Being real

I’ve been considering blogging again/more. (I once read that the cardinal rule of blogging is to never talk about lack of blogging or about renewed efforts/decision to blog more, but there you go.) I knew that if I were to really, honestly blog, it might involve a large amount of honesty and “being real.” I wondered if I was ready for that. In the past it was so much easier to be real about my struggles, and I’m not sure if age and wisdom or fear has tempered that. But here I am, and I thought I’d give it a shot.

I’ve had another recent run-in with my old friends, depression and anxiety. The collision was to the point that I had to withdraw from another semester of school and temporarily pull out of my job on unpaid sick leave. I have now spent two weeks at a Christian counseling center in CA, getting more intensive and concentrated help to overcome the depression and anxiety. It’s been hard; it’s been grueling. Most days I’m exhausted from the work and the therapy. But there you go, and here I am.

I used to talk a lot more online about my depression punctuated by bouts of anxiety. Again, I’m not sure what has tempered that more as the years have gone by. But one thing I still believe is that open and honest conversation about these kinds of things can help erase some of the stigma associated with it. It can help others open up about their own struggles; it can help us feel less alone. So I’m writing and letting you know what I’m going through. I hope that if you’re struggling, it will help you know you’re not alone. I hope if you know someone who’s struggling, you might be encouraged to reach out and offer to be a listening ear. And wherever you are, I hope that it helps us all realize that we don’t have to let fears or stigma define us. Real is real. Let’s be real, and maybe we’ll all end up a little better for it.

And most of all, I need to say that God is faithful. No matter what, God is faithful in ALL things. Always.

Ready for it to be done

I’m not gonna lie: it’s hard. And a lot of times I wish I was someone other than “me.”
I get really tired of depression. I get really tired of fighting it, and fighting anxiety. I’m tired of the pain in my chest when I sit panicked by the world.
Please just leave me alone.
I want to get better. I really do. And I try, and I fail, and I take more medicines, and I pray that they work.
My chest hurts so bad right now. It kills me to sit here every minute. I just want it over with. I’m ready for it to be gone.
It hurts, and it makes me want to cry. I’m ready for it to be done.
I just want to be normal, but I know that everyone hurts. Everyone hurts. But they’re not the ones sitting here in a battle that’s gone on for weeks. They don’t have to count the number of days since they broke their own skin for blood. Or maybe some of them do. But if they do, they’re like me — they know the pain, they’re tired of the war. We’re ready for it to be done.
One day it will end — hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Praise Him for the day that will come where sorrow will be no more. Every tear wiped dry, every eye clear, every heart glad. I can praise Him for that.
But for now, I sit here…and the pain in my chest just aches.
I’m ready for it to be done.

Mental Health Care = Priceless?

So I have a friend who is looking into seeing a counselor. Nothing is “majorly” wrong, he just (like most of us) has some things to work through. As someone who has seen many counselors, I know how much it has benefited my life and helped me become a healthier, stronger person. So my friend was given a recommendation of a great Christian counselor to see. As he looked into it, each session would cost $110. Insurance wouldn’t help pay for any of that until he had spent over $800. His options? To look elsewhere and see what he can afford.

I went to buy one of four prescription medicines I take. My employer had just changed my insurance, so before I handed them my new card, I saw that one of month’s worth of the generic prescription medicine I was about to buy was over $125. I am incredibly blessed that insurance helps cover it, because otherwise I’m not sure I could afford to be on one, much less the four medicines I take.

As I sat in the drive-through waiting to get my medicine, I was struck by the sadness of what mental health care costs. I know of people who deal with incredibly difficult issues, who really need physical and mental care…except they can’t afford it. So what’s worse than being depressed, bi-polar, or just working through hard times? The added stress and frustration of not being able to get the help you need to make it through.

In my counseling class last Monday, my professor talked about the privilege we have of walking with people in their pain. That’s what counselors get to do. That’s what I want to do. It makes me sad that we have to put a price tag on that process.

I don’t know what I’ll be like as a counselor, or even how/where I’ll be using those counseling skills. But I do know, if possible, I want to make it affordable. Yes, I know that medicines and professional care can/has to/should cost a little. But I hope that even if we aren’t professionals, we are willing to reach out to people who are going through hard times. Because no one should have to pay for someone to walk with them through their pain.

