When you have a mental illness, you can get mired in the pain. Your brain tells you lies: “You are worthless!” “You are unlovable!” “You are forsaken!” It is so easy to believe the lies. What value do you offer the world when you struggle to get out of bed? How do you contribute when you can’t hold down a job? When your brain tells you over and over that you are useless, you seemingly can find no facts to dispute it, and your thinking is so distorted, your brain rejects the truth.
You are innately valuable. Your presence is contribution. The love you have to offer is treasured by those who receive it. The depth of pain you are able to understand provides empathy that few can offer. You are of inestimable worth.
You not only have love to offer, you bless those you allow to love you. You are loved even when the pain blocks the sensation. You are loved by God who is greater than man and who’s love overshadows any love offered by man. You are cherished as only a beloved can be.
You are not alone. You have not been abandoned or discarded. I know it feels that way. I know the ache that comes when you believe that lie but it is a lie. Despite the pain, despite the confusion, despite the despair that seems to take hold like a vice and refuses to give way, it is a lie! They are all lies!
I tell you this and, I believe, in your heart you know this to be true and yet the distortion reigns. You fight to survive because you want to believe it is true. You don’t give up because you want to believe it is true. So how do we believe it is true?
Recognize the Lie
The first step to seeing the truth is to recognize the lie. See it for what it is: a distortion. This may not be possible all the time. When the mental illness is strong you may not be able to recognize it but if you’re like me, you have glimpses of sanity. See it then. If you don’t have glimpses then see a doctor or therapist to help you get those glimpses. Whatever it takes, when you have a moment of clarity, use it! Break the funhouse mirror and replace it with a true reflection.
Reinforce the Truth
Once we see the lie, we can replace it with the truth. We do this by drilling the truth into our heads the way our illness attempts to drill the lies. Write your truths on post-its and place them all over your house. Buy the cute little plaques with the pithy sayings. I love those things! They make me smile when smiling is hard. Confess to someone you love that you're struggling with lies and have them remind you of the truth. Bury yourself in the bible or other good books that will remind you of the truth. Remind yourself over and over and over again that the lies your brain is telling you are distortions not reality.
Don’t be Derailed by Others
It is so hard not to believe the lies especially when those around us frequently get annoyed at us. They become frustrated with us because we struggle with what seems to them to be so obvious. Don’t give up. It’s not obvious, it’s one more battlefield. Don’t believe the lies and don’t feel responsible for the annoyance.
Don't Let the Lies Win
We can’t let the lies win. We are stronger than the lies. The truth is stronger than the lies. We can fight the lies together and overcome!
“Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 NIV