By David Mandani
Living with mental illness impacts every area of life. It can impact relationships, school, work, family and friends. Often, the struggle is so great that we begin to question God. Can my circumstances change? Is there hope? Does God exist? As a person living with mental illness, I have learned a few lessons about HELP and HOPE in my own recovery journey. These hard learned lessons have brought wellness into my life, fast tracked my care, and changed my relationships with God and others:
Christian Mental Health is Holistic. Recovery is a journey. A process. A process that can come with twists and turns, ups and downs. It is not a destination. When I was first diagnosed, I wanted a quick fix. However, I quickly learned that recovery brings with it many aspects and choices that promote wellness. For example, recovery is holistic and includes physical, emotional, social, cultural, and spiritual growth. Surely, there are even more areas, including but not limited to, finances, vocation, etc. and there are driving principles and truths that aid in maximizing such wellness. We will share more of these time-tested research and biblical principles as we release training and resources on our Saving Face Saving Grace website. Simply put, wellness can be seen as multi-dimensional rather than through one particular lens such as being just physical, just spiritual or perhaps just emotional.
Your Views Can Impede Your Reach. Stigma and misconceptions can stifle one’s progress in moving toward mental wellness and recovery. For instance, if you believe that a Christian living with mental illness lacks faith, or that it must be solely demons that are influencing one’s mind, or perhaps the afflicted person has a sin issue, then you are most likely creating a road block to wellness for yourself or your loved one. And this barrier alone can significantly extend the time it will take to get well. Stigma brings with it its partner of shame when it comes to living with mental illness. Shame also affects families, and it is a recovery killer. It will rob you and your family of life, and isolate you and your loved ones.
I have learned that mental illness does not define you. God does. I am a child of God, not a schizophrenic. Live your life before an audience of One- that is Jesus. Then, you will not need to worry about what others think. This is freedom.
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Studies indicate at least #1in5 people are impacted by mental illness. Over 300 million people worldwide are estimated to suffer from depression alone. Who do you know that needs to hear this message?
An easy way to raise awareness is to share our #nomoreshame message.
Mental illness does not define you. Your story isn’t over.