Have you ever heard this:
“Stop being so anxious. Anxiety is doubting God.”
“You seem so upset all the time. You need the peace and joy of the Lord.”
Or my favorite:
“You worry too much. God never gives you more than you can handle. You just need to trust him more, read your Bible and pray.”
Somehow in 2016 many people still don’t understand mental illness. Rather than promoting therapy or medication management, they are quick to throw around out-of-context Bible verses as a bandaid for depression, anxiety and every other mental health issue. What they fail to realize is that mental disorders are often much more than a Spiritual issue – they are a physical or biological issue.
Imagine this: You are in the kitchen cooking dinner for some friends. You’re excited about this dinner because you’re trying out a new recipe you found online. While chopping tomatoes, you take a peak at the recipe book, but as you turn away, the knife slips and you accidentally knick off the tip of your finger.
You’re friend looks at you bleeding profusely and says,”Why are you so upset? It’s just a little blood and you have nine more fingers… Get over it.”
Out of instinct, you want to punch your friend in the face…
As silly as this story sounds, that’s exactly what we do to people with mental illness. One out of every four Americans has a diagnosable mental health issue; but due to the stigma surrounding these disorders, the majority of people will never seek help. They fail to realize that therapy is called Psychological First Aid for a reason. Sadly, many of these disorders will not go away without intervention from a professional.
Don’t believe me? Just watch.
What do anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal ideation, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, trauma disorders, OCD and just about every other mental health illness have in common? They can all be caused by genetics, abnormal brain chemistry, inborn temperament at birth, hormonal imbalances and a million other uncontrollable factors. They are rarely wished away by a Scripture of the day.
I’m not saying God is against healing his kids. On the contrary, He’s really amazing at it! And focusing on the positive is very important when trying to get to the other side of mental illness. But we have to stop neglecting the knowledge He’s given us by avoiding therapists and medication that can bring healing. If you broke your leg, you wouldn’t avoid the hospital because its Anti-God. So if you feel mentally defeated and “broken” don’t avoid a therapist that can bring you the help you need.
And just to be clear – I don’t want you to stop trusting God for your healing. I have seen people who have been healed from depression and anxiety disorders because they had the faith to believe in Him. But these is no reason for you to suffer in silence. God has given us knowledge to heal so many psychological illnesses in the same manner that he has provided us knowledge to heal physical ailments.
“Where there is no guidance the people fail, But in abundance of counselors there is victory.” – Proverbs 11:14
Its time for us to stop stigmatizing those who need help and start directing them to the places they can find it.
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