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A Sound Mind

I woke up around 5:30 am this morning, heartbroken for an ex-colleague who is struggling severely with his mental health and addiction. He is/was a literal genius, gifted so graciously and adventageously anointed. To witness his downward spiral via social media, broadcast for all the world to see, literally shook me outta my sleep.

Life is hard πŸ˜” and every once in a while, something reminds me to not take a sound mind for granted. I've had my battles--
my ups and downs--
my good days and my bad days.
I've struggled with depression and anxiety, accompanied by over/under eating. I don't know drugs, but I've been acquainted with alcohol.
I know heartbreak and heartache a little too well.
I know disappointment hidden behind a fake smile.
I know career successes met with personal failures.
I know what's it's like to feel alone even in a crowd.
Life is hard!

When I was a kid, I used to always hear people in church talking about "Thank God for a sound mind," and "I'm so glad I'm clothed and in my right mind;"

but I didn't really understand what a sound/right mind was until I almost lost it.

We sang about it in church and it was haphazardly thrown into sermons and prayers, but let's be real: we didn't talk about mental health back in the day...not in the black church...not in my black church. And so now, I'm 29 years old, I'm finally healing, I'm free, and I'm vulnerable so that my transformation can be the catalyst for someone else's breakthrough. I have a sound mind; but a sound mind isn't guaranteed. A sound mind isn't just something we pray for and sing about. For many, a sound mind in this day and age has to be worked for...and it's a communal effort.

While many faith communities are slowly moving in the direction (if they haven't already) of curating conversation and creating programming centered on mental health and wellness, many still have a long way to go. I can't help but wonder about all the church folk that turned their back on my colleague when he first started sinking--about all the folk who, instead of helping him seek professional help, talked about how "crazy" he was behind his back. 

I'm sad today because there's a part of me that has survivor's remorse--I feel guilty for having had a sound enough mind to seek help when my world felt like it was crumbling around me. I feel sad because my colleague is struggling and I don't know what else to do but pray. I feel sad because my solitary prayer doesn't feel enough. I feel guilty because I know that the prayers of the righteous availeth much, and yet, I have doubts. I'm sad because I want to share pieces of my sound mind with him...with everyone who is hurting and struggling and grasping for some thread of strength to hold on to, but there isn't enough of me to go around.

So, sadly, I'm thanking God for a sound mind today. I'm thanking God for something I feel we should all have but can't or don't because systems fail us, because diseases assault us, because addiction is real, because mental illness is still stigmatized, because those that are struggling are shunned from their communities, because health care systems forsake us, because life is hard.

Is a sound mind even worth it if your heart is broken for your brother?

National Suicide Prevention Line
1-800-273-8255

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) -- National Helpline 
1-800-662-4357

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