Hello, Friends! Have you ever been nervous to contact a friend because it has been so long since you last connected? Have you ever had your anxiety prevent you from accomplishing something? Well, I have. It has been a long time since our last interaction and I have been struggling with how to reconnect. I have started and stopped so many entries none of which became worthy to post. Why am I having such difficulty? I dwell on the fact that every day that passes is another day I let you down. I am embarrassed. I am sad and I am disappointed in myself. Today, God sent me encouragement and support!
The definition of “gift” from the Encarta Dictionary is something that is given to somebody, usually on order to provide pleasure or to show gratitude. An example is a birthday “gift”. I would imagine that many of us use “gift” and “present” interchangeably. A “gift”, most commonly, comes packaged in beautiful wrapping paper, tied with ribbon and topped with a shiny bow. When you receive a “gift” you are overcome with excitement. It is hard to control your enthusiasm! You become impatient. The wrapping and bow are so beautiful yet, you are desperate to rip it apart and see what is inside. The thrill one feels when they receive a “gift” is undeniable. It is up-lifting. Everyone loves to receive a “gift”!
During one of my recent therapy sessions, I was asked what would happen if I were to recognize my mental illness as a “gift”? I did not know how to respond. I was not sure if my therapist was joking or asking a legitimate question. Lightheartedly, I asked if it is a “gift” may I return it. Does God still have the “gift” receipt? I continued pleading saying my mental Illness is not fitting into my life and I would like to exchange it for something else. Quickly I learned that this “gift” I have been given is a final sale item and there are no refunds or exchanges. My therapist and I joked around for a few minutes. Then, she asked me the same question again. What would happen if I were to recognize my mental illness as a “gift”? We sat there in silence until my therapist suggested that I start by altering the picture I have of my mental illness. She thought the ugly and very pessimistic picture was preventing me from identifying my mental illness as a “gift”.
My mental illness did not come packaged as a typical “gift” therefore, I never thought about it as a “gift”! The ugliness of the wrapping paper, which is my mental illness, provided me with no excitement or enthusiasm. I had no desire to rip it apart and see what was inside. I continue to work with my therapist to be able to appreciate my mental illness as a “gift”. I have faith that one day I will picture my mental illness as beautiful wrapping paper and ribbon. I don’t think I will ever be able to picture a shiny bow. If you have been able to recognize your mental illness as a “gift”, praise God! If you are being challenged to recognize your mental illness as a “gift”, be faithful. If you are learning about the concept of your mental illness being a “gift” for the first time, pray for guidance.
I will end with a great visual my therapist shared with me recently.
Don’t carry your mental illness on your back like a load; carry it in the front like a gift!