I find it hard to confess that I was emotionally wounded because people might question my faith. Worse yet, they might accuse me of not trusting God enough or tell me that worry is a sin. They might say I’m not praying enough, reading the Bible enough, or applying it correctly when I tell them I’ve been feeling numb, lonely, anxious, or depressed.
But mental health issues happen to everyday people — even to believers who are strong in faith and have friends. I know this because it happened to me.
Unfortunately, Christians made me feel shame for my emotional struggles, but as I discovered God’s view on healing, I realized it wasn’t my faith that was flawed; it was others’ view toward mental health and faith that was skewed.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in four people suffer from anxiety, with one in five suffering from depression. Think about it. Whether you’re sitting at church or laughing with friends on Friday night, odds are someone near you is suffering emotional pain, even if they appear happy, sociable, and capable.
We tend to suffer quietly and anonymously, but it shouldn’t be this way as people of faith. Jesus calls us to love one another unconditionally the way He loves us, but how can we be a light to the world if we can’t even be a light to each other?
Because of the shame I was made to feel, it was easier for me to hide my struggle with anxiety and insomnia. I didn’t want anyone to think I was broken, so I kept quiet and prayed it would all go away.
But God wanted to heal me, not shame me.
During one of the happiest chapters of my life, I suddenly started having panic attacks and debilitating insomnia. I was happily married with two boys, had an optimistic view of life, loved God, had friends, and yet the panic attacks came. They were completely out of the blue, and I didn’t know why.
It turned out that because I was now grown-up and safe, all the painful things I had experienced as a child began to surface. It wasn’t because my faith was faulty but because God loved me and it was time to heal from the past.
My post-traumatic stress disorder therapist told me that a soldier doesn’t experience trauma when he’s brave and fighting on the battlefield but when he’s finally home, safe to face what was too difficult to process at the time. It’s actually God’s design for our bodies to protect us when hurt, fear, or loss are too overwhelming.
However, I was confused. PTSD from childhood trauma? I had never experienced physical abuse or anything as traumatic as what soldiers on the battlefield have. But what my therapist said next stopped me in my tracks… to be continued on (in)courage where I’m posting today...
Read the rest of this important blog post from my heart “Having Anxiety or Depression Doesn’t Mean Your Faith is Flawed”. And please share with friends who may be struggling with anxiety or depression, to encourage their hearts and empower their soul!
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Thank you so much for speaking up for those who suffer from anxiety and depression, Bonnie. The more I become grounded in my identity in Christ, the more I realize the truth of this statement – “I discovered God’s view on healing, I realized it wasn’t my faith that was flawed; it was others’ view toward mental health and faith that was skewed.” I love all the truths you have expressed here to drive out the myths. Thank you for allowing God to use you to bless others, myself included, both now and in the past. Love and blessings to you!