When I did more than just pray

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Praying is essential in Christian life. However, there was a time when I needed to do more; I asked for help.

I have a heart for people with mental illness. I can’t compare my situation with others because mental illness varies with people. For some, it can be a lifetime battle. Some are getting better, and sadly, others give up. I am still alive, so I want to make a difference. For now, I can only share my experiences and my faith.

One thing that I would like to put emphasis on is the stigma regarding mental illness. One cannot just snap out of mental illness. It is like saying “walk it out” to someone who broke his or her leg. There are emotional, psychological, and spiritual aspect when it comes to mental illness. Praying helps, a listening friend helps, and so is therapy.

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Therapy Session Album by NF (He creates amazing personal lyrics)

I am on a weekly therapy. I drive to downtown San Diego and talk to a therapist. This is what I think about therapy:

The bad

  • The stigma regarding mental illness. It still difficult to talk about going to the therapy because of the negative reactions such as; “he is probably crazy,” “Is Jesus not enough for you, why do you need to go to therapy?” or “what is wrong with you?” these uneducated statements are unhealthy for someone who is already going to therapy.
  • The process of recalling hurtful memories. There will be a time when the therapist will ask questions that are just to hard to answer. Even though, I know the answers, it is hard to say it in words. It brings out hurtful, suppressed, and unwanted memories. There were times when I was spaced out for good minutes picturing, remembering those memories.
  • The feeling of being alone. My abandonment schema adds more difficulties to this idea. There are times that I feel alone tackling this healing process. It is not that people do not care but they are oblivious when it comes to mental health.
  • The wondering if complete healing is possible. I have read many psychology journals and articles that healing is possible based on their experience. However, if you are the one who’s going through the struggle, it seems that all hope is gone. It is even disheartening if I experience relapse of depression.
  • The pain of missing your friends. I just have to move forward that some of my friends will never understand my situation. In order for me to heal properly, I have to say goodbye to wonderful friends. It sucks, but I have to so I can heal well.

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The good

  • The power of writing. Blogging and Video posting are probably the tools that keeps me going. It gives me power that I can influence others with my writing. There is this joy on reading encouraging responses from other people that have mental illness. Blogging helped me flushed out whatever crazy thoughts that I have built up in my mind. My blogging is also a little personal step to raise awareness on mental illness.
  • The child that is happy. Even though recalling past memories are painful, it also allows my inner child to grieve. It actually gives me freedom and peace. It feels like a curse that I have been carrying for so long has been lifted. I can not change the past, but I have the power to change my future. It is mind-blowing how the effects of childhood trauma can still devastate an adult. And it was more devastating when I disclosed it then it was dismissed. I am so thankful that my therapist have taken me step by step to understand my situation so that I can heal and have a better future.
  • The little joy of laughter. I tend to appreciate little things now. I am thankful for people that are actually trying to reach out for me. I am glad that I have new friends who know my mental disorder and still hangs out with me. They treat me normally without any signs of judgement. Therapy helps me see things differently about life especially when it comes to simple thing such as; saying “yes” or “no” to someone, enjoying a company of new people, and laughing on silly small things.
  • The hope in Christ. My therapist also strengthens my faith in Jesus. We talk a lot about identity. We talk about false idea regarding myself that I have built up in order to handle traumatic experiences. We talk about knowing abusive people in my surrounding and how to respond to them. Most of all, therapy helps me to understand that psychotherapy, psychology, and psychiatry are god-given gifts to humanity.
  • The love of family. I was really glad that my new pastor supported me with this therapy. Even though, I am missing old friends and family, I am actually better away from them because it gives me time to heal. Betrayal, gossip, and misjudgment were so hurtful that I could no longer handle it. However, God is faithful and provided help during my breaking point. There were people that went out their comfort zone to reach me. (Honestly, I got in trouble, because I was not supposed to hang out with them because an adult thinks that I am danger to all. But my friends went to my house and got me out of my room. The trouble was all worth it. Thank you FAB4, U-man and Dnamps. I am alive because of you. And for that misinformed adult, peace!).

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I do not really know what lies ahead. Do I have to go through therapy for the rest of my life? Right now, I don’t really care. I know that I am a sinner, I am sick, but God loves me, and I love Him.

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