My True Love Saved Me!
by Dawn Lawless
HELL IS REAL, and I make no apologies for my language. Why? I truly believe mental illness (seasonal or chronic) has to be the closest earthly experience of what we can fathom Hell to be. I know Hell is real. I’ve lived it, and I’ve witnessed it hundreds of times over the years in my practice as individuals and families have been broken by lies. Today, I will talk openly about mental illness, not as a weakness, but as an illness. I will shout it if necessary, but hear me. Mental health is real, and ALL of us and our relationships are affected by it!
Building on our theme from last month’s call to action-BE COURAGEOUS, I want to share a story about the love of my life. Some may judge, others may pity, but my prayer is that most will know that connection through love is the ultimate goal.
My lowest point in life, and I’ve had plenty, was right after the birth of our first child. Clinically, this was called Postpartum Depression, but for me, in that season, it was simply called Hell. Somewhat experienced as a clinical social worker, I knew the signs. I knew the diagnosis, and I knew I needed help, but I was lost. My brain chemistry was so out of balance, and every emotion was crashing over me like a tidal wave. I could not escape the thoughts that seemed to be holding me under. I rejected my loved ones, who tried to support me through my illness, but they had no idea what to do. We didn’t talk about mental illness (even though I’d been to graduate school and made a career in the field). They weren’t equipped to navigate the available resources or the necessary medication options, and I was drowning in my own shame. All of my fears (those built on lies) were thrashing me from the inside out as I realized the incredible responsibility of having another human life fully dependent on me. I broke.
Sitting in a pool of tears, questioning whether I should continue living, and wondering why God would allow this, I prayed for relief. Then He showed up. It was a simple gesture of love, the only one that I could accept in that special moment. He knew exactly what I needed and He provided. He is the love of my life. There is nobody on earth who can do what He can do-not my husband, not my mother, not my best friends, and most definitely not my children. It was him alone. He saved me, and He continues to carry me.
CALL TO ACTION
You can impact change, and you are needed! Lives are being destroyed because of the social stigma related to mental illness, and it will take each of us working together to overcome this stigma. If this were cancer, you wouldn’t just say, “Get over it!” Yet, that is exactly what we do each time we deny the importance of our brains and our mental health. Courageously, we are asking you to stand up against the stigma by taking these few action steps toward a healthier community.
***To get involved and learn how you can BE THE CHANGE this year, contact us at charlotte@counselingconnect ions.org.
To connect with Dawn Lawless, LCSW, LSOTP directly, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org