Mental Illness, Hope, and leaving the choices to God

Rick Warren's 27 year old son committed suicide last week. 
He posted this shortly after it happened: 
"[Matthew] struggled from birth with mental illness, dark holes of depression, and even suicidal thoughts. In spite of America's best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided. Today, after a fun evening together with Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his life."
From what i've heard and learned and read, Matthew Warren was a soft-spoken and warm hearted young man...but his whole life had struggled with mental illness and depression.  

As a tragedy like this is bound to do, countless conversations, tweets, essays, blog posts, etc swarmed the interwebs.
I found interesting this quote from a psychologist who wrote a brief article about the matter: 
"Matthew...died from emotional pain, not from the self-inflicted bullet the autopsy shows. The fatal wound came from a cesspool of emotion and deep personal agony.The internet yak-yak blaming of Matthew’s homosexuality or Rick Warren as Matthews’ source of pain is absurd and should stop immediately.Those who spread such venom have absolutely no factual basis for their statements. Citing Leviticus will not serve to reinforce idiotic blogging."

Ann Voskamp, author of 1,000 Gifts, wrote about it on her blog. About a half-dozen of my facebook friends posted it to their pages...it seemed to connect with a lot of people. Here is a link to the post: What Christians need to know about mental health

As for myself, i've been quietly listening, reading and thinking. Not ready to address the matter just yet...if at all. For, you see, this issue hits so close to home with me, cuts so deep into my heart, i hardly even know what to say.

I suppose i won't say much, except that i appreciate the growing awareness in Christians of the realness of mental illness...that it's not always a product of not enough faith, or a conscious act for attention, or disobedience, or unacknowledged sin, or whatever label people choose to assign to it. It's a real, viable, thing. And it's out of the individual's control.

I didn't decide to start struggling with depression when i was 13. 
I also didn't decide to allow it, by 15, to cripple my mind and spirit so much that i hated myself, cursed myself, hurt myself. I scratched out more than one blurry, agonized suicide note as a teenager...longingly eyed full bottled of painkillers. If it hadn't been for Jesus i don't know if i'd be here writing this.

I didn't one day think, in my early 20s, "I'm bored. Massive depression just isn't enough anymore...let's add some rapid-cycling mania and turn it into a full-fledged bipolar disorder!" 

In my mid-20s my family (and i) caught on with what was happening. I remember thinking "wait...this isn't normal? not everyone feels this way all the time??" And with the help of this book, by our friend Bob Grieco and a good psychiatrist (who i still see every 6 months to check on my medication) i am generally functional! 

Maybe someday i'll go into detail...maybe not. 
I touch on it every so often here, i know. i can't help it. it's a part of the way i'm wired and i am used to that now. Like having a bum leg or a painful disease, it's bound to affect the way i see the world, see God's work in my life and in others...and when i write that will creep in sometimes. 
BUT it's not always in bad ways. Interestingly enough! 
the first bloom of my little Impatien on
our front stoop

Like being reminded over & over about how hope exists even when i don't feel it. I know that now. And i can minister that to people. Do you know how much that makes pain worth it? To "comfort others with the comfort with which we have been comforted?"

Some days i still want to hate myself, curse myself, hurt myself. 

Some days (though almost never anymore and, i pray, not as overwhelming as it once was), i just want my life to end. It just is what it is. But...
... “I know Whom i have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.”
And "that day" is His choosing, not mine.
I hope i will hold on to that for all of the rest of these brilliant, too-short, sad and happy days.

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