This is a very spontaneous post which was written at stupid o’clock (so forgive me if it doesn’t make sense) but I felt I needed to share a little about the above two topics.
Being a Christian with a mental health issue is difficult.
For those who don’t know me IRL and only know me through the medium of social media, you may not be aware that I’m a Christian – I have a personal faith in Jesus Christ and very much believe in God. Now that might offend some, it might change your opinion of me but I’d like to think the friends I have online would give me the same respect I give them when it comes to personal beliefs.
There seems to be this perception that although it’s difficult being a Christian, it should be easy for us to turn to God in times of crisis and difficulty. That during those times, our quantity of prayer should increase, the time we spend reading the Bible will increase, that we’ll spend more time in church. Can I just point out that that isn’t always what happens?
Case in point; my life for the past number of months. I’ve gone to church about four times since August and three of those times it’s because a friend had something on and I was there to support them. I can count on one hand the number of times I have prayed. I am certain that I have not once lifted my Bible to read it.
Each time I’ve experienced a low or difficult moment in life, I’ve come out the other side stronger and feeling more reliant on God. However when everyday for the past 2 months has been a ‘low moment’, it’s hard to turn to God in those times because it just feels futile and pointless. Depression makes doing anything seem futile and pointless.
I feel about as far away from God as I ever have done. I feel like the worst Christian in the world which is why I’ve avoided bringing my faith up lately. I don’t talk about God to anyone because I feel like such a hypocrite. I can no longer put a front on that I’m a happy Christian girl because that’s not who I am right now and it would be wrong of me to portray myself that way.
Sometimes it feels like I don’t have a faith anymore. I still believe in God and believe He can do great things, I just don’t believe He can do them for me. It’s pretty brutal but just what I’ve been feeling and it’s pointless lying about it.
I can’t deny that I’ve spent quite some time questioning why I’m the one to be diagnosed with depression; why I’m the one that’s been left feeling lonely, unloved and worthless. I don’t have the answers and I might not have them for quite some time so I guess I just have to trust that these feelings are momentary and won’t last forever.
I received a message from a friend last week about faith and I really appreciated it because it was exactly what I needed to hear. They reminded me of how much God loves me and that as hard as it is going to church, once you start going back, you notice how much it helps. I vowed then to make more of an effort in going to church, because I’m not going to let depression make decisions for me.
My aim of this post was just to be honest in the fact that I struggle every day with my faith. I’m no longer putting on a front that spiritually everything is great because that’s about as far from the truth as you could get.
However, it is slowly a work in progress. I’m beginning to reclaim the self-worth that I once had (albeit a small amount). I’m beginning to realise that I am loved, even though it feels like I’m not. That life probably has wonderful things in store for me, even though it feels like I’m stuck in a rut.
It’s a daily battle between the irrational and rational sides of my brain and currently irrationality has proved more dominant. I’m thankful for that self-awareness, that I’m able to recognise that. It’s an important step in recovery.
I’m not throwing myself in at the deep end, I’m not making promises that ultimately I know I won’t keep (because that’ll make me feel worse about myself) but I’m going to take small steps in trying to reclaim my faith from the hands of depression.
I’m going to try and be proactive; maybe setting reminders, getting friends to hold me accountable, having more courage to go to church by myself. I won’t know and I won’t make progress if I don’t try (as hard as that is with depression).
If you know that a fellow follower of Jesus is struggling mentally, talk to them. Encourage and build them up. Pray for them because they’re probably struggling to do it themselves.