Nate Stewart

@natemhp | contributor
Author of "Not ashamed of my brain: the mental health journey of a person of faith." public speaker, and mental health advocate, Nate Stewart has a unique sense of what kind of impact, (both positive and negative) the local church can have on the lives of those who struggle with their mental health. His passion for faith-based mental health support came from his own experience of growing up in the church as a preacher’s kid who has struggled for most of his life with mental health issues. After spending the last few years traveling and speaking across the country, in early 2019, Nate launched Mental Health Pulpit, a ministry of hope that is sharing the message, "Having a mental health struggle doesn’t exempt us from the love of God and His ability to do extraordinary things in our lives." You can learn more about Nate and his ministry work: www.mentalhealthpulpit.com His book: www.notashamedeofmybrain.com His blog: www.mentalhealthpulpit.wordpress.com
Community Voices

New here

I'm new to the group. Glad to be here. I'm a folloer of Christ who struggles with my mental health specifically depression, anxiety and BPD. I look forward to connecting with you all.

4 people are talking about this
Nate Stewart

5 Relationship Tips When One Partner Has a Mental Illness

Twenty-two years is a long time to be married to me. Yet, somehow, we have managed to keep things going. We were together almost six years before getting married. My wife, Sherawn, deserves a medal. For those of you who know me, I know you are probably thinking two things. 1. “You must have gotten married when you were 7. You don’t look a day over 28.” 2. “She deserves two medals.” To the latter… you’re probably right. And to the former, while I wasn’t 7 years old, looking back to July 17, 1999, we really were just a couple of kids. We thought we knew what life had in store for the two of us, but we had no idea. Neither of us would’ve guessed any of what we have experienced. Well, maybe one thing we could have guessed. After 22 years, we still like each other. Notice I didn’t say we liked each other for the full 22 years. We always loved each other. But like is different. Especially when the chronic mental health challenges I have, have made me feel as if I wasn’t the same person, in the eyes of either of us. It isn’t fun for me to talk about, but I feel disingenuous if I don’t. Being married to someone who struggles with their mental health can be incredibly difficult. For both of us. In the past, Sherawn has told me she has felt like a single mother, even though I was around because I didn’t have the emotional capacity to be present for my family. She has had to change her lifestyle around the fact I have a dual diagnosis, mental health struggles and addiction. Over the years, she has spent so much time on her knees begging God to bring back her husband, asking God to restore me to the man she walked up to at the alter. For me, just having the diagnosis I have is challenging enough. I have a brain that seems as if it is actively trying to kill me. I walk a tightrope every day between acknowledging my struggle and not letting my struggle define me. I need to be open with my wife about what is going on, but it rips me up inside to see the terror in her eyes when I say I am spiraling. I am the one who is supposed to protect her, yet I am the one who makes her afraid. Will I sink into a depression I won’t come out of? Am I going to relapse into my addiction? Will she come home and find out my suicidal ideation has become too much for me? I hate that I do that to her. But for some reason, if you were to ask her, she would say she would do it all over again. She would still choose me. We