I didn’t grow up in a household that talked about mental health. Wellbeing and wellness was never really a topic broached for discussion. There wasn’t much conversation between parent and child beyond the walls of education. I think that in most homes, its almost expected that if the necessities are provided, food, clothing, and shelter, all is well. More and more we are seeing that this is not the case. Yet we still struggle to step into the light, and with good reason. As a counsellor, most of my clients tend to carry with them a sense of shame and guilt. They suffered in silence for far too long because they did not want to be labelled, or seen as a burden, but more so a disappointment. It is ingrained in us to respond with I’m good when asked how are you? But the words left unsaid weigh heavily.
The world is in itself triggering, and unfortunately this means 1 in 4 persons is likely to experience a mood, anxiety, personality, psychotic, eating, trauma-related or substance abuse disorder. Sometimes dealing with 2 to 3 at a time. We never think it’ll be a loved one, or the most popular girl in school, or the youth pastor, or an award winning author we look up to, or the revered athlete, artist or doctor, or a decorated police officer, or the smiley cafeteria lunch lady, but it could very well be.
So how about we practice being intentional with reading between the lines, and being more mindful with our words. Instead of reiterating muzzling rhetoric like “Maybe its all in your head“, “everybody feels this way” or “meh, we are all crazy anyways” that only add to the already debilitating stigma around mental health issues, we are more gracious, and say things like “how can I help?” How about we be honest and say “I do not understand, but I want to. Talk to me.” How about we refrain from trying to fix the person, and just (actively) listen? How about we inquire a bit more after the initial “I’m good.” I believe that this is part of what it means to be salt in the earth.
(To my knowledge), the Bible doesn’t speak to mental health per say. It doesn’t necessarily name depression (or any other mental/psychological illness). But, it acknowledges that anxiety in a person’s heart weighs it down, and then offers a solution, but a good word cheers it up |Prov. 12:25|. It is difficult for anyone to seek help in a culture of silence, one that would rather celebrate masked faces, than deal with the potential mess beneath. But the fact is, we are not created do life alone (in isolation). Jesus had the disciples, Saul had David, the Hebrew boys had each other in the fire, Naomi had Ruth and so forth.
King David cried out these words to God,
I’m exhausted and worn out with my weeping.
I endure weary, sleepless nights filled with moaning, soaking my pillows with my tears.
My eyes of faith won’t focus anymore, for sorrow fills my heartPsalms 6:6 (TPT)
The context may be different, but we’ve probably all been here at some point or another. This place of unexplainable mental/emotional weariness. While some are able to press on, others drown; overwhelmed and oppressed by life. It is important to renew our minds daily in God’s word, and equally as a important to surround ourselves with life-giving people. David said “𝑀𝓎 𝒽𝑒𝓁𝓅 𝒸𝑜𝓂𝑒𝓈 𝒻𝓇𝑜𝓂 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝐿𝑜𝓇𝒹, 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝑀𝒶𝓀𝑒𝓇 𝑜𝒻 𝒽𝑒𝒶𝓋𝑒𝓃 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝑒𝒶𝓇𝓉𝒽.”|Psalms 121:2 NIV|. We look to God, and he provides solace through his word. He also places the right people around us. It could be a loved one, a mentor, or a therapist. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness, it is a first step to living a healthier, more fulfilled life.
There are a lot of hurting people out in the world. It is imperative that we get comfortable having more conversations about mental health.
I will end on this note. You matter, and you are loved.
Dear Lord, I thank you for this day. It is a day you have made, and that’s reason enough to rejoice and be glad. Thank you for life Lord, and for your life giving words. Thank you for the open invitation to come into your presence, lay our burdens and receive rest. Things get crazy, with everything moving so fast. Show us how to abide in your rest Lord. Show us how to see your goodness even on not so good days. I am praying for every single person that is going through a hard time, dealing with a mental illness, suffering in silence, scrambling for some semblance of normalcy. May you strengthen their minds Lord, even as you stir their hearts towards you. May they find peace in your arms Lord, even as your presence calms the storms in their minds. Your word says that where there is light, darkness cannot prevail. I see your children being released from the shackles of negative and suicidal thoughts. I see your children standing up tall, no longer bowed over in defeat. I see healing taking place. I see wholeness in the minds and hearts of your children. Thank you for connecting us with the right people Lord, people who are of you, and for us. In the name of Jesus I declare that your children are strong, even as they continue to abide in you. Amen.
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