Mental health is real and it does not discriminate.
My Own Struggles
In my own life, I have dealt with depression and anxiety. Before, I always thought that Christians are supposed to be happy. God is in our life so everything is fine. Even when things get bad, Christians don’t fall into that pit of despair. Mental health is for crazy, unkept, people who are in strait jackets in mental institutions.
In my prior thinking, this was my thought process as a teen and young adult even though I was depressed and did not want to admit it.
Depression is not the same XYZ formula. It comes in different ways in different forms.
I lived putting up a happy, Christian, church-face mask to the world. I was happy on the outside but depressed and crumbling on the inside. I buried my burdens and insecurities deep within and dug myself into a pit of despair. I felt worthless and alone. Even though I could dig my way out, I would go back to digging deeper and deeper in despair.
As a teen, after church, I would try to sleep the day away. Not much of an appetite. I lost weight. I would pretend everything was ok. But I would not admit that I was depressed.
There were boiling points in my life where my depression was seen and I had to face myself. Whether I was confronted by my family, friends, or mentors, my struggles were revealed and I could not hide it. I was found out.
Pray it away…just pray about it and you will be fine.
Well I would do that but then I would still feel depressed. I was still in my pit. I was still hiding from people. I would fake it till I made it. Just pretend everything was fine…(but I wasn’t).
Like I said, I did not want to seem “crazy” cause Christians weren’t supposed to be that way. Wrong thought process…
How I Do Function
Yes, I still pray but I pray differently. I pray for relief and comfort, some reassurance from God. I still read the Bible for counsel, relief, and comfort. I still seek Godly counsel and fellowship with other believers.
I had to learn to talk about my problems. Talking it out helps. Easier said than done but still it helps. I have received counsel from my pastor. During law school, I did see a counselor to talk out my stresses and insecurities. I would try to talk it out with my family (not easy but I get brave enough to talk to them).
List positive affirmations to myself. When I post scripture or encouragements on social media or when I blog, it’s therapy for me. I remind myself: Bianca, you are not perfect and you don’t need to be. You are not a disappointment. There are good things in your life. Count the blessings you have. I know they exist in your life. Don’t forget that.
Sometimes I have had to remove myself from situations or people because that can cause stress. In my sophomore year of college, I had a major meltdown because I was overly stressed, depressed, and just failing. As a result, I took a semester off, went to a junior college, and lived at home until my junior year. I had to take a step back and clear my mind. I was not in a healthy place spiritually, emotionally, or academically.
Some sort of medical help may be necessary. I had a chemical imbalance so I needed to take something to balance me. Nothing to be ashamed of. I function like a human.
An outlet can be therapy. I started painting to help me. It is a wonderful escape to be active and make something beautiful in the process.
I am in no way saying this is easy. I do not have it figured out. I have to fight to love myself and value myself enough to face each day. I know I have tools and resources to keep going but sometimes I am not fine.
It’s ok to seek help. It’s ok to feel bad. But try to find an outlet. You are not alone in this world. Know that it’s ok to seek help…even Christians too.
I believe Jesus knows that we hurt and He hurts for us. I believe Jesus has gifted individuals with the ability to counsel and encourage in life situations. Jesus is the ultimate Counselor but He calls people to be His hands and feet. God created medicine for a reason and some people need it. God made resources for a reason.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.-1 Corinthians 10:13
There is a way to endure with Jesus. There have been dark moments where all I had was myself and I could have hurt myself, but there was a still small voice telling me to hold on. When I could not sleep, I felt someone wrap their arms around me. When in my despair, I felt angels surrounding me. Something was in the room but I did not know what. Nothing scary but I know it’s God.
Sometimes I function and survive because I am holding on the hem of Jesus’s garment. Even if it is a thread, I know I can never go wrong with turning to Jesus.
My Go-To Psalm is Psalm 121:
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.
Hold on to Jesus. He won’t let you go. Even in the darkness moments, He is there. You may not feel like He is but He is. Even if you don’t love Jesus or believe in Jesus, He is still watching over you. He still wants you.
There is no perfect solution. There is nothing to be ashamed of. We are all human. As Christians, we are still human. We all fall short. God is the Ultimate Counselor and Sustainer. And God created ways to be at peace. I still struggle my insecurities but fight each day the best I can. It’s ok to not be ok. Remember this:
You are not alone.
You will make it.
I believe and have faith in you.