both signed on for, “for better or for worse.” Overall, we have had far more “better” than “worse,” but the “worse” has been significant. For us, divorce has never been an option. No matter how hard things get, we will never divorce. We don’t have the philosophy a divorce is never an option for others. If there are safety concerns — physical, emotional, sexual or spiritual abuse — these are never OK, and seeking help is absolutely the best thing you can do. But we don’t have any of those in our relationship. Despite all our adversity, we are still absolutely over the moon in love! We still fight over who loves who most, we still go out on dates like we are teenagers, we still laugh, we don’t get tired of being around each other and we even get told by our daughter, “oh quit it already” when we flirt with each other in front of her. We are really, really good. Being in love doesn’t mean we don’t struggle, though. We need to be open about that. Our relationship has taken a lot of work, support from friends and family and faith in God as the ultimate example of how to love each other. What we have we worked up to, we built. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), just over 50% of people will experience a mental health struggle in their lifetime. Many of those people are married or seriously committed. In light of that, we must learn about the role mental health plays in our relationships. Both for the person who is struggling and for their partner. To get us started, there are a couple of things I want to suggest. 1. Seek counseling. My wife and I could never have reached the 22-year mark if it were not for the support of the people we are close to. Whether it is from a therapist, pastor, marriage coach, etc., lean on the people around you. 2. Find a mentor. Early into our marriage, Sherawn and I grabbed hold of a couple who modeled the kind of marriage we wanted to have. We looked to them for guidance in marriage, not just as people we would call when things were tough, but also for when things are good. Learn from the people who’ve been there. 3. Keep getting to know each other. When we know more about who a person is and why they do the things they do, it is much easier to offer grace in the times it is needed. I do silly stuff all the time, but Sherawn knows my heart. She has a default pattern of assuming good intent because she knows me. She trusts me. 4. Say you are sorry. Then, live that out. When I mess up, I should be quick to own up to what I have done, quick to say I am sorry and intentional about doing what is in my power to try and prevent a reoccurrence. I may do something more than once, but if Sherawn sees I am making an effort to change, it shows her I respect her enough to care about the impact my actions have on her. Respect is a key building block to a happy relationship. 5. Celebrate the good. I can say, “we’ve had far more better than worse” because we acknowledge the better. The hard stuff is really good at getting in my face. By looking for the good in our relationship, I find the good in our relationship. And there is a lot of good. Try not to let the bad push away the good. Relationships are not easy, especially when there is a deep emotional attachment to your significant other. There is a lot at risk when we put our hearts out on the table. Wounds go a bit deeper when we care. At the same time, being married to my wife for 22 years has also helped me to really, truly, understand what love is. Having a mental health struggle adds a layer of complexity to a relationship, but it doesn’t have to keep us from having loving, caring and passionate relationships. Having a diagnosis doesn’t have to remove us from the joy of experiencing love.

