Mental Health Awareness Week 2018
Why is this happening to me? She’s scaring me. What if I never feel better? What will people think? Will she hurt someone? Are they out to get me? Will he hurt himself? Why won’t they leave the house? I’m scaring myself.
These are all thoughts that might go through the mind of someone facing the reality of a mental health problem, for themselves or someone close. When it comes to mental health, fear is an epidemic. So in order to become more aware of what it means to struggle with mental health, this week we’re going to take some time out to address it. To lift the mood slightly, I thought I’d quote Harry Potter:
“…what you fear most of all, is fear itself. This is very wise” – Professor R J. Lupin
As much as it pains me to do it, I would like to challenge Rowling’s sentiment here. Fear can take hold of us when we least expect it, and in forms we don’t often see as fear. So rather than fearing fear itself, we are going to spend some time this week to look fear straight in the eye. The only way we can manage this, of course, is by going forth with the full armour of God.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:14-17
How can we find peace when we feel such fear? How can we feel ready when the flaming arrows come our way? The Bible tells us we can stand firm because of the Word of God. This is comforting for two reasons:
1. We know that God has spoken about all things through his Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10)
Every single one of us is called to take up the armour of God and battle against fear, despair, discrimination and ignorance. There are pearls of wisdom in God’s word when it comes to mental health, and we’re going to spend this week finding some.
2. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (1 John 1:14)
The Word of God is Jesus Christ. Not only this but Jesus Christ knows mental health. He knows grief, stress, depression, trauma, psychosis, you name it. He came into this world and kept going until he found the depths of our earthly struggles. “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.” Hebrews 4:15
So two things: We have a Bible that has wisdom and teaching for us about mental health. We have a King who knows what we’re facing, has stared fear in the face and felt peace. Holding onto these two things, we will brace the hard things to find beautiful truths.
Abby became a Christian at 20 and serves the More Precious team as Operations Manager, as well as overseeing our mental health resources. She graduated in Psychology from Sheffield and then spent time with CCEF studying biblical counselling. Abby is now doing an MSc in Clinical Psychology in Nottingham and 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 goes to Beeston Free Evangelical Church with her husband, Ben.