The Good Courage writer for today, Amy Panton, has once again offered a frank, confessional description of an aspect of her personal journey. The heart of her reflection, it seems to me, is her coming to terms with thinking of herself as a person who requires yet another psychiatric medication.
I have several people in my life who have been greatly helped by the medications Amy Panton writes about. I am grateful they are available, and often wonder how things might have been different, if there’d been medical intervention and counselling earlier.
Amy Panton prays, at the end of her devotion, asking God to help her “survive another day with all of this anxiety”.
It’s a heart-wrenching prayer, especially when I recall the title of her devotion for today: “I am so ashamed”.
This suggests that not only does she struggle daily with anxieties, but also has shame as part of the burden. Shame about having anxieties, and shame about requiring medication. Perhaps even shame that her prayers for relief, or help, may not always seem to be answered.
I pray that as a society we can let go of the stigma that has been attached to what we often call “mental illness”, and the prejudice and shame that has too often been directed at those brave enough to seek help, or have dared to write or speak openly about their struggles.
I’ve been trying with my responses to reach back in my memory bank for songs that seem to speak, at least to me, to the concerns raised in the devotion. Here is a link to a Paul Simon song from 1983 that I always thought was about something more than he seemed to be saying.