Nate Stewart

Why Saying 'It Could Be Worse' Isn't Helpful For Mental Illness

“Hey, look on the bright side” has become, at least for me, a consistently common precursor to someone saying something “stupid.” Sure, I could have had something worse happen to me; but I didn’t. So, good for me? When I hear this phrase, I think of the old Road Runner cartoons when Wile E. Coyote would fall off a cliff leaving a coyote-shaped hole in the ground when he landed, and then just when he pops his head up out of the hole, a giant anvil falls on his noggin. Look on the bright side is kinda like saying, “At least the anvil didn’t hit you.” Never mind that I just fell off a cliff. When used light-heartedly in day-to-day passing, it can be funny. I think back to a time when my wife and I were driving around Chicago with my brother and his wife. As is common for Chicago’s weekend traffic by the waterfront, the car had moved about 100 feet in about as many minutes. I spoke up to offer a lighthearted, “It could be worse. At least we don’t have to pee.” When in a level of comedic timing I could never have imagined, before I could finish my thought, what happened instead was, “It could be worse…” BAM! The car next to us rear-ended the car in front of them. Suddenly, my punchline was no longer necessary. (Just to be clear, nobody was hurt. Although, ironically, I was now laughing so hard I had to pee.) In general, I understand the sentiment I believe is behind this statement. A person is trying to cheer me up after something went wrong. I do my best to be appreciative of the effort, but I think people don’t really understand the hurt so often caused by the attempt. Instead of shifting my eyes to something that might brighten my mood, I instead feel as if my current situation is pushed aside as something I should never have felt poorly about in the first place. My experience is delegitimized since whatever happened is apparently, “not adequate for suffering.” In other words, my pain wasn’t “bad enough.” I will grant, there is some truth to the statement since no matter what the situation, things could be worse. We could have broken both arms instead of one, had two loved ones die instead of one, or lost a home instead of a car. It is for this reason. however, I see a “look on the bright side” approach as particularly damaging. I want to scream, “ So what! ” I don’t care that it could be worse; I am in pain, I have very real trauma going on, and I’m losing sight of hope. Positivity is an important approach to much of life and, in and of itself, is not a bad thing at all. Especially when coupled with a balance of realism, positivity is a healthy and enviable trait. The difference is when positivity mutates into a toxic positivity. There is only a fine line that separates the two viewpoints but the impact of crossing that line can be tremendous. Toxic positivity occurs when a person fails to acknowledge the existing pain of another person by attempting to diminish or flat-out ignore the struggle of the other person. What is often hard to navigate in this kind of situation is that the perpetrator usually has no idea what they are doing. They may think they are genuinely helping, it could be a protective response due to their inability to face anguish, or they don’t realize the extent to which the person is hurting. It’s because of this I try not to get too upset when I hear a version of this kind of “help.” I know many people don’t get it, I have been guilty of it myself, and probably will be again. Nobody is going to get it right all the time. Just because I will never be perfect in my attempts to help doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try. So trying is something I will continue to do. A first good step is to pause and acknowledge the person and validate their struggle, remembering that even when things could be worse, they could also be better. The ability to slide up and down the scale has little relevance when it comes to feeling broken. When I was going through inpatient treatment for my mental health after my last attempt to end my life by suicide, I would have people tell me I was blessed because I was still alive. This didn’t help. While technically true, I didn’t feel blessed. I didn’t need someone to tell me I should cheer up. I needed someone to tell me they could see what I was going through was hell. To let me feel like my pain was real and allow me to have a safe space for figuring out how to live the life I was so blessed to have because, at that moment, I was feeling cursed by still being alive. Making a practice of listening to someone who is struggling is a great way to avoid pitfalls. On my first day in the hospital, I had a therapist sit by the side of my bed and tell me how his life sucked. It was a country song kind of scenario: wife left him, lost his house, etc etc. I think he was trying to let me know that we can survive after bad things happen in life. “You had it worse than me. Congratulations,” I thought and then ignored him. The therapist who sat next to me on the couch and said, “What do you think you need?” — she was the one who put a crack in my walls. I get the urge to fix it. I am a fix-it kind of person. So when we, myself included, meet a person who is struggling, I ask that we try to remember this… Some things can’t be fixed, just navigated. Instead of trying to find a positive spin, the best thing we can do is join each other in the journey.

