To the Person with Mental Illness Sitting in the Church Pew

Living with a mental illness and being a follower of Jesus can seem to be contradictory for those outside the church. After all, if you are a Christian, you aren’t supposed to struggle with depression and anxiety, right? Oh how I wish!

But the reality is we live in a broken world. A world where trials and pain don’t discriminate. Most times, we don‘t understand the why of struggle. But there is good news. There are ways to cope on this side of Heaven. Granted, these aren’t cure-alls, but ways to get you through.

As I noted in an earlier post, I live with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during the late fall and winter months. Last year my husband installed LED lights to our living-room and I was amazed how well they worked to lift my moods. Of course like anything medical, things need to be adjusted from time to time. Serotonin levels can get used to the medicine used to raise them, and another one needs to come in to supplement.

Dear Christian, taking medication for your mental illness does not make you less of a believer in Jesus. It does not make you weak. Anyone that tells you your depression and anxiety remains because you haven’t prayed enough is someone not to be listened to. I know how much you’ve pled with God to take this away, to no avail.

My most used coping mechanism, along with the above, is humor. Learning to laugh at myself and find the humor in things has proven quite useful over the years. Last night I had a conversation with my cousins about this very topic. At one point my cousin used the line (borrowed from her favorite blogger, Glennon Doyle Melton); “Jesus loves me, this I know. For He gave me Lexapro.” My other cousin and I laughed pretty hard, but it got us all thinking. Even in our mental illness, God is there. He gives us ways to cope with our situation, even if we don’t understand the why’s. I even wrote a song that came out of that conversation:

Sung to the tune of Jesus Loves Me…..

Jesus Loves me, this I know.
For He gave me Lexapro.
He gives me nutritious food,
LED’s to boost my mood.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
My Xanax tells me so!

Hang in there, friends! You are not alone!


**Information about Glennon Doyle Melton can be found here