Thoughts to a Friend’s Post on Facebook

My friend, Pamela Richards-Woodall, wrote the following on her Facebook page earlier today:


If I have offended you in any way I apologize!
Please examine your words before they pop outta your mouth!
Power of life and death are in the tongue!
If you personally don’t know why someone has issues with this or that, ask them privately! Don’t assume and expect to enforce your beliefs!
Just because you feel and behave a certain way doesn’t mean everyone else can or should. If it were up to me every man or woman who abuses another would suffer severely!! I’m sure you feel something that powerful too. We’re all trying in our own way to get through this crap!!
When we begin to push our own expectations on others we’re stepping on a fine line! I don’t wear a mask. Instead of pouncing on me try asking me why I don’t! Or apply that to a thousand different people for a thousand different reasons!
We are not made from the same mold!
This stupid virus has caused a spirit of fear and panic and ugliness to be unleashed like I’ve never seen in my life! I know fear! I grew up with it.
Terrified while being held down with someone holding their hand over my mouth so I couldn’t scream out in horrific pain as a 3 year old…a 5 year old…a 10 year old…all the while someone was raping me!!! And at times several times a day!
I also was forced to attend gatherings where folks wore masks and did horrible things!
We as a society need to rip off the stigma of #mental health as it’s truly pathetic of how we act towards anyone who exhibits mental issues. But oh lordy…if that person has cancer or a broken bone or a heart attack then its all different.
No it’s not!! Anytime we are dealing with an issue whether physical or mental we all hurt!!! We are not the virus police! And we need to stop it! If Jesus lives in you then share His love and compassion!
He does have plenty to go around.
While at the store earlier I saw many with fear etched in their face.
I desperately wanted to hug them and pray! No one smiling! Folks glaring! Hurt my heart deeply! So I have a meltdown in the car at the store!
Yes my husband can and would shop or do anything I need.
But why should I or any number of 1000’s who deal with any form of mental issues be treated any differently?!? I fully expect to see the numbers of folks who fight these issues skyrocket very soon. Sadly I am not hearing anyone talking about the importance of giving them support!
Believe me…I’d so much rather not have these issues but I do. Its embarrassing and I have to stay alert to keep shame off me! I am healed and being healed! God has and continues to bless me as I grow in Him! I would not be alive if it were not for Him! Yet I know there are so many walking around ashamed of their mental health issues because of others around them! May God have mercy on us all!!*******

She also wrote “Secrets in the Hollers” https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Hollers-Story-Pamela-Richards-Woodall-ebook/dp/B07D2MCVZL/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=secrets+of+the+holler&qid=1586289478&sr=8-2

Pamela Richards-Woodall and I met through our mutual friend, Barbara Fairchild. We have shared many stories of our lives with each other. We encourage one another when the other needs it, we pray for each other when asked and sometimes on our own. We, as many others have struggled with so many RED flags the past few weeks that just wave their ugly head in our faces and our hearts…it is not a pretty sight.

Pam’s words echo mine ~ this morning I had to go to Walmart to get my weekly insulin (on a side note so thankful for our job and having insurance…my Ozempic was $24.99 without insurance it would have been $976.00 for four injections!!!)..while in Walmart I went down the aisle where the Easter candy was to get a few things for our kidlets…a man, probably in his late 40’s/early 50’s, walked by me twice in each direction and the second time I asked him if he was okay or did he need something from me…he turned and said “I don’t think candy is an essential food item.” and walked past. I just stood and stared at him and felt myself go shaky…I quickly finished getting the other things I needed (I had a list and was sticking to it). I went and paid and the cashier asked if I was okay? I had uncontrolled tears running down my face. I mumbled something to the effect “yes, I will be fine, some people are just so ignorant!”

After paying for my stuff I went to my car. I got in, locked the doors and called Ron…I’m so glad he was available to talk. I told him I had an anxiety attack while in Walmart. I couldn’t remember the last time I had had one. I didn’t go into a lot of detail as I was trying to compose myself as I still had to stop at the grocery store. Ron listened, told me he loved me and we hung up.

I drove myself to HEB, took a deep breath and thought “okay, I can do this.” The first thing I saw was an Easter lily…not an essential item and not on my list, but I knew that Ron always buys me an Easter lily and I knew if he was with me he would tell me to pick one out…so I did.

I got the rest of the groceries on my list as well as a couple of pizza’s for dinner. If you’ve read my blog in the past few days y’all know things have been rough and I was thinking of easy things to do to make today a good day ~ WE ALL needed it. I made it through the store without shedding a tear. Well that is until I got to where I was paying for the groceries and the cashier thanked me for following the rules and not bringing all the kidlets with me ~ because BBYR is a non-profit we are tax exempt and I had said I was a home parent at BBYR she knew we had kids…I told her no problem, I try to follow the rules/directions…how else can I expect our kidlets to follow the rules and/or do what is expected of them. As the tears trickled down my cheek, she asked if I was okay. I said yes and then shared about the man at Walmart and me buying some jelly beans for the kidlets for Easter. She looked astonished that someone would say something to me…and then she said if she could, she would give me a hug…instead we put our hands up to the plexiglass and high fived each other. The bagger, a young man of about 20 just shook his head and said “I want a high five too.” So the two of them on one side of the plexiglass and me on the other high fived!! And laughed!!! And laughed some more.

That cashier doesn’t have a clue how much her little interaction meant to me. I came home, got the groceries put away, gave the kidlets their lunch. Today was hot dogs, beans and a cookie!! Thanks Tracy for picking them up!! And thanks Stephen for encouraging me to get the breakfasts/lunches that the school district is providing.

While the kids were eating lunch I got on Facebook and was scrolling through…that’s when I saw Pam’s post. I started to share it on my page but my response was getting way too long this this blog post this afternoon.

To add to some of what Pam said above about Mental Health…I remember when I was dealing with major depression, suicidal thoughts (for years!) and how some people would say “Just get a grip.” “If you were a REAL Christian your faith would take away my depression.” And once after being in the hospital for three weeks (I had come very close to committing suicide) and returned to church a supposed friend (I say supposed because I don’t believe a true friend could be so hurtful…asked me what was it like being in there with all those crazies!…I remember looking at her and thinking well I must be crazy to think suicide is the answer to my problems…

Was I crazy…absolutely not…I was a hurting, scared, human being who felt so desperate to think my husband and my children would be better off without me…was I ever wrong…if I had given into the hurtful words, thoughts and feelings I would not be the woman I am today…not only am I a wife and mom but now I also have the greatest gift of all…grandchildren as well as three fun, wonderful sometimes frustrating foster children who call me Mama Ali and Papa Ron (well they call Ron that).

Thank you Pam for giving me the platform to talk/write about my experience today and to stand with you to tell others…stop acting like people who deal with mental health issues are some kind of strange person or being. And as Pam said, if I had a broken leg or cancer people wouldn’t think twice about why I did some thing or another. I remember one time talking with Gayle, my Psyche ARNP and she asked me if I was embarrassed I had diabetes and I replied no. She then asked, why am I embarrassed I have depression. It is an illness just like diabetes. It just effects people in a different way!

Pam shared from her heart and I too have shared from my heart…now my question to you is what can you do to help stop the stigma of negativity towards those of us who deal with a mental health issue just as those who deal with cancer or a blood disease?

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Ali & Ron

Christ loving, fun making, traveling couple of 44+ years. Also known as Grandpa & Grammy!!

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