In this blog post, I’ll share my experience with how Christianity and mental have illness overlapped, and why I care so much about it. If you’ve been around a minute you might know that I struggle with clinical anxiety and have gone through seasons of depression in the past, but this alone is not why I’m passionate about mental illness.
Yes, I’ve dealt with my own mental health issues, but why am I passionate about broadening the conversation about mental health? Let me know if you can relate to any of the points below.
- I’ve seen how a lack of conversation or damaging conversations about mental illness have hurt me and I know I’m not alone in that.
- Growing up, my emotions were used against me.
Yelling, crying, and hyperventilating were viewed as immaturity.
- Sexual abuse, sexual harrasment, emotional, spiritual, and other forms of abuse are apart of my story and no doubt have contributed to my mental health issues. Yet these topics were also not talked about, let alone there being advocating for victims of abuse.
- The cult I was in (Branhamism) regularly tried to control our thoughts and emotions.
- William Branham (the founder of Branhamism) claimed that people with mental illness were not true Christians. He was aware of the alarming state of mental illness but claimed that Christians were supposed to be ‘blessed’ and ‘happy’ and that this has ‘nothing to do with the trials that come to a TRUE Christian’. See the quote below for reference.
God says this church of the Laodicean Age is “wretched.” That word comes from two Greek words which mean “endure” and “trial.” And it has nothing to do with the trials that come to a true Christian for God describes a Christian in trial as “blessed” and his attitude one of joy whereas this description is phrased as “wretched and miserable.” How strange. In this age of plenty, in this age of progress, in this age of abundance, how can there be trials? Well now, it is strange; but in this age of plenty and opportunity, when everyone has so much and there is so much more to be had, what with all the inventions to do our work and so many things to give us pleasure, SUDDENLY, we find mental illness taking such a toll as to alarm the nation. When everybody ought to be happy, with really nothing to be unhappy about, millions are taking sedatives at night, pep pills in the morning, rushing to doctors, entering institutions, and trying to drown out unknown fears by alcohol.An Exposition Of The Seven Church Ages – 9 – The Laodicean Church Age
Rev. William Marrion Branham
- Mental health issues were often labeled as a demon or lack of faith.
- The importance of counseling was denied in my household.
When I was ~17 years old and begged to go to counseling but my family forbade it. So I had to sneak out and pay out of my own pocket and walk in a sketchy neighborhood near my college because I didn’t have a car. #counselingisworthit
- Growing up, people who saw me having a panic attack would say things like, “Stop overreacting”, “Charity, you’re being immature,” “What is wrong with you?”, or (probably the worst) perpetuated the panic attack.
- I was taught that medication was for the weak or faithless Christian. So much so that even to this day I struggle with shame surrounding taking medication.
- I grew up mostly uninformed about mental illness, so I always felt like something was wrong with me and I couldn’t tell anyone.
- Lastly, the reason I’m so passionate about mental illness is the growth I’ve experienced over the past couple of years. It has been amazing, and God has shown so much blessing in my life.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”Matthew 5:4 (ESV)
I think in some ways I would not be as dependent on Jesus if not for my mental illness. I’m nowhere near ‘cured’, nor am I expecting God to take away this thorn in my side (although I’d be thankful for that), I’ve seen some of the ways God is using my weakness for His glory. I’m vastly more informed through research, scripture (yes scripture) doctor visits, counselor sessions, good books, and wonderful vulnerable people. I’ve also learned more of what it means to walk with God despite and through my mental illness. Praise God for the peace and comfort that only He can provide. That is why I’m passionate about mental illness and why I’m writing on the topic.
To find my book on Kindle or paperback, “Where the Willow Weeps” and see my story in riveting detail, click here.
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