Barnes: Mental illness doesn’t discriminate

Published 12:54 am Tuesday, May 3, 2016

An Andalusia native wants locals to know that mental illness does not discriminate based on demographics.

Glover Barnes said he was reared in a prominent and church-going family, but has suffered through mental health issues since a young age.

“When I was 13 or 14 years old, I knew I was different from everyone else,” he said. “I knew I never felt good and I was never happy.”

0503-GLoverBarnes said he talked about how he was feeling, but was told nothing could be done to help him.

“Looking back, I’m glad nothing happened then because I didn’t want to go through shock treatment,” which was the standard of the day, he said.

Barnes said he began romanticizing death and suicide.

“I was blessed to have a praying mother and grandmother,” he said.

He went to church with his grandmother and got baptized as a senior in high school.

Barnes said he clung to his faith as he was screaming for help.

He went to college and at 24, he really got serious about his faith.

“I fell very, very deep into the arms of Jesus,” he said.

Barnes found out he was suffering from major depressive disorder and a personality disorder.

Major depressive disorder is defined as a significant medical condition that affects many areas of ones life. It impacts mood and behavior as well as various physical functions, such as appetite and sleep.

Panic attacks have also been a struggle for Barnes.

“They are very common,” he said. “You think you’re having a heart attack.”

Barnes’ attacks began becoming more severe as he had more.

“Doctors told me they were the most dramatic they had ever heard of,” he said. “I would scream from one to nine hours at the top of my lungs.”

Xanax would be the only thing that could calm him.

Still, though, Barnes cautions people about using Xanax.

“You can become addicted,” he said.

Barnes said through his battles, God has abundantly blessed him, despite his struggles.

He has started many different ministries, including a men’s family Bible fellowship, a sailing club for singles, served as a deacon and more.

“God has used a broken, humble person,” he said. “Jesus came to help the broken, needy and hurting.”

Barnes said he hurts every day.

“Jesus is there for me every day, except when my pride gets in the way,” he said.

Through his battles with depression, Barnes has lost his job more than 40 times, he said.

“Employers just don’t know how to deal with it,” he said. “But eventually, I found a career I could do well at and God blessed me with a six-figure income.”

At 49, his illness took away his ability to work, however.

“When that happened, doctors told me I wouldn’t live long,” he said. “One doctor told me I was the second most traumatized person he had ever seen. I was told to go pick out my casket.”

During those times, Barnes said he turned to his brother, David.

When the doctor talked to Barnes about his mental illness and the severity of it, both he and David wept.

Barnes said he’s been blessed with a good support system in his siblings.

“My brother George has helped me tremendously and so has my sister,” he said.

Barnes said he urges those who are battling mental health issues to seek treatment.

He also reminds families that mental health issues are family challenges and are not meant to be dealt with alone.

“Suicide is often thought out,” he said. “It’s a feeling of hopelessness. We all have to have hope to get through.”

Barnes said he was a loner in high school.

“Imagine people who did not have the family situation I did,” he said. “Jesus offers unconditional love and we are in turn to offer that. If we don’t, we can be hypocrites.”

Barnes said turning away from loved ones is unacceptable.

“This is a societal problem,” he said. “We have to let them know we care. It won’t go away.”

One in five adults in American experience mental illness, while 1 in 25 or 10 million adults live with a serious mental illness.

Statistics show that one-half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14 and three-quarters by 24.

Sixteen million American adults live with major depression and 42 million adults live with anxiety disorders.

Barnes urges those to get proper treatment and support.

“Stay away from drugs and alcohol,” he said. “Find a loving and caring church and read your Bible. Life is short. I am willing to help as much as I can.”

Barnes said he is willing to speak at churches or civic organizations about mental health.

For more info, email Barnes at or call South Central Alabama Mental Health at 222-2523.