A Morning Prayer for Suffers of Mental Illness

I have lived with depression for many years and in all that time few people have known about it.  That is not unusual for those of us who suffer from depression. Depression, well all mental illness, is a hidden disease, a taboo disease. When someone suffering from a mental illness speaks up, they are given a lot of advice, most of it worthless, then people walk away and avoid you from then on.  Yes, the medical professions have finally begun to address mental illness for the disease it is. But, within the general population mental illness is still a stigma and affected individuals and their family go to great lengths to keep it hidden. You see most of our ideas of mental illness come from history where sufferers were thought to be possessed by demons or were the result of some shameful act in their or their family’s past.  So, keeping sufferers of mental illness hidden has a long, painful, and cruel history.

In fact, today it is only when a person with mental illness becomes a threat to themselves or others does anyone know about it. When that happens it is not medical personnel who become involved it’s the courts or the police and the sufferer is then stigmatized and hidden away either in a mental institute, or prison.  Mental institutes may or may not be helpful because they are poorly funded, and prisons, well they are simply store houses for the mentally ill.

In the last week a new spokesperson, Simone Bile, become the one who unlocked the door of mental illness and let in some light.  She admitted she was suffering, which was causing her to lose focus when she needed it most. For her safety and the safety or her Olympic Team, she withdrew from competition. That took courage, great courage, for her to say no when many would have been pressuring her to remain in the games.

What follows is a prayer for sufferers of mental illness, who like me have been living in the shadows for a long time.  I have lost friends to suicide because they couldn’t find the help they needed to crawl out of the darkness.  I know too many who today struggle just to survive in a world that doesn’t understand or care about them. I do not know the number of people who suffer from some form of mental illness.  But if we knew that number, I have no doubt that it would be the number one disease in this country. If we knew that mental illness affected more people than say cancer or heart attacks maybe we would have more funds to fight it, more personnel to treat it, and more compassion for sufferers.

A Morning Prayer for Suffers of Mental Illness
(Opening Prayer for Queen Anne Christian Church, Seattle WA.)

Creator, Partner, Friend,
I wait for light
In the darkness of my mind.
I call out but
I hear only echoes in the emptiness around me.

I am afraid to speak of my pain.
People do not want to hear,
To listen, to sit in silence with me,
I frighten them.
They fear not what they don’t know
But what they might learn.

Creator, Partner, Friend,
come to me and sit with me,
Listen to me.
Hold me in silence and give me comfort.
Don’t let me go,
be my light in the darkness
You are all I have, If I lose you
I am afraid I will lose myself.

Creator, Partner, Friend,                                               
I ask in humble prayer
For myself and others like me.
Open the hearts and minds of
Our loved ones, of strangers,
Give them courage
To confront their fears and
Reach out to touch us,
To hold us,
to listen to us,
To sit in silence with us,
To be with us in our suffering, our pain,
To be the light in the darkness.

I ask this, Creator, Partner, Friend
In the name of the Carpenter Rabbi
Who welcomed us,
Who sat in darkness with us,
And brought us into the light.

Ruth Jewell, ©August 1, 2021

2 thoughts on “A Morning Prayer for Suffers of Mental Illness

  1. Ruth, this is an amazing offering! Thank you ❤️ I too hid it in the shadows for too long… the military didn’t like it if anyone went to see Mental Health or “Life Skills” (the less threatening title)… it impacted security clearances (I had a Top Secret SCI twice in my 21 years on Active duty) and even careers. The chaplain’s office was a safe place with 100% confidentiality but few of us were trained counselors or therapists. I learned a lot by experience and working with the folks at Mental Health and being certified to teach Suicide Prevention and Intervention training. A dear friend and partner in ministry died by suicide shortly after I left for a new assignment. He and I had taught classes together and nobody saw it coming… thank you for sharing these prayers and being open with your readers ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comments Michael. It is so hard for us to admit, even to ourselves, that we have mental health issues, let alone tell anyone else. I am coming to grips with my depression and am learning, slowly, to let others in. What has amazed me is the number of people who now are coming forward to let me know they two are plagued with depression or some other form of mental illness. I hope this helps others come forward and speak out, only then can we all get the help and support we need. Blessings

      Liked by 1 person

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