Asking for Help

She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.”

Mark 5:27,28

I never wanted help until I decided I needed it. The following describes my life prior to recovery, how dire things were and for how long, yet I didn’t seek assistance.

My living quarters have been essentially condemnable numerous times in my life due to my mental health condition, but I had no desire to ask for help. Psychologically, I have been in a state that posed a risk to my life on countless occasions, but I continued living life as if nothing was off kilter. I was once forced into the back of an ambulance after an intervention. The paramedic took my pulse, and I could sense the shock in the EMT’s expression when he read my heart rate. He downplayed the situation and said, “Your pulse is little elevated for a 27-year-old.” But I was deluded; I thought I was in the ambulance because the medical professionals wanted to study me as a perfect specimen of a healthy human. I felt there was no need for me to seek assistance from anyone, even when I was en route to a psychiatric facility in the back of a hospital transport. In my case, when the grip of an untreated dual diagnosis overtook me, I was at the whim of a selfish, arrogant, narcissistic, and delusional disorder. It wasn’t my spirit or personality in control; the symptoms took hold.

I’ve highlighted a section of the Gospel of Mark where an unnamed woman seeks help. For twelve years, a woman hemorrhaged. For twelve years, a woman was banned from the mikvahs, the ritual baths that would allow this woman to be deemed clean and fully reintegrated into Hebrew society. For twelve years, this woman must have desired a remedy to her ailment. Something motivated this woman to reach out and touch the fringes of Jesus’ clothing to receive the help that she had needed for twelve years.

When Jesus turns around to meet the woman, he eventually says, “Your faith has made you well.” Faith is at the center of this interaction between Jesus and the unnamed woman who sought help. If her faith made her well, she shows her faith by acting on it. Reaching out her arm with the desire to be relieved of her ailment is an act of faith. It is likely the unnamed woman took action because she already had an existing relationship with the divine, in the same way that all of us do. God creates us, guides us and is always present.  So when we look at faith in spiritual terms, we have to consider how it is a reciprocation of the gifts that we already receive from a Higher Power.

So is it that simple? In the midst of a mental health crisis, we need only reach out to God, and then we will receive the wholesale recovery solution through one mystical encounter? Unfortunately, that has not been my experience. What I want to draw our focus to is the drive, desire, and urgency of the unnamed woman. After twelve years of suffering, the unnamed woman had a deep desire to seek help; she acted on that desire, and it coincided with the arrival of Jesus. The stars aligned for this woman, and she was able to act on her faith at the exact right moment. When it comes to asking for help and seeking assistance in matters of mental health, the proper conditions are needed if an individual is to be connected to the support that they require to help their specific psychiatric malady.

As we reflect on this, we must acknowledge that mental health conditions often do not lend themselves to asking for help. In my experience, I was ready to seek help for addiction and mental health issues at the age of seventeen. Over the course of, interestingly enough, twelve years, I continued to ask for help and then promptly relapse. For those around me, it was frustrating. My family would see me take two steps forward and then stumble back ten steps, leaving myself worse off than before. Over the course of a decade, my family prayed that I would accept the help that I asked for. In my experience, receiving help in the world of mental health and addiction is about the faith of everyone involved, a community of support, creating the right conditions for ongoing assistance, and the continued willingness of the affected individual.

You are the one that listens, responds and saves. Open our eyes to the possibility of assistance. Relieve us of our unhelpful self reliance. 

Seth Perry

Seth Perry

ELCA Pastor -Devotional Blogger- Mental Health Recovery Educator-Living Well with Bipolar Type 1


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A devotion. I never wanted help until I decided I needed it. The following describes my life prior to recovery, how dire things were and for how long, yet I didn't seek assistance. My apartment was condemnable numerous times in my life due to my mental health condition, but I had no desire to ask for help. I was on the brink of physical and mental collapse constantly. I avoided reaching out. Why? Read on to discover the journey of faith and seeking assistance in the midst of a mental health crisis.