1. It’s a human issue.
Depression and anxiety do not discriminate against age, race, gender or faith. We live in imperfect bodies in a broken world. As long as we’re human, illness and suffering are inevitable. As Christians, we can face this with hope because Jesus has saved our soul from ever perishing, which is so much greater than these physical and mental illnesses.
I explain all of this to say don’t be so quick to shame your faith when it’s really just a part of being human. There are so many causes surrounding a breakdown in mental health such as genetics, chemical imbalances in the brain and traumatic events in life that have reshaped the way we think. The good news is recovery is available to you with the proper help! God has endowed counselors and professionals with the gifts and skills to help reduce some of our suffering and equip us to live fully functioning lives again.
2. You are not your struggle.
You may be struggling with depression, but you are not defined by depression.
You may be struggling with anxiety or a psychiatric disorder, but that does not define who you are as a person.
Don’t let intrusive and shaming thoughts convince you that you are what you think you are. You are not your thoughts, either.
There are so many other aspects of yourself to consider! You are a daughter, a sister, a student, a professional, a leader. You have your own passions and skills to offer the world. You are so much more than how you feel.
Be able to separate your struggle from your identity. No matter what you face, at the core you are who God says you are and that’s final. He has already defined and marked you as His. Mental illness can’t change that.
3. You are not alone.
Ever since I started opening up more about the relationship between faith and mental health, so many Christians have poured out to me about their struggle. I even started a Christian support group on Facebook specifically dedicated to those struggling with and serving in the mental health arena. If there’s one thing this experience has taught me, it’s that there are hundreds of amazing people in the Christian community who have great faith and love Jesus wholeheartedly, but are still human and battle with mental health like any other person.
You are not the only one in your church or in the Christian community who is committed to the faith and faces depression, anxiety and so on.
Surround yourself with supportive people who have a proper perspective. Don’t stop fighting the good fight of faith. Be encouraged, because struggling with mental health doesn’t make you any less Christian—it just makes you human.