Nate Stewart

What to Say to Someone Struggling With Their Mental Health

“I get sick of people telling me what not to do, and then not telling me what to do.” No one likes to hear they are doing something wrong. Sometimes, it can be a thing of just feeling a bit foolish; like someone pointing out you are pulling on a door with a sign saying, “push.” Other times, it can be downright demoralizing, leaving the person wishing they had never tried in the first place. I have been on the giving and receiving end of the latter. I have had to learn how to sort through the giving part as a tool to do better the next time. Unfortunately, there have been situations when I didn’t have too much of a choice. Like when I’ve had a limited amount of time to express a viewpoint during a lecture or a sermon. A person can only fit so much into a 30 to 60 minute window. The humbling part of this scenario is most of the time I can’t say this is the case. Much of what I share speaks to how I have been hurt in the past and the things I wish were never said to me. These statements are easier to manifest because I am keenly aware of my pain. I almost forget the words which built me up and helped me realize I was not alone. I forget the actions that helped me to see hope for the future. So today, let’s look at a couple of the things I have needed during my struggle, and maybe they will resonate with you as well. 1. “Is there anything I can do to help?” When someone asks me this question, they are acknowledging a couple of things. First, I am feeling a legitimate feeling. Imagine you are holding an ice cube and someone told you, “That’s not cold, it’s hot.” It’s the same principle. I know I am feeling something, and just because someone disagrees with me, doesn’t change what I am feeling. Second, there is no assumption someone can fix me. A person might be able to help, they might not, but asking this question says, “I don’t claim to know your situation better than you.” This adds value to my opinion. 2. “Do you want to talk about it?” As the person who is struggling, I am the one who gets to decide what I do or don’t want to talk about. Giving a person that control says, “I want to help, but I am not going to try and fix you.” I don’t like feeling as if I am a project because a project is formed around the other person’s idea of what I should look like. I want to look like the person I was created to be, not what someone else wants me to be. The other thing this question does is it keeps me from feeling forced to talk about something I may not be ready to talk about. I may not know what is going on or how to verbalize it. My personality is more comfortable with processing internally first, and this question gives me room for that. 3. “I want you to know I am here for you if or when you want to talk.” I remember the people who say this. Even if I never come to them to discuss what is going on, knowing they are there for me gives me strength. If I do decide to talk to them, I almost always start with trickling in details over time. There have been too many people I thought I could trust whom I regretted confiding in, so don’t expect to hear it all at one time. Sometimes, I have just clicked with a person and words just poured out, but it’s rare, at least for me. 4. “You can talk to me about anything.” This one has a rule for its use: Only say it if you mean it! With the work I do and my willingness to be transparent about my struggles, people feel safe coming to me with a variety of different things. I’ve been doing what I do for so long, there is very little that surprises me anymore and a person would have to be trying really hard if they wanted to offend me. While part of the reason people feel comfortable confiding in me is because of the ministry work I do, what is said to me is always held in secret (except when mandated reporting rules apply). Most of what is shared has been built over time through trust. People have learned they can talk to me about anything. If you are confident in your ability to navigate this path, this is probably the most impactful statement you could ever make. Secrets shared will lose their power. 5. “I have no idea what you are going through, but I do know what it is like to need a friend.” If a person has never had clinical depression, an anxiety disorder or any other diagnosis, they will not be able to understand what it is like to live with that struggle. That’s OK, just don’t try to fake it. Being open brings in room for openness. 6. “How can I be praying?” Unless you don’t hold a belief in God, this phrase is powerful. (And even if you don’t, it still can be.) The importance of combining our mind, body and spirit cannot be overstated, yet oftentimes there is a feeling medicine and faith cannot be combined. This just isn’t true. I believe knowing there is a God who is caring enough to walk us through our pain gives a reason to hope. If I believe I matter to God, I matter. Offering to help connect a person to a God who loves them can bring about so much peace, in my opinion. 7. “I’m sorry.” Sometimes what we say comes out wrong. Own it and try to learn from it. Sometimes it’s better to get things wrong and apologize than to never say anything. People will forgive mistakes made in love. This list is in no way a guarantee of a positive outcome in a conversation, or a guarantee of a conversation even happening at all. But it’s a start, and that’s the key … to start. Sometimes, we get so caught up with trying not to do the wrong thing, so we don’t do anything at all. So let me take off some of the pressure: You are probably going to mess up, but that’s OK. Just learn from it. The reward: You are going to do incredible good as well. Someone out there needs you and wants to know you care. This is how you start: Say, “How are you?” and then listen to the answer.