Soaring

I remember when we used to drive as a family west from Dallas/Ft. Worth on I-20. My daddy always talked about how he loved the wideness of Texas blue skies, I love I adopted. I would often watch the sky as my dad drove our family along that interstate. I would see birds fly over head. I watched them soar along, wings outstretched, winds carrying them effortlessly over us. I used to want to be like them.

When I was 14, I had my first bout of clinical depression. When I was 17, I began dealing with it off-and-on on a regular basis. Major depression, they told me. It was hard. Some days took so much effort to get through that giving up seemed easier. I used to feel like some of the birds I saw flying over TX I-20: flapping wings, struggling to rise above the wind that never stopped buffeting them. That’s how I felt. And I used to want to be like the birds I saw who could simply hold out their wings and soar, carried by the wind.

I am almost 24. I drove today to see my psychiatrist. For the first time in a long time, perhaps a couple of years, I am on 2 medicines instead of 5. I drove back home and saw a bird soaring over me. For the first time in a long time, perhaps ten years, I felt a little bit more like the bird that was soaring instead of the one that fought the winds.

Nice things that happened today:

  • I had a lovely drive to and from Ft. Worth for my appointment. I sang along loudly to the radio, grinning especially when my favorite songs came on.
  • I had a brief nap  in between getting home and work. I had a dream that would have made an awesome novel. When the kids from rec came to wake me up, I stumbled to work groggily. Watching Enchanted with them made me laugh and put me in a surprisingly happy mood for someone so tired.
  • I got to eat a Subway tuna sandwich, Cheetos, and Cherry Coke while watching three back to back Law and Order shows (CI, SVU, and original). A small moment that made my heart very content.

Please consider helping Mercy Ministries

Having once donated a small gift to Mercy Ministries in the past, I received this email today. I hope you will read over it and consider helping out this organization. In short, they are a non-profit organization who takes in young women (age 13-28) seeking freedom from life-controlling issues such as suicide, self-injury, depression, eating disorders, unplanned pregnancy, and physical/sexual abuse. This life-changing help is offered free of charge to the young women.Click on the following link for more information about who Mercy Ministry is and what they do. Please read the copy of this email below to learn more about their financial need, and consider giving some small gift so they can continue changing and saving girls’ lives. Even $5 can make a difference.

Dear Katy:

I felt the need to communicate with you via email today to make you aware of our current needs. So many of our friends and supporters have told me time and time again that I should let them know when we need help and how exactly they can help. We are in a challenging time financially in the ministry and need your help.

The truth is that during challenging times like these, we get more requests than ever for our services. The increase in calls from struggling young women only makes us even more thankful that we are able to continue to offer our services free of charge – just as God led me over 26 years ago. We are also working toward opening 40 more beds in our California home to respond to the demand and the ever increasing cries for help so that 40 girls can leave our waiting list and find healing through our ministry.

Unfortunately, we receive heart-breaking news from time to time of girls dying while on our waiting list. Just last week, we received a funeral program from the mother of a beautiful young woman who died at age 23 from an eating disorder while in the process of applying to Mercy Ministries. It is no exaggeration for me to say your giving means the difference between life and death for these struggling young women.

We realize that the country is going through difficult economic times, and we have seen a shortfall in giving as many of our own families and supporters are struggling, yet we are grateful for even the smallest donation. For those of you who are blessed financially, we ask that you help make up the loss of those who have been unable to give.

I thought an email would be the best way to communicate so that if you are in a position where you can give right now, then you can simply respond by giving online to provide us with immediate help. Click here to go to our website and give.

Lives are being transformed, but the problem is not solved. In the month of April, we graduated 25 girls from our U.S. homes. As we celebrated their changed lives and their restored hope for their futures, we also made room for 25 new girls to come into the program off of our waiting list. We are at a point where we are reaching more girls than we have ever reached before, but this is also putting more pressure than ever before on our finances.

So, I want to give you an opportunity to help. If you are able and feel led, please help by giving a gift today. If you know someone else who might want to help us, please send this email to a friend and know that regardless of the amount of your gift, it is greatly appreciated. Together we can make a great difference!

Thank you,

Nancy Alcorn
Founder and President