There’s No CaringBridge for Depression

Today marks the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Month. It’s also the day after yet another shooting –  this time where I live.  At this writing, two are dead and four are injured who were in class at the UNC Charlotte campus yesterday when someone started shooting.

Lord have mercy.  Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.

I’m going to make a assumption here that you might not make, but it helps me make sense of such moments:  the shooter is a desperately sick human being.  Maybe the shooter is also racist/sexist/himself traumatized/uncontrollably angry.  But his brain is broken. He is mentally ill.

I will share that I, too, am mentally ill.  I deal with depression for which I take medication daily and I see a therapist almost every week.  My illness is not the same as that of a serial killer or a white nationalist or a person with any number of other brain disorders.  But the stigma of mental illness is a stigma for us all.  And it shouldn’t be.

I’ve had cancer and I’ve had depression, but there is no CaringBridge for mental health issues.  (And my cancer was so long ago that CaringBridge wasn’t a thing back then.)

I’m happy to wave at you if we run into each other at the counseling office because it means that both of us are taking care of ourselves.  Self care is self care whether we are getting a mammogram, a colonoscopy, a six-month dental cleaning, or a massage. Or talking with a counselor.

We have a lot of work to do out there in the world.  And we need to be in the best shape possible so that we can do what God’s calling us to do.

For more information about Mental Health Awareness, check this out.  And here in Charlotte, I recommend Presbyterian Psychological Services.

One response to “There’s No CaringBridge for Depression

  1. Thank you for sharing this. Been there, done that, don’t particularly care for the T-shirt. But life is life, as they say (or maybe don’t say, but it’s all I can muster this soggy Wednesday). I have no words for the UNCC shooting because words don’t help anymore. It’s past time for America to act, but (because therapy has taught me to at least try to look for the positive) we have made progress. Not as much as is needed, clearly, but progress nonetheless. I have lots of words for the rest of this brave piece, all of them supportive and kind. American culture has a very strange relationship with brain diseases, with depression being one of the most misunderstood. I am trying these tricky days to be aware that other people carry heavy burdens, some much heavier than mine, even if they are not immediately obvious. It takes fortitude and bravery to remain engaged in our world. I view counseling as so many trips to the well, digging for fresh wellsprings to drink your own water. Kudos to you, Jan, for pointing the way for others, and for pouring out no small measure of fresh, clean water for those in Charlotte and elsewhere. There is a balm in Gilead. Take care.


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