As with anything, those of us with mental illness have much to consider. I believe that God will direct us through these issues. And these are not static things. It isn’t “one and your done”– these are ongoing. They never get completely resolved; you must get used to this. The following list is not meant to be exhaustive.
- Stigma— One of the basic hazards that comes with a mental illness.
- Medications– This will be a stretching time as you must determine what is best for you, your family and basic functionality. There will be many opinions and many issues that will arise. Your patience will be required (but isn’t it always?) Oh, and vodka is not considered a med.
- Church—“Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some” should be our mantra, we need fellowship. It is easy to just go it alone, but we will suffer a barrenness which we will see in our hearts. (I’ve chafed at this from time to time.)
- Therapy— To go or not to go? A good therapist is worth their weight in gold doubloons, but a bad one can be hard to tolerate. Also, a Christian may not always be the best for you personally. My current is a unbeliever, but is very respectful regarding my faith.
- Marriage— A faithful spouse/friend is key to managing your mental illness.
- Family— They will feel the brunt of your issues. It is good to be aware of this and adjust to their needs. Above all, don’t flog yourself for your failings. Trust in the Lord to redeem things.
- Work— Surprisingly, some employers have little tolerance for your issues, but the law is they can’t discriminate against a mental illness. I hope it won’t come down to that.
- Social/friend-– Finding other mentally ill believers is priceless. When I meet someone who also struggled with severe depression I give them a big hug.
We have the joy of combining our discipleship with our illness. This is a formidable task. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit stands ready to give you wisdom. You will discover that it really isn’t the big things that you will struggle with the most, but the littler issues that can ‘rock your world.’ (I’m beginning to wonder if “grittiness” should be added to the fruits of the Holy Spirit?)
The Lord truly will accommodate your illness with His power and grace. He always does this for His children.
“There is no circumstance, no trouble, no testing, that can ever touch me until, first of all, it has gone past God and past Christ, right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a great purpose.”
— Alan Redpath
These are only some of the areas that are effected by a mental illness. A good pastor, or a therapist can do wonders when things are out of whack. The spiritual disciplines of prayer, scripture, and the Word will assist you. Having people pray for you will be a necessity and may provide you relief and restore your sanity. Just remember, when you feel like all is dark and you are buried, actually you’ve been planted.
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
Philippians 1:6, NLT