Nate Stewart

What to Say to Someone Struggling With Their Mental Health

“I get sick of people telling me what not to do, and then not telling me what to do.” No one likes to hear they are doing something wrong. Sometimes, it can be a thing of just feeling a bit foolish; like someone pointing out you are pulling on a door with a sign saying, “push.” Other times, it can be downright demoralizing, leaving the person wishing they had never tried in the first place. I have been on the giving and receiving end of the latter. I have had to learn how to sort through the giving part as a tool to do better the next time. Unfortunately, there have been situations when I didn’t have too much of a choice. Like when I’ve had a limited amount of time to express a viewpoint during a lecture or a sermon. A person can only fit so much into a 30 to 60 minute window. The humbling part of this scenario is most of the time I can’t say this is the case. Much of what I share speaks to how I have been hurt in the past and the things I wish were never said to me. These statements are easier to manifest because I am keenly aware of my pain. I almost forget the words which built me up and helped me realize I was not alone. I forget the actions that helped me to see hope for the future. So today, let’s look at a couple of the things I have needed during my struggle, and maybe they will resonate with you as well. 1. “Is there anything I can do to help?” When someone asks me this question, they are acknowledging a couple of things. First, I am feeling a legitimate feeling. Imagine you are holding an ice cube and someone told you, “That’s not cold, it’s hot.” It’s the same principle. I know I am feeling something, and just because someone disagrees with me, doesn’t change what I am feeling. Second, there is no assumption someone can fix me. A person might be able to help, they might not, but asking this question says, “I don’t claim to know your situation better than you.” This adds value to my opinion. 2. “Do you want to talk about it?” As the person who is struggling, I am the one who gets to decide what I do or don’t want to talk about. Giving a person that control says, “I want to help, but I am not going to try and fix you.” I don’t like feeling as if I am a project because a project is formed around the other person’s idea of what I should look like. I want to look like the person I was created to be, not what someone else wants me to be. The other thing this question does is it keeps me from feeling forced to talk about something I may not be ready to talk about. I may not know what is going on or how to verbalize it. My personality is more comfortable with processing internally first, and this question gives me room for that. 3. “I want you to know I am here for you if or when you want to talk.” I remember the people who say this. Even if I never come to them to discuss what is going on, knowing they are there for me gives me strength. If I do decide to talk to them, I almost always start with trickling in details over time. There have been too many people I thought I could trust whom I regretted confiding in, so don’t expect to hear it all at one time. Sometimes, I have just clicked with a person and words just poured out, but it’s rare, at least for me. 4. “You can talk to me about anything.” This one has a rule for its use: Only say it if you mean it! With the work I do and my willingness to be transparent about my struggles, people feel safe coming to me with a variety of different things. I’ve been doing what I do for so long, there is very little that surprises me anymore and a person would have to be trying really hard if they wanted to offend me. While part of the reason people feel comfortable confiding in me is because of the ministry work I do, what is said to me is always held in secret (except when mandated reporting rules apply). Most of what is shared has been built over time through trust. People have learned they can talk to me about anything. If you are confident in your ability to navigate this path, this is probably the most impactful statement you could ever make. Secrets shared will lose their power. 5. “I have no idea what you are going through, but I do know what it is like to need a friend.” If a person has never had clinical depression, an anxiety disorder or any other diagnosis, they will not be able to understand what it is like to live with that struggle. That’s OK, just don’t try to fake it. Being open brings in room for openness. 6. “How can I be praying?” Unless you don’t hold a belief in God, this phrase is powerful. (And even if you don’t, it still can be.) The importance of combining our mind, body and spirit cannot be overstated, yet oftentimes there is a feeling medicine and faith cannot be combined. This just isn’t true. I believe knowing there is a God who is caring enough to walk us through our pain gives a reason to hope. If I believe I matter to God, I matter. Offering to help connect a person to a God who loves them can bring about so much peace, in my opinion. 7. “I’m sorry.” Sometimes what we say comes out wrong. Own it and try to learn from it. Sometimes it’s better to get things wrong and apologize than to never say anything. People will forgive mistakes made in love. This list is in no way a guarantee of a positive outcome in a conversation, or a guarantee of a conversation even happening at all. But it’s a start, and that’s the key … to start. Sometimes, we get so caught up with trying not to do the wrong thing, so we don’t do anything at all. So let me take off some of the pressure: You are probably going to mess up, but that’s OK. Just learn from it. The reward: You are going to do incredible good as well. Someone out there needs you and wants to know you care. This is how you start: Say, “How are you?” and then listen to the answer.

