Mental health and pizza

Let me tell you the story of pizza that saves lives.

Well, friends save lives, Jesus saves lives, but pizza is sometimes the simple tool that God uses to make a difference.

We were in the middle of a mental health crisis. No one really likes to talk mental health. We have some level of basic communication on the topic, some good, some unhelpful, general phrases, like

“You should go see a counselor.”

“God brings good out of everything.”

“You’ve got to keep on top of that, make good choices.”

If there was ever a disease we were afraid of catching it’s mental health. There are no Puffs commercials for depression, no home health ad for schizophrenia. Even anxiety is a seen as a personal problem – pray more, worry less! Be grateful!

But let me tell you that mental health comes in your back door like an old high school acquaintance you thought you lost touch with, whom you had no idea was still connected to your life, except for in vague terms, like genetics or a strange uncle who talks funny.

Mental health is, however, whether we care to admit it or not, shockingly universal. Everyone’s stories are different, the diagnoses are different, but we all have the basic gene pool, to create a mental health struggle. No one is exempt, or “better made”. Sin effects our lives and world in frustrating ways – how many of you have family members touched by

addiction

dementia

anxiety

depression

learning disabilities

autism

trauma and distress?

People often back up and back away when mental health enters the scene.

They don’t want to “catch” the mental health cooties (not a thing, fyi). And our culture, while throwing around sexual innuendo and intimate family dynamics on tv and movie screens daily, does not like to be confronted by someone else’s drama when it lives next door.

But what if instead, we brought pizza.

In the middle of our struggles, two of my friends walked in the door, straight through my mess, toting a large pizza, an order of breadsticks, and a two liter of pop to share. They visited. They sat around my table and made me laugh. They asked questions and didn’t offer easy answers. They may have offered some help, but what I really remember is that they offered normalcy. They didn’t look at me like I was scary and had two heads. They were ok with being part of it, even if whatever it was looked kind of messy.

Mental health isn’t discriminating. Most of us will be touched by it somewhere along the road. And we have the ability to change the tide. We don’t have to be therapists or medical doctors, or even super close amazing friends. All we have to do is bear a pizza and say,

“Hi.”

“This stinks.”

“I love you.”

“I still think you matter.”

People did minister and care for us in so many ways, I don’t want to dismiss that. I’m very thankful that so many people jumped right over awkward, weird, and scary and offered affection and care.

But sometimes, I think we just need to keep it simple.

Sometimes we need to know that it starts with a single pizza.

3 thoughts on “Mental health and pizza”

  1. Support from others is so essential. Especially someone who won’t always try to fix things. Just being there is an amazing gift. My family has been impacted at one point or another by all the conditions Heidi listed. Some conditions are easier to be up front about. Anxiety and depression are more difficult for others to understand. Many people feel that both are things that someone can just get over if they try hard enough. They don’t see how the spouse is impacted by their loved ones depression and anxiety.

    When addiction comes into play there is a level of shame on the part of the addict and spouse. Addiction comes in many forms with chemical dependence being the most well know and addressed. In this digital age porography addictions are becoming more common. This addiction is hard because it is many times a secret that only the addict and the spouse know about. Many pastors aren’t aware of the spouse needing support as much as the addict does. Porn is everywhere and so accessible. Porn kills love. If there are women in your life that are partners of any addict reach out ton them with love and support as you would for any woman that was struggling. Sit with someone in their mess and let them know they are not alone.

    1. Amen, Kelli! It’s so true! I pray the testimony of Christ at work in our own lives helps others to see where He is at work in theirs. Thank you for reading and sharing your insight with us.

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