Mental Illness Memoirs

I don’t like to open up or be vulnerable. I don’t like sharing the details of my mental illness with the world. Depression and anxiety are not beautiful or glamorous. But I feel a responsibility to share the unflattering details because I wish someone had been so candid with me.

My struggle with anxiety has been lifelong and mostly gone undetected. When I was 16, it became pronounced to the point that I could no longer deny it. I had just entered the tumultuous world of teenage dating and discovered it’s emotional pitfalls. Eventually, constant anxiety gave way to depression.

God has been so merciful to see me through both of those. He took my mourning and replaced it with deep joy. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still bad days. So for all Christians (or non-Christians who are searching for help and meaning) who are still in their bad days, may I give you the benefit of my experience?

You’re Not Alone

Struggling with mental illness can be an incredibly lonely and isolating experience, so let me make this abundantly clear: you are never, ever, ever alone.

First and foremost, God will never leave you nor forsake you. So many times in the thick of my depression, I felt as though God was not there, or at the very least, not listening. He tells us in His word repeatedly that this is never the case. I look back to those times and see God’s hand silently pulling me off the edge and back to Him.

But He says “it is not good for man to be alone.” It can be difficult to reach out to people when we feel depressed. We fear judgment or rejection. I’ve even been rejected because of my depression. But our instincts so often run counter to what is best for us. Take a leap of faith and confide in someone you trust. Just having a listening ear makes all the difference. If you have no one else, I will be that for you.

Never Be Ashamed

Society has made so much progress in the area of accepting those with mental illnesses. But I’d be lying if I said that stigma does not still exist. We can’t change the few left who will still shame you for what you can’t control, but I can soothe your heart with a few truths:

You’re not the only one struggling.

God is not punishing you or pushing you away. We live in a fallen, sinful world where suffering is inevitable.

There is nothing inherently wrong with you; you have a condition that you never asked for.

If you choose to be treated with medication and therapy, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you don’t trust God to heal you. If that isn’t what you want or need, that’s okay too.

Christians can be depressed. Read the Psalms of David and tell me that man wasn’t depressed.

You are not any less lovable, nor are you any less loved.

Seek Help

If you’re struggling, I can’t stress enough how much I urge you to seek help, whether that be medical treatment, counseling, pastoral counseling, or even just a trusted adult, friend, or mentor. My issues came to a head when I was 16; I was 18 before I sought treatment. I could have felt so much better in that time. I could have accomplished more and grown more personally without depression fighting so hard to hold me back.

Run Toward God

When depressed, we tend to seek comfort where we can find it. A comfy bed. A good movie. A significant other. These things are great in and of themselves, but they can’t become our only crutch. Sometimes these “comforts” are self destructive: substance abuse. Self harm. Overeating.

(To a neurotypical person, such destructive urges seem unfathomable and even scary. If you fall into this category, I wish I could make it make sense to you, but it probably won’t unless you’ve been there. Just don’t shame us for it. We often don’t understand it all either.)

If you read nothing else I’ve shared, read this: only God can heal and fulfill you. I had to come to a point at which I felt like I had nothing left to turn to but God. The God I know has a heart for the broken-hearted. He asks us to put nothing before Him because He knows that He has what we need. You’ll save yourself so much pain by going to Him in the first place. At best, these other things can numb your pain. Only God can replace it with joy that lasts and peace that surpasses understanding.

I won’t say that knowing Jesus makes the road easier. I won’t say that there are never bad mental health days. But my God is the biggest reason I’m still fighting. In fact, He’s the reason I have the strength or will to fight. He can be that for you too if you’ll let Him. Please, let Him.

2 responses to “Mental Illness Memoirs”

  1. […] strangers on the internet. But I know that somewhere out there, there are teenagers sitting exactly where I was at their age: alone in their room, afraid that what they’re feeling means that something is terribly wrong […]


  2. […] strangers on the internet. But I know that somewhere out there, there are teenagers sitting exactly where I was at their age: alone in their room, afraid that what they’re feeling means that something is terribly wrong […]


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