Posted in anxiety, bipolar, church, depression, medications, mental disorders

Mental Health and Christianity

Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

I will never understand why every organ in your body gets support and sympathy when it is ill, except for your brain.

–Unknown

It’s hard having to deal with a mental illness. It can really become a burden sometimes.

As a bipolar sufferer I must deal with the rollercoaster of emotions quite frequently. I can be in the best mood one second and be crying the next. However, as of lately I’ve been pretty stable due to the increase of one medication and being put on a new medication. It seems like it’s a good balance. Recently, I was on the verge of a manic episode and I could feel it. So that’s why my doctor added a new medication to my “cocktail.”

I came across some quotes about mental illness that I’d like to share.

It’s called a mental illness for a reason….because it is an illness. Why can’t it be accepted like any other illness?

Unknown

There is such a stigma when it comes to mental illness. Just because you can’t see it, however, does not mean it’s not there.

Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden; it is easier to say, “my tooth is aching” than to say “my heart is broken.”

C.S. Lewis

I think C.S. Lewis hit the nail on the head with this quote. Trying to hide mental pain just makes things worse. But he’s right….it’s easier to talk about a physical ailment than it is a mental ailment.

There continues to be a high level of suspicion, distrust and even fear in the church when it comes to psychology and psychiatry.

Matthew S. Stanford

When I first got diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2008, I was ashamed of telling people. I thought they would act differently around me. When someone hears that a person is bipolar they start treating that person as if they are a time bomb just waiting to go off. It’s frustrating and hurtful.

Mental disorders do not discriminate according to faith, but rather affect believers and nonbelievers alike.

Matthew S. Stanford

I’ve always believed this. Mental illness does NOT discriminate!! It can strike any one at any given time, regardless of religious beliefs.

Taking medication for any illness is simply making wise use of the abundant resources provided to us by a loving God.

Matthew S. Stanford

God created doctors for this very purpose.

For the stigma of mental illness to be broken, there must be direct, transparent speech from Christian leaders. We need more open dialogue in the church.

Ed. Stetzer

The church must stop being afraid of tackling the subject of mental illness. It exists. Simple as that.

If we immediately dismiss the possibility of mental illness and automatically assume spiritual deficiency, our actions amount to spiritual abuse.

Ed Stetzer

Whether a person suffers from bipolar disorder, OCD, anxiety, depression etc…the church must come together and help fight the end of the stigma surrounding the church.

I have so many more quotes that I could share but I think I’ve shared enough. Maybe I’ll do another “quotes” entry in the near future.

Posted in depression, disability, Faith, fibromyalgia, life, mental disorders, peace

Strength of My Heart

Psalm 73:26 is one of my favorite verses. It says,

My health my fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. (NLT)

No matter what the doctors diagnose me with in the future, no matter what they’ve already diagnosed me with…it doesn’t matter because GOD remains a constant in my life. Like the verse says, He is MINE forever! I never have to worry about Him leaving me. I never have to worry about Him forsaking me. He is mine forever!

I had another MRI of my head on Monday. (Praise God I got through it…well,  with some help from Lorazepam, LOL. No matter how many MRIs I have, the claustrophobia NEVER goes away!) Anyways, my new endocrinologist is checking to see if my pituitary tumor has returned. My prolactin levels indicate that it possibly has.

If it has, it has and we will work together to come up with the right treatment plan. These type of tumors are usually benign and will shrink with medication. It CAN be removed and I’ve been thinking about asking my doctor if that’s a plan we might come to. This type of surgery will require them to remove it……wait for it….through my nose! It’s much less invasive, obviously, than having brain surgery.

Most likely, we’ll try to treat it with medication but if it doesn’t shrink then surgery could be an option.

I’m not worried. God has me in His hands. He is allowing these health issues to keep me humble, to keep my eyes trained on Him, to remind me to lean on Him through it all. Can He heal me completely? Absolutely! But like Paul, I think this is my “thorn in the flesh,” And I’m fine with that now. I didn’t used to be. There were times in the past that I would just cry out to Him…begging Him to make me whole, begging Him to heal me.

One day I WILL be made whole! It may not be here on earth but oh…when I see Jesus face to face….that will be glory!

The Lord is the strength of my heart. He is Jehovah Rapha (the Lord who heals)

 

Posted in adhd, anxiety, bipolar, church, depression, Faith, fear, mental disorders

The Church and Mental Illness

I was saddened to hear about the death of Jarrid Wilson..if you don’t know who he was, he was the associate pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in California. Sadly, he took his own life on Monday. He was 30.

