It didn't matter that the statistics are one in four of us will have a diagnosis from the DSM-V (the mental health practitoner's manual) in our lifetime. She wasn't thinking that if that was the case probably almost every person in her class was somehow touched by this very topic. She just knew that this struggle that ran in her family was her worst nightmare and not something she really wanted to discuss like the weather with a group of immature peers. Fortunately for her, her parents intervened and the school was supportive in granting an alternative assignment.
Depression, anxiety and other illnesses falling under the mental health umbrella are a challenging topic because we can't easily see and have no objective medical test for a person's subjective reality. The Christian community struggles with this theme even now as television ads spout pharmaceutical solutions and public service announcements say it's prevalent. Google the topic and you will see blog after blog about just trusting God and reading Scripture. While these practices often provide some level of comfort and relief, dare I honestly state, it isn't always enough? Tell statistics to a high schooler who lives in a world where immature humans say mean things and even post them on social media and they don't realize until someone attempts or commits suicide that impulsive actions can have serious consequences.
Here's what I know. To the person sitting across from me on the loveseat, the experience is real and not what they signed up for or desire. It takes work to recover or sometime even manage their struggle with life and how their mind and body react to stress. I don't know about you, but our response to this very fragile human soul must be love and compassion. Is there a place for truth and loving wisdom? Absolutely. I believe however the person who has that place in someone's life has earned it and the rest of us should not judge lest we be judged or even worse - find ourselves in a similar struggle as we face the suffering that is a part of this world. I for one can't wait for heaven.
Click here to see resources regarding anxiety used at Michelle's counseling center.