Many programs have been featured on ABC and SBS during Mental Health Week. A very entertaining speaker who was on the Q&A panel was Fay Jackson.
I first met Fay when I was organising a conference where she was a keynote speaker and then again last year when she attended a Mental Health Conference here at Northside. Fay’s story is one of incredible inspiration and courage. She was first diagnosed from suffering bipolar and manic depression at the age of 15. She had been told that she will never work, never be a valuable member of society and was asked to be realistic about what she can be. She was given a job two days a week to be an advocate for mental health but within two years she rose and became the Director of that Psychiatric Hospital. She is now CEO of her own company and currently Deputy Commissioner, Mental Health Commission. She works and campaigns tirelessly against stigmatism and discrimination against sufferers of mental health. She speaks about ‘a life lived in fear is a life half lived’ and challenges anyone with severe anxiety to stop being afraid if you might fail. She says, ‘take everything that you are including what you think is not good about you and put it in a different context and see what you can do with it.’ She uses her debilitating mental illness and her stories to try to make a difference. She says,
‘’I live today to make a difference….’’
“I live today because I have meaning in my life not because of the pills that I take….’
“I live today not just because of my family but because I believe I was born with my mental illness to make a difference …..”
How precious is God’s promise that in our troubled seasons we can find rest and peace for “we are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair, persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed…” (1 Corinthians 4:8-9)
It’s absolutely okay if you’re not….. Who can you reach out to today who you think is not OK?