Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Mental Illness Part 2

I was reading a book my husband recommended me called "Unanswered: lasting truth for trending questions" by Jeremiah J. Johnston.  While I read it this quote popped up I HAD to highlight:

"Just because a person has received Jesus Christ as their Savior does not eradicate their choice in behaviors, their hereditary traits, nor their biological, mental, and emotional states."

I've made a similar post about this before.  There are people who believe just because you're a follower of Christ, you shouldn't struggle with mental illnesses.  It's a stigma in the church (and it needs to end soon).  People say things like "Oh you don't have enough faith!"  or "You need to trust God more!" or even "You're not a true believer!"  This is terrible!  Mental illness is the same thing as a person with a physical illness or disability.  The difference is one is a struggle externally, and the other is a struggle internally.  Mental illnesses are a very dark place to be, it can wreck someones soul.  When I say that I'm not saying literally wrecking their soul, but it can run so deep that it can wreck a person pretty badly.  

Say you're talking to someone at your church.  They tell you that they're struggling with a deep depression and they're considering suicide.  If you tell that person that their struggle is because they don't have enough faith, you aren't helping them, but the opposite.  You may be the breaking point that leads them to put a bullet in their brain if you say such a thing!  You wouldn't tell someone in a wheelchair that they don't have enough faith.  So why tell someone with mental illness that they don't have enough faith?

People in the church who struggle with mental illness can often feel like they can't talk to anyone about it because they are ashamed of their 
struggles and are afraid to be judged by anyone.  So what happens?  They try to fight a losing battle on their own and I can tell you from experience, they will NEVER win that battle on their own.  Instead of condemning them, try to support them.  It's a burden that one cannot carry on their own, and while you may not be able to get rid of the burden completely, you can help them carry that burden.

So please, if you know someone who is struggling with mental illnesses, talk to them without condemning them.  Have them talk with a minister who's experienced in this.  I know some ministers are not always the best people to talk to about this because they just don't have the experience to understand.  Especially when some of them aren't a "people person" (I know, it surprises me too!).  Also recommend some psychiatrists or therapists for them to talk to.  This may be difficult due to expenses and insurance. It also can be difficult because they're not a "one size fits all."  I've been to many psychiatrists and therapists over the years and some have been more helpful than others.  That's not their fault, we just didn't really connect I guess.  Anyway, if it's really bad (like suicidal or self-harm), they may need to be taken to the hospital.  Even if they say they don't need to go, they still may need to.  It's not fun going to the hospital I'll be the first to tell you that.  But they can get medications worked out there and constant eyes on them.  Sometimes I've checked myself in without being forced because I knew if I didn't go, I'd end up making another attempt on my life.  Keep them in constant prayer.  Prayer really does help whether you believe in it or not.


  1. Excellent post. I had a pastor tell me there is no such thing as mental illness (I have anxiety, OCD, ADHD, depression) and that I needed to get right with God aka I was stuck in sin and needed to quit the sinning of having depression and not being right with God. I HATED thAt church after that and switched churches. I'm had a friend go there who also had mental illness and she was afraid to go back there after I told her what happened to me (she had quit going for a while to attend a church that she could walk to because she does not drive and decided to go back) she sent one of the elders a message asking if this is what the church actually believed about mental Ilness and was told it was just the believe of that pastor who was no longer there but. not the belief of the church. I guess that is good but other church this pastor ends up he will be causing great harm preaching like this because people tend to believe everything. Pastor says so he is in a very dangerous place preaching this mentality to people. I feel yea I really do.

    1. I'm sorry you had to go through that :( Yea people in ministry who say that sort of stuff have no business BEING in ministry. There's a little thing called compassion and sometimes they don't have that.