Thanksgiving – Coping with mental illness

“Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens.”
I Thess 5:16-18 (MSG)

coping with mental illness sad thanksgivingWhat? I’m supposed to go around with a happy face pasted on?

Days when our loved ones’ mental illness is causing great distress for everyone, it is hard to even think about cheerful. Hallucinations, violent outburst, or self-harm are hardly at the top of anyone’s praise list.

Giving thanks in all things is not going to instantly cure our mentally ill loved ones. It is not going to make them take their medication or even seek treatment. What can we do when thanksgiving and cheerful seem so far away?

Focus on God

First, our focus changes from the situation to God. Even when we are saying “Thank you” through gritted teeth, we are acknowledging His Lordship in our lives.

Focus away from the terrible

Second, once our focus is away from the terrible thing happen and turned to the Healer, we gain a new perspective. We are no longer here and now in the turmoil. We are transported to the spiritual realm that allows God to do his work — in us and in our loved ones.

Focus on the one thing

Third, once we are looking away from all sadness and distress that goes with mental illness we really can find something to be truly thankful for, which leads to being cheerful.

How do you cope with the day-to-day uncertainties of mental illness? 

Is a loved one suffering from a mental illness? Do you feel alone? Do you just need to “talk?”

Join Shattered Lives, a secret Facebook group for family members and friends. (No one outside the group will see you are a member of the group or your posts.) Shattered Lives is a safe place to share your experiences and feelings. To join Shattered Lives fill out this short form.  (Facebook doesn’t allow direct adds to a secret group. Complete instructions are at this link.)

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