Women of Intention Week Eleven: Mental Health

Welcome to week eleven of the series, Women of Intention! We are now over halfway through and Maple Alps will continue to feature a woman every week who will talk about intentionality in specific areas in her life for the next 8 weeks. So glad you've decided to stop by! For more information, and a list of topics, visit our introduction post HERE

Intentionality in Mental Health #WomenOfIntention16 #MapleAlps Women of Intention.

THIS WEEK'S INTENTIONAL WOMAN:

Today, we are going to meet Melinda who blogs at Fruit of Brokenness, a very real, helpful and inspiring blog about mental health and faith.

Today she will be talking to us about intentionality when it comes to mental health. Her answers may surprise you and will inspire you, so be sure to stick around till the end!

After reading this post, be sure to check out Melinda's blog and share this post :)

Find Melinda on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.


Tell us a bit about yourself: What are your passions, work and interests?

I’m a homeschool mom, and freelance writer and editor, stepping back from freelance work to focus on building my blog. 

Sometimes I feel like major depressive disorder sucked all the passion out of me. There were times I didn’t have enough energy to do the most important jobs God gave me: wife to Jeff and mom to Jonathan, Joel, and Nora. There isn’t much energy for anything but the basics when your brain kicks you into survival mode.

But the darkest times don’t last. What I love to do now is use my struggle to help others find hope.

There are still many bumps in the road, but it’s good to once again be able to enjoy things more consistently. Like visiting Lake Ontario beaches and reading.

 

Often times, people say that Christians having mental illnesses is due to a lack of faith. What is your stance on this?

I wholeheartedly disagree, and it’s one of the foundations of my blog. If we consider the symptoms of depression when we read accounts of various people in the Bible, we see that some of God’s most faithful servants struggled with depression. In the Psalms in particular we also see what we should do with our overwhelming feelings: be honest with God about them and choose to trust Him in the midst of them.

In God’s example in Scripture, we don’t see the dismissal or harshness with which some in the church treat those who are depressed. For example, when Elijah felt that all he had done for the Lord was in vain, and that he was all alone in the world, all he wanted was to die, to be done with life. God didn’t just tell him to be stronger and snap out of it, and he didn’t send him off to consider what unconfessed sin he was harbouring.

Elijah had plenty of faith, but he was still overwhelmed by the storm in his mind. After he called down fire from heaven, prayed away a drought he prophesied several years before, and outran a chariot, all he wanted to do was die.

Before putting him back on the job, God ministered to Elijah by taking care of his basic needs and letting him rest. He built up his energy to travel to a place he could hear Him in a new way.

While we need to understand that faith does not ensure perfect mental health, we must not swing too far in the opposite direction. Refusal to take God at His Word and trust Him makes us more susceptible to the negative thought patterns that spin out of control in bouts of depression.

Made in God’s image, we’re not merely physical beings. In these bodies we have minds and emotions. If we are unhealthy in any of these areas, the others suffer. We can’t compartmentalize health. Mental and emotional health impact, and are impacted by, our physical and spiritual health. 

 

What does intentionality in mental health practically look like? Are there any other factors that play into it?

We’re not one-dimensional. Being intentional in mental health is being intentional in each dimension: physically, mentally and spiritually.

  • Eat right. Drink plenty of water. Take medication as prescribed if you need it. Exercise.
  • Be careful what you feed your mind. Think about what you’re thinking about. Don’t accept lies.
  • To recognize lies, you need to know Truth. Read, meditate on, and memorize God’s Word.

What practical advice would you give someone who is struggling in this area of their life?

Start with admitting you’re struggling. Let go of any shame you may feel that you’re not a “good” Christian if you struggle with depression or anxiety. Take responsibility for making healthy choices, and do not be ashamed to seek professional help.  


What about you? Were you inspired by this post? Are you intentional when it comes to your mental health? Why don't you tell us about it in the comments, and connect with us on social media?

(Don't forget to use the hashtag #WomenOfIntention16 so no one misses it!)