No One Brings Dinner When _______
Several years ago, I read an article titled, 'Comfort Food, No One Brings Dinner When Your Daughter is an Addict.' The author made an excellent point regarding the helpfulness of taking a meal to a family that is dealing with mental illness.
Soon after, I received an extremely thoughtful email from Megan, a meal provider, who reminded me of this specific article and added some personal insight. I received permission from her to share a portion of her email to me:
'A little while ago, I saw a friend of mine post a link to your website for meals for a friend with a newborn in the NICU. I think that what you all do is awesome! You provide a way for others to bring comfort food to people in need.
When I saw that post, I couldn't help but think of the countless people who suffer from mental illnesses, and who are sometimes hospitalized due to their overwhelming symptoms. I, myself, have Bipolar Disorder and Anxiety, and while I am currently living well with my illnesses, I have been hospitalized many times in the past.
As a person with a mental illness, I know the great stigma that is still attached to it. When someone has a physical illness, like cancer, or a baby in the NICU, families and friends usually flock to bring meals to that person/ family. However, when a person is having a mental health crisis, their family and friends sometimes run the other direction. A lot of people are scared of those with mental illness.'
I was appreciative of Megan's email and her courage to write to me. Most of all, she's correct. Helping a family dealing with mental illness doesn't seem to come to mind as quickly as other needs.
I'm challenging myself as I write this, but what situations might we be forgetting when we extend offers to take a meal?
- the family of someone struggling with drug addiction
- the spouse of someone who is in rehab for alcohol addiction
- a friend who struggles with depression/anxiety
- the family of someone who may be suffering with PTSD
This list could go on and on, but it's worth starting. Food provides comfort and it's worth thinking a little more broadly about who may appreciate a meal.
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