Wilson and his wife founded “Anthem of Hope”, a program meant to help people who suffered from depression and mental illness.

I sit here in complete disbelief. But I realize that mental illness does NOT discriminate. It can strike anyone at any given time. Christian or not. Pastor or parishioner.

It’s time that the church step up and help deal with this mental illness crisis. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 43.8 million people experience mental illness in a given year. That’s 1 in 5 adults.

I believe that the reason the church doesn’t reach out is because they just don’t know how to handle it. But it’s time to change that. It’s time to start having meaningful discussions about the seriousness of mental illness.

There is a stigma surrounding mental health. It’s time to erase that stigma. Mental illness is REAL folks. Let’s stop pretending it doesn’t exist.

Its Not a Lack of Faith Issue

I have suffered from depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder for many years.  I was told by someone once that my faith was not strong enough and that’s why I was suffering. I’ll never forget that.

But it’s not a faith issue. What if what I had was physical? Diabetes, or cancer? We don’t question those illnesses so why is mental illness any different? According to Ed Stetzer,

We can talk about diabetes and Aunt Mable’s lumbago in church—those are seen as medical conditions, but mental illness–that’s somehow seen as a lack of faith.

Mental illness is a chemical imbalance in the brain. It shouldn’t be treated any differently from a physical illness.

My Thorn in the Flesh

Can God heal mental illness? Absolutely! He can do anything! For me, personally, I find my mental illness to be my “thorn in the flesh.” I have actually grown closer to the Lord these past several years. And I believe the verse that says, “And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. (2 Cor 12:9)


Warning Signs

  • extreme mood swings
  • talking about being burden to others
  • increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • talking about being hopeless
  • talking about having no reason to live
  • talking about being trapped and in unbearable pain

What Can You Do?

  • Ask–Talk to them.
  • Be There
  • Listen without judgement
  • Help them connect–create a network of resources and individuals for support
  • Follow up–continue to have contact with them

 

If you or someone you know is severely depressed and suicidal please contact

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255

Posted in adhd, anxiety, bipolar, christian living, depression, Faith, fear, mental disorders

Yes, I’m a Christian and I’m Bipolar…

I touched on this topic a little over a year ago but decided to add to it in case a new follower needs to read it.

Yes, it is possible to be a Christian, to have the love of the Lord in you and still struggle with a mental illness. The two CAN coexist! Because guess what? Mental illness? It doesn’t discriminate. It can strike anyone at any given time. It’s a chemical imbalance.

It’s taken some time to get this blog post out because as soon as I sit down at my computer to start writing, I start losing focus. I become agitated because I can’t get my thoughts out the way I want them to.  Oh, I have many many thoughts racing through my head but they won’t come out on screen. It’s a bunch of jumbled thoughts, not making sense.

So what do I do in times like these? I wish I could say I always turn to the Lord to help me (and I do most of the time) but every once in a while I sit and have a pity party. “Why me? Why do I have to be like this? Why can’t I just be normal?” I cry and cry.

I realize having a pity party is definitely not the best way to handle it but try telling me that when I’m having an episode. It doesn’t work. I eventually find my way out of the pity party and then turn to the Lord. (I know, I know…..I should have turned to God first….and believe me…I try! But sometimes Satan is stronger than me and pulls me down.)

So why can’t I just turn to the Lord the second I feel myself slipping? I wish I had an answer for you. I don’t know. I honestly have no idea.

I’m getting better at turning to the Lord in these times. I haven’t had a bad episode in quite some time. The Lord is slowly working in me and I’m becoming stronger.

The other day I was doing my devotions and came across Psalm 27. The first verse is one of my favorites:

1. The Lord is my light and my salvation–so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?

The Lord is ALWAYS with me even when I’m not with Him! He’s there for me when I’m suffering. He’s there when life is good! He’s my light! He’s my salvation!

The last verse has become a favorite of mine too.

14. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

If you’re suffering…if you feel lost and confused…turn to Jesus. He will never fail you.

 

Posted in adhd, christianity, Faith, grace, Jesus, love, mental disorders, Uncategorized

Repost: Thorn in my flesh

**This is an old post from 2017 but I feel the need to share it again.**

My Thorn In the Flesh

…..Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinithians 12:7-10

Some days are just a huge struggle. Seriously, the struggle is real just trying to get out of bed. My mind races with incomplete thoughts, I’m constantly restless and I just have no energy to function. Welcome to a day in the life of someone with bipolar disorder and ADHD and other health problems.