Nate Stewart

What to Say to Someone Struggling With Their Mental Health

“I get sick of people telling me what not to do, and then not telling me what to do.” No one likes to hear they are doing something wrong. Sometimes, it can be a thing of just feeling a bit foolish; like someone pointing out you are pulling on a door with a sign saying, “push.” Other times, it can be downright demoralizing, leaving the person wishing they had never tried in the first place. I have been on the giving and receiving end of the latter. I have had to learn how to sort through the giving part as a tool to do better the next time. Unfortunately, there have been situations when I didn’t have too much of a choice. Like when I’ve had a limited amount of time to express a viewpoint during a lecture or a sermon. A person can only fit so much into a 30 to 60 minute window. The humbling part of this scenario is most of the time I can’t say this is the case. Much of what I share speaks to how I have been hurt in the past and the things I wish were never said to me. These statements are easier to manifest because I am keenly aware of my pain. I almost forget the words which built me up and helped me realize I was not alone. I forget the actions that helped me to see hope for the future. So today, let’s look at a couple of the things I have needed during my struggle, and maybe they will resonate with you as well. 1. “Is there anything I can do to help?” When someone asks me this question, they are acknowledging a couple of things. First, I am feeling a legitimate feeling. Imagine you are holding an ice cube and someone told you, “That’s not cold, it’s hot.” It’s the same principle. I know I am feeling something, and just because someone disagrees with me, doesn’t change what I am feeling. Second, there is no assumption someone can fix me. A person might be able to help, they might not, but asking this question says, “I don’t claim to know your situation better than you.” This adds value to my opinion. 2. “Do you want to talk about it?” As the person who is struggling, I am the one who gets to decide what I do or don’t want to talk about. Giving a person that control says, “I want to help, but I am not going to try and fix you.” I don’t like feeling as if I am a project because a project is formed around the other person’s idea of what I should look like. I want to look like the person I was created to be, not what someone else wants me to be. The other thing this question does is it keeps me from feeling forced to talk about something I may not be ready to talk about. I may not know what is going on or how to verbalize it. My personality is more comfortable with processing internally first, and this question gives me room for that. 3. “I want you to know I am here for you if or when you want to talk.” I remember the people who say this. Even if I never come to them to discuss what is going on, knowing they are there for me gives me strength. If I do decide to talk to them, I almost always start with trickling in details over time. There have been too many people I thought I could trust whom I regretted confiding in, so don’t expect to hear it all at one time. Sometimes, I have just clicked with a person and words just poured out, but it’s rare, at least for me. 4. “You can talk to me about anything.” This one has a rule for its use: Only say it if you mean it! With the work I do and my willingness to be transparent about my struggles, people feel safe coming to me with a variety of different things. I’ve been doing what I do for so long, there is very little that surprises me anymore and a person would have to be trying really hard if they wanted to offend me. While part of the reason people feel comfortable confiding in me is because of the ministry work I do, what is said to me is always held in secret (except when mandated reporting rules apply). Most of what is shared has been built over time through trust. People have learned they can talk to me about anything. If you are confident in your ability to navigate this path, this is probably the most impactful statement you could ever make. Secrets shared will lose their power. 5. “I have no idea what you are going through, but I do know what it is like to need a friend.” If a person has never had clinical depression, an anxiety disorder or any other diagnosis, they will not be able to understand what it is like to live with that struggle. That’s OK, just don’t try to fake it. Being open brings in room for openness. 6. “How can I be praying?” Unless you don’t hold a belief in God, this phrase is powerful. (And even if you don’t, it still can be.) The importance of combining our mind, body and spirit cannot be overstated, yet oftentimes there is a feeling medicine and faith cannot be combined. This just isn’t true. I believe knowing there is a God who is caring enough to walk us through our pain gives a reason to hope. If I believe I matter to God, I matter. Offering to help connect a person to a God who loves them can bring about so much peace, in my opinion. 7. “I’m sorry.” Sometimes what we say comes out wrong. Own it and try to learn from it. Sometimes it’s better to get things wrong and apologize than to never say anything. People will forgive mistakes made in love. This list is in no way a guarantee of a positive outcome in a conversation, or a guarantee of a conversation even happening at all. But it’s a start, and that’s the key … to start. Sometimes, we get so caught up with trying not to do the wrong thing, so we don’t do anything at all. So let me take off some of the pressure: You are probably going to mess up, but that’s OK. Just learn from it. The reward: You are going to do incredible good as well. Someone out there needs you and wants to know you care. This is how you start: Say, “How are you?” and then listen to the answer.

Community Voices

Politics bringing you down?

This post is about politics, well…kinda. I don’t want to get into who to vote for, or the policies you should back. I don’t care who you vote for in November. I don’t care what party you align yourself with; or if you even align yourself with any party. If you have strong feelings one way or another and feel like sharing those feelings, I believe you have the right to do so. Freedom of speech is an important right. I also feel you have the right to keep silent if you wish.

This post is about a different part of the political conversation. Politicians are important people, in the sense, they are the ones who write the laws we are to live by; I understand that. In my opinion, however, elected officials are not meant to be the most important, or maybe a better word would be influential people in our lives. I believe this is important to keep in perspective, especially in an election year, when the fighting between campaigns flows seemingly non-stop.

If you are like me and consider yourself a Christian then the most important person is Jesus of course; He should guide all of our decisions. I also want to point out the other person in each one of our lives who has an important role to play whether you believe in God or not; that person is you, as in self. I am the person with the most influence in my life. You are the person with the most influence in your life because you have the power of choice. We can’t always change our situation, this isn’t a statement of “will yourself to being the person you want to be.” I can have all the conviction in the world and still never be able to dunk a basketball, sing a high C, or understand my daughter’s math homework. Some things we just can’t do. The art of choice is not letting this reality cross over into masking the things we can change.

