Monday, November 21, 2016

It's Time To Talk

I have been pondering about this post for some time now, not so much whether to make it but more what and how to say it. In fact I wasn't even sure what title to give it. For those who may be reading this post or are new to my blog, I just need to let you know that my hubby (Harry) suffers from a Mental Illness of Chronic Depression. That means the depression is ongoing and/or permanent.

This morning as I watched Harry hanging out the first load of washing before I went to work I was touched and had to smile and thank God for this. At the moment Harry is off work because continuing where he was working was tough on him and his depression was becoming worse. At the advice from our family doctor, who had been managing the situation from a medical view over the six months before, Harry finally resigned. Harry had felt humiliated and continually picked on and bullied. Because his meds had been increased to almost the highest level, over the last few months, it was decided for his mental health, that it was better for him to leave, rather than run the risk of something drastic happening. (Harry has had suicidal attempts in the past)

What has made things a little different this time and so in time the outcome, was the recent suicide of a long-time friend. We knew this man had suffered from a mental illness that had developed over the 5 or 6 years before hand but we were not aware that things had got so bad.
Because people don’t talk about it, even the ones who need to.
At our friends funeral it was so upsetting to experience the complete anguish and devastation of his adult children and others close to him.
As usual there is the unanswerable questions of:
Why did he do it?
Why did he not tell anyone that was how he felt?
Why did we not notice?
We have made a promise that we will be more aware of those around us when it comes to mental health and make sure we talk if we see people struggling.

In life I have come to try and find something good in every situation no matter how bad it is. It’s like offering thanks and praise to God in all circumstances

1 Thessalonians 5:18
18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

For me it was the comments Harry made after the funeral. He said anyone who is thinking of ending their life needs to go to a funeral and see how it affects others. One of the thoughts a person has when they are that low is that they believe that others, even the ones that love them the most, will be much better off without them being there. It’s hard to comprehend but they think they are too much of a burden, that they are of no benefit to anyone and a whole mixture of thoughts run through their head. The depression or mental illness they are struggling with will convince them that these thoughts are true.

A sufferer needs to be able to have the support to help them battle but until they are properly diagnosed or even recognise they have the illness the war can be lost. There are many ways and most of the time it will take a mixture of aids to help someone live as normal a life as they can. In most cases some form of medication is needed even if it is just in the short term to help them come to a place where other treatments can take benefit, while others will need medication for the life of the illness. I also believe that talking and being open about mental illness’s needs to be a top aid as well. The mind set I had, before I understood mental illness, that a person should just choose to be happy and all will be better, is quite naive. We don’t like to talk about it because we are scared of what to say or how to cope with the ‘victim’ or just generally to know or understand. So like many things it is education that needs to be had.

As I watched Harry this morning I was able to smile and thank God. Thank God that Harry is in control of his mental illness. Thank God that he has learnt from the experience of our friend that suicide is not an answer. Thank God that with my support he made the decision to leave a work situation that was extremely unhealthy for him. Thank God that although we are now on a sickness benefit and really struggling with finances we are getting by. Thank God that Harry has taken on jobs around the home to lighten the load for me and also that he is working hard all around the section.

At 63 in two months he still has two years before he can retire and so receive superannuation (which is higher than the sickness benefit) it is hard to know if he will be able to find employment when he is well. In the meantime he is using this time to make sure our gardens are producing food and the jobs that have been taking years to get done are slowly being ticked off the list.

So once more there is something to thank God for.

Numbers 6:24-26
24 “The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you     

  and give you peace.”

 2 Thessalonians 3:16 
16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

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