I am an Avocado…I mean, I am an Advocate! But Avocados are pretty good, right?
If you haven’t already noticed, I get fired up about topics of body image, mental health, and eating disorders. I also like to speak up for people with depression and anxiety. Because of the mental illness stereotypes, these problems are very misunderstood. However, we shouldn’t have to talk about these things in the shadows. The only way to spread knowledge and defeat stereotypes, I guess, is to talk about them and out in the open.
Mental illness is a real, legit issue that many people deal with.
Having depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, negative body image, or poor mental health doesn’t make you a bad person.
I wish someone would have said that to me years ago.
Because I’ve neglected to address my issues for a long time, I’ve suffered for it. So now, I recognize that mental health is a big part of my life, and I acknowledge it by blogging about it and sharing my experience with others. It’s not my whole life, just a part of my life…
Recently, I’ve been trying to gather resources for Catholic women struggling with mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. There is a lot of information on the web for Catholic women. And there is a lot of information about mental illness. However, there is very little information for the two together.
I found one website. One…
“Beliefnet” is a place designed to give Christians support for overall health - mental health included.
I was shocked that I only found one option for people of faith when I “Google searched”. But then I remembered what kind of world we live in, and I wasn’t shocked anymore.
The other day, someone told me I was an advocate for the untouched population of Christian women struggling with these various types of mental illnesses. I first thought it was funny because the word “advocate” always makes me think of “avocado”.
But then, I realized that being an advocate is way too much pressure for me. I started thinking, “what else is out there for us?” Women and men of faith struggling with a mental disorder have to constantly sift through treatments and self-help methods if they want to stay in the heart of the Church.
...Don’t think I’m getting a big head because I have big fancy blog now. I don’t write to be popular or so that a lot of people will read it. I am only sharing my story because if I keep it in my own head, I’ll go crazy…literally. It helps me to be open and honest with everyone whether or not anyone reads my ramblings.
It’s healing to be transparent about your problems. You don’t have to be perfect all the time.
You can do amazing things when you are not trying to pretend to be someone else.
So for me personally, while trying to get help for my own problems, I often found myself in a dilemma. I felt like I had to be on guard at all times, because I know my soul is important.
Wouldn’t it be helpful to find healing and support through the church?
I know that some parishes already have groups to support mental health and such. So I started thinking about what would make a successful group.
I think it would need these three components:
Education: because there are many misconceptions about mental illness. A lot of people do not understand what goes on in the mind of someone struggle with a disorder such as an eating disorder or depression. Education and understanding, as you might know, can go a long way when starting any group.
Compassion: because dealing with mental illness takes patience – a lot of patience – for the person suffering and for their loved ones. Christ is the best example of compassion; He came to earth and made friends with sinners. What patience that must have taken!
We can learn from Jesus how to treat others. He taught that the greatest commandment is Love: not fixing every problem, not making everyone believe the same things you do, not having the best of everything, and not being perfect.
Listening: because everyone has a story. Everyone’s life journey is different. And everyone has something to offer to the world. We cannot learn if we cannot listen.
I don’t think I am ready to start a group yet. But I could definitely do an online forum. I am looking into what it takes to start something like that. Would you like to participate in an online discussion about mental health?
Do you know of any websites that help Christians recover from mental illness?
If I have more options to turn to I won’t feel so much pressure to be an avocado…I mean an advocate!
Thanks for reading. I am looking forward to hearing from you.
Now, I’m off to make some guacamole.