You texted me last night. It was two in the morning, and even though I was half asleep, I woke up with happiness when I saw your name on my phone. The light was blinding. As you texted me, your words were scrambled as "Talya" turned into "Hilary". To "Jade". You were drunk, and as your requests started with pet names and ended with pictures, I cried. I started to remember how it felt when you bit my neck, and when there was nothing left but open veins and half eaten skin, you decided you liked girls who had more meat on their bones. I placed my phone down on my bed and stumbled through the apartment, stopping in the kitchen. I opened the fridge, finding a half empty bottle of wine on the fridge door. I grabbed the bottle by the neck, nearly strangling it. I popped the cork as quietly as I could to make sure I didn't wake my parents. I closed the fridge, dragged myself to my bed and grabbed my phone. I made my way into the bathroom, closing the door behind me. I sat on the bathroom floor and began my own personal drinking game. Every time I read a text that made my heart fall to my stomach, I took a drink. Every time you asked me to talk dirty to you because you miss the sound of my moans and the way you felt inside of me, I took a drink. Every time you called me "baby" because my name isn't the first name you remember when alcohol fills your veins replacing your blood, I took a drink. Every thirty seconds I found myself kissing the top of the wine bottle, throwing it back into my mouth, as it danced with my taste buds until they were weak in the knees. The burning sensation that lingered in my mouth reminded me of the poison you spit down my throat as you wrapped your hands around my neck. And though I had my hand wrapped fully around the neck of the bottle, it still managed to take control of me as I allowed every ounce of alcohol to trickle down my neck, giving into its presence. I finished. It was gone. And soon you were gone too. And as you said your goodbyes and I lay broken on the floor, I look at the bottle. Weak and cold with nothing left to offer. I held the bottle in my arms taking notice of the hallow feeling. I took the bottle and put it on my dresser along side the other bottles I had collected because I couldn't seem to throw them away. You never understood that. You always expressed your love for recycling bottles that no longer made you feel drunk.
On The Crazy Kaleidoscope
The unfortunate recent suicide of Robin Williams has caused the topic of mental illness to come into vogue. Yet I have seen very little talk of how Christians should respond when someone in the church has a mental illness. Mental illness not only affects our relationships with other people, it affects our relationship with God.
Mental illnesses, which include depression, bipolar, PTSD, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia, are a part of the life of many people in our society. Yet it carries a stigma that prevents many with mental illness from reaching for out for help. This is especially so in the church, where mental illness is often seen as a condition resulting from a lack of faith or a hidden sin. I am bipolar. From personal experience I will present some ways that the church can be a caring presence to those who struggle with mental illness.
The Bible tells us to be content and to have joy in all circumstances. I have been told that if I would simply follow the Bible, I would not be depressed. Yet mental illness is not something that can be snapped out of from hearing these words from another well meaning believer. In fact, it can make the person feel even more guilty and worthless for not being able to be a good enough Christian in their despair. Mental illness is not caused by a lack of faith and a refusal to trust in God. Instead, mental illness stems from a combination of chemical imbalances and triggering life events.
Mental illness colors one’s perception of God. Depression feels like a black abyss. When I go through these dark days, I can’t get out of bed. The things I used to enjoy seem to require too much energy and seem unappealing. Simple housekeeping tasks require more effort than I can possibility exert. I cry. I sleep. I stare at the ceiling, feeling that I am not good enough and that God has left me.
Many people throughout the Bible felt that God had abandoned them as well. Even Jesus in his final days on earth asks why God has forsaken him. It is ok to feel that way- we don’t need feel guilty about it. Often in hindsight you can see where God walked with you even when you couldn’t see him at the time. It is during these times when we can’t believe in the goodness of God for ourselves, we need someone to be like the friends who lowered the paralytic through the roof so he could be healed. We need someone to believe for us.