Mental Health Awareness Week 2019: Hooked
Have you ever been bitten by a mosquito? Or, for that matter, anything that itches afterwards. If you have, you’ll know that the first and only thing you want to do is itch it. But we’re told not to. Why is that? Because, if you’re like me and cave in every time, when we itch the bite it becomes itchier. The dot becomes bigger, redder and more swollen. And the urge to itch becomes greater. So we itch again, and the cycle continues. Eventually, we itch so much we cut the skin and sometimes we’re even left with a physical scar.
Now why am I talking about mosquito bites when the weather is just warming up and we’re supposed to be looking forward to summer?! It’s because a mosquito bite is a bit like an addiction.
Something happens and we feel the urge to do something about it. So we use a strategy that helps in the short term. We go for a run, we eat a biscuit, we take drugs, we have a glass of wine, we have a shower, we cut our skin, we scroll through Instagram. We all have various habits that we use to deal with life. And they work while we’re doing them. So we do them again. When the benefits wear off and we need another hit, we go back to what worked briefly last time. And so the cycle continues and before we know it… we’re hooked.
Before we’ve even told anyone, we’re utterly bound and chained by this urge to itch.
This week we’re going to look at a few aspects of addiction that may show themselves in most people’s lives at one end of the spectrum, but may escalate to severe and distressing mental health disorders at the other end.
We’ll be talking about some painful and difficult circumstances, and I pray that you can’t relate to what is said, but if you can, then know that this is a place of love. There is no judgment here. No message of ‘just try harder’, ‘just stop it’, ‘just pray more’. Here, you will find a message of acceptance and hope.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16
Love, Abby x
Abby became a Christian at 20, just before completing a Psychology degree in Sheffield, an MSc in Nottingham and spending time in the USA studying biblical counselling. Abby is passionate about helping girls to grow in the knowledge that we are all broken, but that we have the strength of Christ overflowing in us. Abby and her husband, Ben, also lead the student work at their church Beeston Free Evangelical Church in Nottingham.