Needing Help is Not a Sign of Weakness
“Suicide is serious, It’s one of the shadows that stands in front of you. Get help immediately when you feel suicidal. there are angels waiting to help you.” – Mwati Mwila
Reflection question: Do you think God could be trying to communicate to you to be a hero through your personal strife?
When my mother and I arrived in Lusaka, Zambia, the bipolar medication I was on made me feel like my feet were touching the ground, but my head was high in the clouds. It had been seventeen years since I had last been in Zambia, and now here I was, looking for an alternative to Western medicine. I was amazed at how everything looked – the vegetation, the people, the brown clay soil – even the sky.
As our trip moved forward, I was amazed at some of the insights and revelations that came to me:
Get help immediately!
The day after our arrival, we hired a cab to take us around the city so we could find cheaper accomodations. My mom remarked to the cab driver how much Zambia had changed since we had left. She especially noticed how the downtown had been built up and its infrastructure had changed.
I saw young children carrying food and other items on top of their heads; items that must have weighed nearly their whole body weight. They were working on the streets, selling newspapers, food, and prepaid phone cards. It was a sad sight to see. I think God opened my eyes for the first time then, and it was a rude awakening.
I thought, Here I am, this lucky person who got to leave here and is now in a place where I don’t have to wake up early to boil water to shower. Many of these children worked two or three jobs just to make it. Even worse, some young girls were forced into prostitution at a very young age just to help pay their family’s bills. Seeing all this was like having God throw a rock at me. I realized then, I have a good life. Why ruin it? Get help immediately so you can help people in the world.
Recognize the signs from heaven…
The poor people in Africa are faced with the unknown everyday, and they try their hardest at all times. My visit made me realize there must be so many people who suffer like me, but don’t even have access to medical facilties; there are not counselors or therapist for these people. Here I was, selfishly not thanking God that I had access to the best medical facilities and therapists. How selfish was I? All I was doing was complaining to God about how my life was dealt a set of wrong cards. Again, I was ignoring all the signs from heaven when the real world was right in front of me.
Get help, get well…
Finally it was time to see my family. When my grandmother arrived, I remember her small frame coming out of the car, and then she put aside her cane to come toward me and give me a warm, angelic hug. It was as if God had given her the strength just for that moment to walk without a cane so she could greet me.
I couldn’t understand some of what whe said because she talked deep Bemba. Bemba is one of the most widely spoken languages in Zambia. I was used to my parents speaking Bemba at home in Seattle, but they would mix it with a little English. I can understand my parents, but in Zambia, my Bemba comprehension was very slim. My poor mbuya (grandma) was trying to talk to me in Bemba, but all I could say was Eya (“Yes, ma’am”) and “Eeh” (“Yes”). Mom told me grandma was saying, “Get well, my granddaughter; you are kind. You take care of people like you take care of me. You can help many people.”
Looking back, I realize that was another sign for me – a prophecy of how I would help others. It was another motivator for me to get off my couch and get myself some help so I could do what I always wanted to do: help others.
I have learned that my life was not over. I’d had a minor setback, but God was not finished with my destiny; God was just marinating the right recipe for my life, making it healthy and nourishing for my body. God just needed the right ingredients to make my life perfect.
This is an excerpt from my book “Strengthening Your Identity While the Shadow is in front of You”, it is my personal journey with bi-polar disorder…it is not medical advice…for that you should consult with your doctor.
I wish you strength, courage and joy in your journey to learning to live with your mental illness or anything you struggle with in life.