Is this the result of some unconfessed sin in my life? No, I don’t believe so. Could God heal me completely? Absolutely? But do I think He will? No, I don’t think so. This is my “thorn in the flesh.” God is using my mental illness and other physical illnesses to draw me closer to Him. He’s trying to tell me that His grace is sufficient. And it is!

Unfortunately, there are people out there who believe mental illnesses are the result of a lack of faith or some unconfessed sin. I do not hold this stance.

Why is there such a stigma regarding mental illness in the church? Why are people so afraid of it? Tell me, is having a mental illness any different from suffering from a physical illness?

When a person is suffering from diabetes, people have no problem with that person seeing a doctor and being treated for that particular problem. But when a person is diagnosed with a mental illness, there must be unconfessed sin. Either that or the person’s faith is not strong enough.

I had someone tell me that once. When they heard that I was bipolar they actually looked me in the eye and said that my faith wasn’t strong enough. Basically, I needed to “pray it away.”

MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES DO NOT DISCRIMINATE! It CAN and DOES happen to people every single day. People who are strong in their faith. People who are weak in their faith. People who don’t HAVE faith. It does not matter!

I know for a fact that Jesus loves me unconditionally. Meaning, he loves me despite my flaws, despite my health issues. He loves me.

Do I believe that I could wake up tomorrow completely healed from all my health ailments? Absolutely! But I also believe God uses these things to draw people closer to Him. And that is what He is doing with me.

My health problems are my “thorn in the flesh.” I have come to terms with that. God is using my health issues for good. I may not know what that is right now but I have accepted the fact that I’m going to have these health issues the rest of my life. And I grow closer to God every single day. 🙂

 

Posted in Faith, fear, Jesus, mental disorders, peace, phobias, worry

Fearless Faith

Fear Is a Liar by Zach Williams

When he told you you’re not good enough
When he told you you’re not right
When he told you you’re not strong enough
To put up a good fight
When he told you you’re not worthy
When he told you you’re not loved
When he told you you’re not beautiful
That you’ll never be enough
Fear, he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear he is a liar

Disclaimer: Satan is REALLY not wanting me to post this. WordPress keeps crashing on me and it’s getting me frustrated. However…I will persevere. I WILL get this post out.  

 

Satan knows and uses my anxiety to try to bring me down. He knows I’m a chronic worrier(which I’m trying to work on.)For as long as I can remember I’ve been on medication for my anxiety/depression/bipolar disorder. Yet I still suffer from panic attacks and will sometimes fall into a deep depression. Medicine doesn’t cure the issues I have (in fact I was placed on a new medication today) but it helps keep my emotions at bay. Thank God I’m currently stable but there was a time I wasn’t. The anxiety would pile up and then the panic attacks came like clockwork.

But thank God we have Someone on our side. Someone to root us on and Someone who will love us unconditionally and through His perfect love drives out all fears!

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.~~~2 Timothy 1:7

We need to look to Christ when doubts start flying. When that anxiety kicks in and pushes you towards a full-blown panic attack.  When Satan whispers in your ear that “you’re not good enough.” Look to Christ!!! He will give you what you truly need!

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:34

 

 

Posted in anxiety, bipolar, blogging, christian living, church, depression, Faith, fear, fibromyalgia, grace, mental disorders, peace, phobias, song lyrics, worry, writers block

Why Is It So Hard?

I have all but lost my desire for writing. Now that I’m back to work, it seems I have let my writing fall by the wayside. After I get home from work I’m in so much pain from standing all day that I have no interest in writing.

I’m going to be honest with you all for a moment…..I’m struggling. With life, with my relationship with God, with just about everything. I haven’t lost my faith. I still believe but I’m finding it hard to set aside time to spend with God.

I’m human. We all are. We have flaws and always will. But what happens when you lose your desire for God? Why is it so hard to follow Him? I see others who are so devoted to God and have a deep relationship with Him and I wonder why I can’t seem to find that sort of relationship. I know it’s available, I know it’s there. I thought I used to have it.  Maybe I never have.

I feel like a fraud. This blog is supposed to be me telling others about Christ and His love for us. And here I am, struggling. I’ve abandoned my blog in recent weeks.

I know we all struggle. As long as we are on this earth we will struggle from time to time.

