Things I’ve learnt from my journey with mental health

Before I start I feel like I need to punctuate this by saying I can only speak from my personal experience with depression and anxiety. And even if we have both walk through depression our experience will vary enormously. There are many areas of mental I have no direct experience of so can only try and listen and empathise with your story in a bid to learn more.

Having said that, one of the things I know about struggling with your mental health is that it is a liar and it will do it’s very best to isolate you.

It will strike at the very core of you and tell you that you are alone in what you are facing. That if you are courageous enough to reach out for help and support that you will be rejected and judged, looked at and treated differently. That in the very act of asking for help you are somehow weak and pathetic, unable to ‘fix’ whatever has ‘gone wrong’, whatever it was that you must have done to end up in this place of suffering. That the God in whom you put your trust has turned his face away from you, unable to even look at you and unwilling to rescue you.

It will target your confidence, your self worth and identity. It will tell you that you are failing as a wife/husband, mother/father, daughter/son, sister/brother, teacher/friend/human being. It will tell you that you have failed and let down those you are supposed to love the most.

It will be ruthless and unrelenting in its pushing, poking and prodding until you feel you have nothing left, until you feel completely broken, and that you truly are all of those things it says about you.

But here is the truth. What we believe to be true and what is actually true is not always that same and what we feel cannot always be trusted as being truth. Just because I believe something about myself or my situation does not make it truth!

When our mental health is not in a good way we may believe we are better off alone, shutting ourselves away, not burdening others with our problems but that is not how we would expect someone else who was struggling to behave. We encourage others to reach out and talk to people, to seek help where needed but we rarely take that onboard for ourselves, yet the Bible says

How would I want to be treated by those around me when I am struggling, what would I want them to do with and for me? Why is it so much easier to be the helper and supporter than it is to be the one receiving those things?

I was reminded this afternoon of the Footprints poem, about how when life is going well we can clearly see God walking with us, it’s easier to live in his blessing and trust in the promises for our lives and yet when we face trials, struggles and darkness we can often wonder where God is in that. Why are certain things being ‘allowed’ to happen and what will God do through it all. Will we even come out of the other side.

When I am finding things difficult and hard I cling on to the truth that God is in it, that I can trust him and he will never, NEVER abandon me. I may feel alone but that does not make it true.

So whatever you are facing, you are not alone in it. God is guiding and carrying you. He is and has placed people in your life ready to listen to your heartache and offer comfort simply through their presence not necessarily by offering solutions but by offering of themselves.

What a wonderful gift we can be onto others and can also receive for ourselves.