Christians often associate
mental well-being with closeness to God, resulting from time spent praying and
studying the Bible, and collective worship. Anything less than that can be
seen as a personal weakness, and therefore personal responsibility for any
difficulties or "backsliding".
Mental health problems are
becoming better understood by Christians, but there remains some concern about the
origins of such problems: Are they a result of sin? Of turning our
backs on God? Lack of faith? Demon
possession? Satanic attack? No!
Mental health problems
are experienced by 1 in 4 of us, and they are therefore a normal human
experience. However, the nature of the problem will lead us to doubt our
faith, our role and responsibility in the development of the problems, and doubt God
or our relationship with Him. Our relationships with our
families, friends, church and God will inevitably suffer. Others, who we
might normally turn to, may not
understand mental health problems. They might try to help but give
unhelpful advice, or it might be easier for them to try to ignore our distress,
or they might seem uncaring in some other way, causing us to feel even more isolated,
fearful, depressed, even condemned.
You may feel that mental health professionals won't
understand your difficulties as you believe the problems are due to your
spiritual problems, but it's much more likely that your spiritual problems are
due to your mental health problems. Start by talking to your GP, and/or
accessing Self Help resources.