up for this.
I have learned that I have gotten stronger after having left the house almost a year and a half ago. I am more sure of who I am in Christ and my identity is not determined by whether my parents say I’m worthless or an unloving daughter. Ultimately, I am a new creation and I have been born again into God’s family and the Body has been the best support system.
I have learned that not everyone is going through what I am going through but that’s okay because God is still good and He is using even this tough part for His glory and my good. I am learning that in order to show someone that you love them and care about them, you are willing to do even the hardest part- like getting law enforcement involved. Facing opposition has become more and more prominent during this struggle and I feel like I am the only sane person, most times. This is my dysfunctional family, and I am thankful that the Lord has placed me in a family which He is using to grow me.
Anyone who has dealt with a family member that has a mental illness knows that it is so hard to find someone that understands your situation. I haven’t been so lucky, yet, to have a friend that I can talk to about the issues going on at the house and how they handled the situation because they have already gone through it and vice versa. Either way, ultimately, I need to rely on Jesus. I know that He knows my situation and my heart behind this and he won’t leave me or fail me.
I was meditating on Psalm 23 and even though people say this Psalm at funerals these verses stuck out to me as to how God is guiding me through this tough part of my life.
“He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” Psalm 23:3-4, NLT
I know that this thorn I have been given is only temporary and in retrospect it has shown me a lot on how to rely, wholeheartedly, on God’s promises. I wake up and cling onto Him because that’s the only way that I know I will be able to survive on this side of eternity.