Mental illness affects millions of people all over the world. In America, one in four adults suffers from this affliction. Many of the people who end up at The Mission are dealing with their own mental health issues. Not being able to afford proper care or medication for these conditions have caused their lives to take them in a direction that they wouldn’t have planned for themselves. Becoming abruptly without loved ones and shelter can worsen the problem.
Karla moved from Alabama to Canada when she met her husband. After 14 years of marriage, it was revealed that her immigration papers went undone, partly due to her bipolar disorder, amongst other maladies. Learning she had to leave her husband and kids was devastating to her. She arrived over the border and made her way to Bellingham. Not sure what to do, or where to go, she was homeless for two weeks.
“Homelessness is like being at the bottom of the pit,” Karla said. “You are totally separated; you don’t even know what’s going on in the news.”
A consistent lack of food led to days without eating. A friend told her about the Lighthouse Mission and she made her way to there to get some nourishment. It was her first hot meal in weeks. To her, it felt like she was home again. The separation of her family was an unbearable sadness upon her life, and to feel some warmth was the beginning of her recovery.
Karla had been feeling the call of the spirit for a long time, moved into the Agape Home and joined the New Life Program to renew her life. If she was going to get mentally well, she said she might as well get her spirit in order too. She’s now on medication, as well as attending counseling sessions. She’s learned how to manage her anger in a loving Christian way, instead of lashing out at the other women she resides with.
“For the first time in 20 years of my life, I feel normal,” She said. “I’m able to go through the day and not wonder what kind of roller coaster I’ll be on.”
This cold holiday season, she’ll continue to work on getting closer with the Lord, as well as maintaining her mental health. The Mission has been extremely beneficial to her recovery and path through this transition in her life.