Is depression a sin? Does it mean you don't have enough faith? Is it genetic? Are some people predisposed to mental health issues more than others? What about Bipolar Disorder? Borderline Personality Disorder? Is it okay to take meds? How many meds? How about Chronic Anxiety? Can we even say Schizophrenia without people freaking out?
Do we cast out demons or pop a Xanax? We should probably talk about it.
With no apologies, I've gone after this topic of conversation in the church. The more conversations I've had, the more I realize people are desperate for answers. They want answers for themselves, their kids, their families...they just want answers. In case you are wondering my own beliefs, I avidly support the church, love Jesus, and am a ywamer - yet I have to say that for whatever reason,
it seems people are still afraid to bring up this topic without worrying they will offend someone or say something 'not christian' enough.
I have found and attend a church where they acknowledge and go after the not-so-simple discussions relating to the mental health arena. They don't back away or give a one off answer to let people know they care but then shy away from talking about it in detail.
We can't say 'just pray more' thinking it's sufficient advice, or naively tell someone medicine is an unhealthy route. This is far more damaging than it is helpful.
We need to come together and be the church - support and love those around us with mental health struggles even if we don't always have the answers.
Ever since I wrote about my nervous breakdown, people have submitted their own stories of depression, ptsd, bipolar episodes, suicide attempts, etc and are all currently in Christian community. Everyone has said something similar,
I kept it a secret because I was ashamed.
Ok great so we are all walking around with our hidden secrets and not talking about them for fear of being judged, when in reality we are each other's answers. Judah Smith, pastor of City Church (and shoutout Justin Bieber's pastor) has a How's Your Soul book and series that is far more relevant than a lot of the stuff I see posted on social media. Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church suffered a devastating loss after his son committed suicide. A lot of his ministry focus is mental health and he holds gatherings solely to support the masses. Joyce Meyer is a women's pastor whose book Battlefield of the Mind gives practical advice on overcoming mental obstacles.
If you have found a church or pastor who has helped you with your mental health journey, post it in the comments to help out others who are looking for their safe zone.