Friendship Rather Than Fear

Rita, second from the left, spending time with some of her friends from The Well at the spring spiritual retreat.

Rita’s struggles with her mental health began nearly four decades ago. “It started when I had a baby,” she says. Her suffering from postpartum depression eventually led to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder—and a long and difficult path of dealing with a serious mental illness. It is with pain that Rita recalls being hospitalized and strapped to a bed due to the condition she’s dealt with for so long. Continue reading

Rooted in Friendship

Rita, Viola, and Sharon - Rooted in FriendshipRita, Viola and Sharon always sit together. Viola is Sharon’s mother, and Rita is Sharon’s best friend. The Well Community is their meeting place. “Rita was my neighbor at the apartment building I lived in and invited me to come to The Well with her one day. She has been coming for years, but I joined about six years ago. We come here most days and talk to everybody,” Sharon says. Continue reading

Fighting Stigma: The Power of Little Things

Lydia

Lydia at the 2017 Well Community Spring Retreat

Seven years ago, Lydia was introduced to The Well Community by the man who would become her husband. She met Bill on the bus, and he shared with her about Jesus and invited her to join him at The Well. Two years later, he presented her with a ring, and the couple was married there, Lydia in a royal blue dress and Bill in a navy suit.

To Lydia, The Well is far more than the place where she got to know her husband. It’s a place of support in a world that often views those dealing with mental illness through the lens of stigma, treating them with prejudice or even cruelty. Continue reading

Examples of Love and Devotion

2017 Intern - Akintunde - Copy

Akintunde, on the far right

For 20 years, Akintunde worked as a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor in Dallas, Arlington and Grapevine, helping men and women who struggled with drug addictions receive appropriate treatment. When he retired several years ago, Akintunde quickly realized the copious amount of downtime wasn’t for him. He wanted to be active and productive, and despite a diagnosis of glaucoma that left him with peripheral vision so limited he qualified for medical disability, he decided to go back to school. Akintunde is now a graduate student working toward a master’s degree in social work with a concentration in mental health and substance abuse at the University of Texas at Arlington. As part of his graduate degree requirements, Akintunde interned at The Well for eight months. Continue reading

Pets As Comfort Companions

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Well Community members Lyndon and Angel with their dogs

What’s more comforting than a cat curled up with you after a tiresome day? Or an energetic puppy bounding around the house, its little tail wagging and its pink tongue hanging out its mouth? Not much, many pet owners will say. Pets can bring joy and comfort into any home, and this is especially true for men and women who struggle with severe mental illnesses. Continue reading

Finding Significance at The Well

“Mental illness … is like being caught up in a tornado, a tornado you don’t really see,” says Well member PT. “You see the debris that is floating in the air … but you don’t really see the tornado.”

PT has lived with the storm of mental illness for over 35 years. He experienced his first episode related to bipolar schizoaffective disorder in 1980, while in Israel with a discipleship group. “I didn’t sleep for three days straight,” he recalls. “My thoughts were racing.” Continue reading

Member Spotlight: Meet Skip

Skip_1_editedOn just about any day of the week, you can find The Well Community member Burl Skipwith sitting on the front porch of Jacob’s House, chatting with other residents and calling out greetings to passing neighbors. “Skip” is 57 and battles schizoaffective disorder, a mental illness that has features of both schizophrenia and a mood irregularity like major depression or bipolar disorder. Continue reading