I didn’t watch the presidential debate. I did turn the TV on in time to hear a newscaster describe the debate. “That was a train wreck.” is what he said. A train wreck or not, it’s subjective so describe it how you see fit. What I can say, is I still woke up the next day. Candidates across the country are running smear campaigns and I still have breath in my lungs. For generations, we have heard people describe themselves and their goals for office as the ones who can finally fix everything and in many ways, we are still broken, yet I can still feel my heart beating in my chest. I have to remember this because if I don’t remind myself of these facts my anxiety can become crippling. My BPD will tell me to roll over and give up on life. I give politicians control over my life when they don’t have a right to take it from me.

Today, the world has issues. Tomorrow, the world will still have issues. If you are reading this, then you woke up, your lungs have air, and your heart is still beating. Praise God!! If you are in a place emotionally to do so, celebrate life! If you are not there yet that’s ok, I totally get that. I have walked in despair and given up on life before. A miracle is the only way to describe how I am even still alive. I would just ask that you trust me when I say, there is still beauty left in this world. From the flowers to the changing leaves, the blue in the sky to the green in the grass, the relief of forgiveness to the laugh of a baby there is still beauty in this world.

Bad things will happen and we can’t change that. What we can do is try to see that good things are happening too. Take a moment today to pause, take a deep breath, feel your heart beating in your chest, touch the ground with your toes, breathe in your surroundings, and know that love wins. The world is still in the hands of God and love wins. Nothing can change that.

You haven’t given up, you’re still here, for that I am grateful.

Mental Health

Anxiety

Nate Stewart

The Milestone of Making It Through Today as Someone With Depression

Milestones in life can be confusing. I recently turned 45. I am a year older on paper, yet I’m only a day older than the day before. Either way I look at it, I feel old. Last week my blog reached 100 posts. This sounds like it a lot to me, yet I have a hard time looking at it and thinking of it as an accomplishment. I can look at the analytics for my site and see how many times each post has been read, and the countries around the world where my words have popped onto a screen, and still, it all seems underwhelming. Two instances when I am supposed to look at my accomplishments, take stock of my life and feel proud of myself. I don’t. Well, right now anyway, I can’t. Depression doesn’t let me see the good. Depression has me feeling numb in many ways and takes away the importance of the important. I’m really good at wanting to give up; I have that mastered! And in some sort of strange way I have a sense of feeling like a failure because for as much as I want to give up, I don’t. I fight each and every day to keep myself as healthy as I can be. I find myself feeling like I suck because I try not to feel sucky. My borderline personality disorder only amplifies the feelings of…well…all of the feelings. The feelings I have. The feelings I don’t have. The feelings… So many feelings. All while feeling nothing. Make sense? Probably not. Relatable? For many of us who struggle with our mental health, absolutely. Full disclosure: I don’t want to write this post because I hate that I can’t seem to come up with a way of explaining the unexplainable. That is why I am writing though. Sometimes it is best to get the words out even when they don’t make sense. For many years I didn’t and it tried to kill me. There have been people along the way who have helped me be OK with not being OK. People who are OK with my words not making sense. There are not enough words to describe the blessing of a person who will look you in the eye and say, “that makes absolutely no sense to me.” and then proceed to sit with you in the silence just so you don’t have to sit alone. We can all use a good therapist who will tell you, “Crazy is not a word we use here. Human, human is the word you are looking for.” Milestones mean different things to different people. How we feel about those things are our own. “You should be over that by now.” is not for anyone else to decide. Our journey is ours. We get there when we get there. If it all doesn’t make sense right now, that’s OK. Right now my milestone is today. I made it through today. I will hang on to the good times of the past, remembering them; I know they will be back. Not every day will be like today. And tonight I won’t hang onto God. Tonight I will let Him hold onto me.

