Help from our podcasts
I would like to say, first of all, how excited I am to have discovered the Mind and Soul website. Because of my own struggles with depression, I have been burdened for a long time for people with all the various mental health issues, and I have a particular interest in finding help and passing it on to other Christians whose spiritual lives are so affected by their mental health (and vice versa!).
I was not brought up in a lively Christian environment, and some of my childhood was marked with encounters with comparatively mild violence by my father towards my mother. I was also over-protected and grew up understanding very little of the way the world works, and from secondary school onwards experienced strong feelings of inadequacy and depression that I was unable to express. Up till then I had attended Sunday school and would say that I had a childlike faith. When someone far more intelligent and worldly-wise told me God was dead, I believed them and my world turned black. I was never able to explain this to my parents as instinctively I felt they would be unable to support me, yet I was, and still am, extremely sensitive. I do not need to explain how this affected my adolescence and young adulthood, but I realise God must have protected me from the worst I could have become involved with. Finally, due to the prayers of a friend who had become a Christian, I began to face up to my own need of God and state before him, and began to seek him. At 25 I gave my life to Jesus, as best I knew how, as did my wonderful husband, shortly after we were married. It was so exciting to know that we had found God’s way to live, and to know Jesus’ forgiveness (we had been seeking God individually just before we met, and came to Christ within a few months of each other). We joined an excellent evangelical bible based church and received lots of encouragement. Gradually though, the bouts of depression returned, and I really struggled to find understanding in the church. The story gets more complicated, but I wont bore you with the rest of the details right now!
The point I specifically want to make is that I have listened to some podcasts on your website that have been very helpful. I am also part way through reading ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ by Rick Warren. It occurs to me how much help there is, but would love to see more churches who are proactive in directing people to this kind of support. As regards to my experience in my first church, I wonder if those who helped me through those baby steps might have been able to discover and warn me of the struggles I might encounter with my faith had they asked me about any mental health problems. In a minister’s eagerness to lead some-one to Christ, I now realise that this is something that needs to be considered. But of course, not all ministers have the experience. Let’s pray that God will equip every church to address these issues in a more informed and compassionate way.
Thanks again for Mind and Soul