- Charlene Stevens Jenkins
If you’re reading my blog for the first time, thank you and welcome! I’m a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with the Veterans Health Administration, and I’m the Celebrate Recovery (CR) Ministry Leader at Live Oak Church in Hinesville, GA. I’ve been blogging for several years to educate, inspire, and empower people. I’m really glad you’re here.
I’m passionate about helping people in my day-to-day work and through CR. Needless to say, I believe CR works because it is foundationally based on the fact that Jesus Christ won the victory at Calvary, and we who serve Him can also walk in victory.
Since we’re in the last few days of Mental Health Month, I’m sharing more about mental health and recovery by highlighting the freedom of personal honesty. I’m glad the stigmas associated with mental health are being stripped away with honest conversations about how real it is for many people.
As each day goes by, I’m praying that more and more people will realize it’s okay to talk about not being okay and seek help.
This reminds me of CR Principle #4: ‘Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust.’
Mental health is now a broad topic of conversation, and many of us have suffered in silence without knowing there is help. The stigmas around needing help and seeking help made it incredibly difficult for many people to open up about it. Then there are times when we either try to will ourselves well, deny our needs, or we hide behind masks pretending to be okay. I used to pretend because I didn’t want people to know what I was going through.
Sometimes we can be judgmental if we don’t understand, if we’ve not experienced what another person is dealing with, or if we haven’t had a firsthand experience with mental health issues. It’s a battle and no one has to fight alone.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness website:
1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24 Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-14 I didn’t want people to know that a Christian, a church leader, and a social worker also had issues. I wrote about it in my book, WHEN I WAS 40: Overcame Some Challenges, Still Learning and Growing. I started taking off my masks in 2016 during our first Celebrate Recovery 12 Step Study. I stopped pretending. By the way, acting like you’re someone that you are not extremely hard work! My transparency allowed me to experience the most freedom I’ve ever had. I was able to openly confess my faults to myself, to God and to someone I trusted. I mentioned stigma earlier. I’m so happy for our motto at Live Oak Church: Real People. Real Issues. Real God. There is no shame in upping your game to wellness. But first, open up and honestly examine what’s happening. There is real help.
You are not alone. Please check out resources in your area, confide in a trusted person, and commit to getting the help you need. Remember, you are not alone. It may feel as if you are, but you are not. We’re in this together. I’m praying for you!
Visit Celebrate Recovery for in person and online resources.