One thing after another, I was led to read this book, in which Emma Scrivener talks about mental health issues in a very courageous and graceful way. It’s the first book I read on this topic. I’ll certainly be reading more. And I think it’ll be good for church to talk more about it for many reasons. I remember hearing someone saying that everyone should join Celebrate Recovery*. I thought of it as someone’s passion about their ministry, but I can now understand. (*Celebrate Recovery is a Christian twelve-step program designed to facilitate recovery from a wide variety of troubling behaviour patterns.)
First of all, the book is educational. Like I said, I knew next to nothing on these topics. The explanations in the book are clear and easy to relate to. The stats show how widespread and how serious the issues are. The book talks about six particular issues: hunger (eating disorders), anxiety, control (OCD), shame (self-harm), anger (aggression) and despair (depression).
More importantly, the book is a bit of a revelation. It’s like before I knew the word ‘teal’, that colour was just a gradient between green and blue that caused endless arguments between me and my husband. But now I know its name, I see it everywhere. After I watched a couple of episodes of SpringWatch, I don’t see ‘birds’ anymore. I can see robins, blue tits, great tits and bullfinches. After reading Emma’s book, I can suddenly spot the symptoms of mental health issues in my own life. Praise God for his impeccable timing, my mother is making the same discovery at the same time.
Emma is also very generous and helpful in sharing her knowledge and experience. It’s like having a guide in a new country explaining why people would stare, tut, or laugh at my certain behaviours. Even just after a very quick reflection, I thought there might be a reason behind my periodic ‘clear out’ of my house, my obsession in spotless notebooks and print-like handwriting, as well as my Eeyore-like attitude towards going away for holidays. It’s like it being pointed out that the dandelions in my life are weeds and I probably shouldn’t keep them just because they’re flowering.
Thanks Emma for the book and I thank God for your honesty, courage and generosity. Hope you and family are well in lockdown.