Our mental health is so important. How we are emotionally will impact on every other aspect of our life, and most of us will encounter a mental health problem in ourselves or someone we are close to during our lifetime. Talking about our emotions can be difficult but can make a real difference to how we feel. In the Bible, the story of the people of God, we read about the full range of human emotions. In the Psalms we see the writers struggling, crying out to God, trying to make sense of their sufferings. In Jesus we see all human experience, laughter and tears, fear and frustration. God made our emotions, and he understands them to be good things. At times, however they will feel anything but good.
You may feel so low that each day is a struggle, or you may not know how to begin to make sense of what you are experiencing. Mental health issues are many and varied, and can be debilitating and exhausting, but there is help available. Having a conversation is a great place to start, trying to put into words how you feel, and listening when others need to talk too. Being in a supportive network is invaluable, as mental health issues can leave us isolated and lonely. Churches are great at providing these networks, somewhere for people to come at hard times and find a warm welcome and a listening ear. Know that you’re not alone at these times, that God sees you and loves you, and that all of us will find life hard sometimes.
Take some time out, slow down, make sure you eat well and exercise, remember those things that bring you joy.
And in the times when you can’t remember them, when joy feels like a far-off land, ask those you trust to carry that joy for you until you are able to experience it again.
Remember also to pray, and to hold in mind that God is incredibly practical, and that medical help and coping skills are an answer to prayer. Sometimes we need the intervention of others, and that doesn’t mean that we’ve failed, or that our faith isn’t strong enough. We all need help sometimes. There are lots of organisations who can help, and one is Keeping Health in Mind. We offer information, courses and groups to help everyone to feel free to worship, free to belong and free to grow. Our work grew from the knowledge that God’s heart is with those whose mental well being is compromised, and that he longs for his church to be part of the answer.
Our prayer is that the freedom that Christ brings to be fully ourselves, not held back by our mental health, would be available for all.
To find out more, go to keepinghealthinmind.org.uk