I do know that God is still working in me. As I write this, I’m listening to Mandisa’s song, Unfinished. If you haven’t heard it I definitely advise you to check it out. Here’s some of the lyrics,

Not scared to say it
I used to be the one
Preaching it to you
That you could overcome
I still believe it
But it ain’t easy
‘Cause that world I painted
Where things just all work out
It started changing
And I started having doubts
And it got me so down
But I picked myself back up
And I started telling me
No, my God’s not done
Making me a masterpiece
He’s still working on me
He started something good
And I’m gonna believe it
He started something good
And He’s gonna complete it
So I’ll celebrate the truth
His work in me ain’t through
I’m just unfinished
I’m just unfinished
So I’ll celebrate the truth
His work in me ain’t through
I’m just unfinished
I know God is not finished with me yet.  And I know if you are struggling right now, like I am, that God isn’t finished with you yet either. Keep your head up and focused on Him.
That’s what I am doing.
But why is it so hard???
Here is another song that is speaking to me right now. It’s called Need You Now by Plumb. Such a powerful song!
Well, everybody’s got a story to tell
And everybody’s got a wound to be healed
I want to believe there’s beauty here
‘Cause oh, I get so tired of holding on
I can’t let go, I can’t move on
I want to believe there’s meaning here
How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.
Standing on a road I didn’t plan
Wondering how I got to where I am
I’m trying to hear that still small voice
I’m trying to hear above the noise
How many times have you heard me cry out
God please take this?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

I don’t know where you are right now in your walk with God, whether you’re struggling, as I am right now, or if things are going great for you right now but just remember this: God is not finished with you and has great plans for you.

I honestly believe this though I’m struggling right now.
I just wish it wasn’t so hard.
Posted in anxiety, depression, Faith, fear, fibromyalgia, mental disorders, prayer, worry

An Apology

I would like to apologize to you all who read my posts. I haven’t been writing much lately and it just feels like I’ve lost my desire to write. I want to get it back but I don’t know how to do it.

I have been having issues with my fibromyalgia and not having my Lyrica for several weeks, leaving me in pain. I finally was able to get my medication but it will take a week or two to fully get back in my system.

I want to be completely honest with you: I’m struggling. Spiritually, Mentally, Physically. It’s so hard being a bipolar Christian.

This blog is supposed to be about me telling people about Jesus and lately I haven’t been doing that. I feel like a fraud.

I don’t want to shut down this blog. I want so badly to get back into the swing of things and be the person I was when I first started this blog.

So I’m going to dig deep into Scripture and pray that God will show me what I am supposed to do.

Pray for me, if you don’t mind.

Posted in anxiety, bipolar, depression, fear, mental disorders, phobias

The Panic Attack that Started My Downward Spiral

My mental health problems began when I was a teenager. One night I suffered a major panic attack that scared the mess out of me and my mom. I honestly thought I was going to die.

I was trying to fall asleep when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, this overwhelming sense of terror just enveloped me. My heart was racing way too fast as if I had just finished running a marathon. My hands began to seize up into fists that I couldn’t pry open.

What was going on? Was I dying? I was scared to death and didn’t know why. Why was this happening to me?

I remember my mom telling me that when she placed her hand over my heart to see how fast my heart was racing it felt like “a herd of horses galloping.” She tried to pry open my fists but to no avail.

She took me to the doctor where he diagnosed it as a severe anxiety attack and prescribed me an anti-anxiety medication. This particular medication, however, INCREASED my panic attacks. I was having them multiple times a day! So I was placed on another medicine which seemed to help.

After suffering from these panic attacks, I fell into a deep depression. I couldn’t understand why I was suffering from these attacks. I was in my senior year of high school.  This was supposed to be the greatest year of my high school career. I was on the verge of becoming an adult!

But no, I enjoyed none of that. Instead, I lost so much weight that my sister and my mom were convinced I had an eating disorder but I didn’t. I just stopped eating because I just wasn’t hungry.  My jeans sagged on me, I retreated to my room most days and kept to myself. I hated life at this point.

And the only thing I can say is that the panic attack is what started my downward spiral. And it gets worse….much worse…..but that’s a story for another day.

Posted in adhd, bipolar, disability, medications, mental disorders

Denied

I checked the Social Security website yesterday to check on the status of my disability case and it said a medical decision had been made. However, it didn’t tell me whether it was approved or denied. I guess that’s what will be in the letter they send me. I decided to call my lawyer today and he looked into it and I found out that I was denied.

My lawyer said once they get the paperwork in to see WHY I was denied they will work on possibly starting the appeal.

I am so beyond frustrated. The tears came immediately and I just sat down, head in my hands, confused and angry.

I know you all have been praying for me so I just wanted to update y’all.

*sigh*