I found an altar at the Albuquerque airport. It might be blasphemy to call a merchandise display at a gift store an altar, but what it contained was holy to me. There, hiding (out of shame?) among all the saints on a string was Saint Dymphna.
The icon description on the back says, “Saint Dymphna: Patron Saint of Mental Illness” and offers this prayer:
“Please intercede for me at the throne of divine mercy for help. May I know courage in this hour of need and find my way out of suffering.”
She is seated in a golden field holding a blooming white iris, dark hair framing her Mona Lisa-like face.
I purchased a pocket size icon of St. Dymphna. She is made of wood and feels smooth to the touch. Just knowing she exists comforts me.
How had I not know about this St. Prozac?
While talking with my brother over a lunch of pad thai noodles he shared his hopes for 2014.
He wishes he could be proud of his mental health.
He wishes he had pride enough to wear a T-shirt and march in a parade with others living with bi-polar.
Instead of feeling ashamed of his mental health, he wants to be proud.
I get that. It’s so isolating and depressing to feel like you are the only one.
St. Prozac…St. Dymphna…Patron Saint of Mental Health, help us all to be proud of who we are, proud enough to come out of hiding, proud enough to break the silence, proud enough to end the stigma.
I could get behind a t-shirt with St. Dymphna on it. Now, who wants to march in a parade?