Nate Stewart

The Milestone of Making It Through Today as Someone With Depression

Milestones in life can be confusing. I recently turned 45. I am a year older on paper, yet I’m only a day older than the day before. Either way I look at it, I feel old. Last week my blog reached 100 posts. This sounds like it a lot to me, yet I have a hard time looking at it and thinking of it as an accomplishment. I can look at the analytics for my site and see how many times each post has been read, and the countries around the world where my words have popped onto a screen, and still, it all seems underwhelming. Two instances when I am supposed to look at my accomplishments, take stock of my life and feel proud of myself. I don’t. Well, right now anyway, I can’t. Depression doesn’t let me see the good. Depression has me feeling numb in many ways and takes away the importance of the important. I’m really good at wanting to give up; I have that mastered! And in some sort of strange way I have a sense of feeling like a failure because for as much as I want to give up, I don’t. I fight each and every day to keep myself as healthy as I can be. I find myself feeling like I suck because I try not to feel sucky. My borderline personality disorder only amplifies the feelings of…well…all of the feelings. The feelings I have. The feelings I don’t have. The feelings… So many feelings. All while feeling nothing. Make sense? Probably not. Relatable? For many of us who struggle with our mental health, absolutely. Full disclosure: I don’t want to write this post because I hate that I can’t seem to come up with a way of explaining the unexplainable. That is why I am writing though. Sometimes it is best to get the words out even when they don’t make sense. For many years I didn’t and it tried to kill me. There have been people along the way who have helped me be OK with not being OK. People who are OK with my words not making sense. There are not enough words to describe the blessing of a person who will look you in the eye and say, “that makes absolutely no sense to me.” and then proceed to sit with you in the silence just so you don’t have to sit alone. We can all use a good therapist who will tell you, “Crazy is not a word we use here. Human, human is the word you are looking for.” Milestones mean different things to different people. How we feel about those things are our own. “You should be over that by now.” is not for anyone else to decide. Our journey is ours. We get there when we get there. If it all doesn’t make sense right now, that’s OK. Right now my milestone is today. I made it through today. I will hang on to the good times of the past, remembering them; I know they will be back. Not every day will be like today. And tonight I won’t hang onto God. Tonight I will let Him hold onto me.

Nate Stewart

The Milestone of Making It Through Today as Someone With Depression

Milestones in life can be confusing. I recently turned 45. I am a year older on paper, yet I’m only a day older than the day before. Either way I look at it, I feel old. Last week my blog reached 100 posts. This sounds like it a lot to me, yet I have a hard time looking at it and thinking of it as an accomplishment. I can look at the analytics for my site and see how many times each post has been read, and the countries around the world where my words have popped onto a screen, and still, it all seems underwhelming. Two instances when I am supposed to look at my accomplishments, take stock of my life and feel proud of myself. I don’t. Well, right now anyway, I can’t. Depression doesn’t let me see the good. Depression has me feeling numb in many ways and takes away the importance of the important. I’m really good at wanting to give up; I have that mastered! And in some sort of strange way I have a sense of feeling like a failure because for as much as I want to give up, I don’t. I fight each and every day to keep myself as healthy as I can be. I find myself feeling like I suck because I try not to feel sucky. My borderline personality disorder only amplifies the feelings of…well…all of the feelings. The feelings I have. The feelings I don’t have. The feelings… So many feelings. All while feeling nothing. Make sense? Probably not. Relatable? For many of us who struggle with our mental health, absolutely. Full disclosure: I don’t want to write this post because I hate that I can’t seem to come up with a way of explaining the unexplainable. That is why I am writing though. Sometimes it is best to get the words out even when they don’t make sense. For many years I didn’t and it tried to kill me. There have been people along the way who have helped me be OK with not being OK. People who are OK with my words not making sense. There are not enough words to describe the blessing of a person who will look you in the eye and say, “that makes absolutely no sense to me.” and then proceed to sit with you in the silence just so you don’t have to sit alone. We can all use a good therapist who will tell you, “Crazy is not a word we use here. Human, human is the word you are looking for.” Milestones mean different things to different people. How we feel about those things are our own. “You should be over that by now.” is not for anyone else to decide. Our journey is ours. We get there when we get there. If it all doesn’t make sense right now, that’s OK. Right now my milestone is today. I made it through today. I will hang on to the good times of the past, remembering them; I know they will be back. Not every day will be like today. And tonight I won’t hang onto God. Tonight I will let Him hold onto me.