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The Christian and Mental Illness

Discussion in 'Requests for Christian Advice' started by smittymatt, Dec 5, 2021.

  1. smittymatt

    smittymatt New Member

    76
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    Good afternoon everybody! I have suffered from "anxiety" for as long as I can remember and "despression" since middle school (I am now in my mid 30's). For full disclosure, I have been on and off meds since age 10. The Lord brought me to true faith 5-1/2 years ago during my second time in a psych ward (at which time they also put me back on paxil, which I still take to this day). My doubts about the resurrection were gone (which is why I believe that is when I was truly saved) and the first 2 years were amazing.

    Starting at the end of 2017, my fear, obsessive thoughts, and melancholy began to return (I don't call it depression, because it wasn't as severe or hopeless; I knew He was with me regardless of how I felt). This has continued to this day. I am good sometimes, but then I am swept seemingly out of nowhere with these struggles. It's not the same as before I was saved, as I cling to hope and prayer, but something about it seems physical.

    I don't buy into the whole chemical imbalance hypothesis, but I wanted some of your thoughts as to what is going on. Like the woman with the issue of blood, I have been to many many many doctors in my life, and although their medical knowledge may provide some relief, it is short lived.

    I might also mention that I have suffered from extreme fatigue every day for the last 20 years. I know the Lord can heal, and for whatever reason he hasn't chosen to do so yet.

    Regardless of these mild afflictions, I am grateful He gets me through every day; I am still able to work even when I can barely think straight or keep my eyes open. I do attend church regularly as well as a couple fellowships in which we do get very honest about what is going on in our lives and our sin struggles. I just wanted to come here and share my heart on this forum as well!
     
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  2. timothyu

    timothyu Well-Known Member

    +6,138
    Canada
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    Thanks to covid-long haulers and their fatigue problems focusing the spotlight on the those suffering the past 30 years of debilitating ME-CFS (which most quacks refuse to acknowledge because they cannot explain the cause and have no cure)... you may not feel so alone in your daily situation.
     
  3. IWalkAlone

    IWalkAlone Well-Known Member

    +299
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    Did you talk to your doctor about the fatigue? Some medication can make you feel tired.
     
  4. Freth

    Freth Well-Known Member Supporter

    +1,284
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    Welcome to the forums!
     
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  5. smittymatt

    smittymatt New Member

    76
    +27
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    oh yeah, been to buncha doctors for that too.
     
  6. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

    +5,411
    United States
    Christian
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    Yes, welcome to Christian Forums.

    Yes, I would say not to trust what those negative and nasty things are telling you. That is good, how you know you have the Lord Jesus while you go through things.
     
  7. aiki

    aiki Regular Member

    +3,995
    Canada
    Baptist
    Married
    Welcome to CF!

    I will offer you biblical advice but it will go very directly against the modern view of Christians that is so deeply steeped in secular, godless psychotherapeutic theories and practices. I expect significant censure for doing so, but here goes, anyway.

    I was, in my early twenties, very badly afflicted with anxiety, OCD and depression. It was pretty severe, actually, and would have resulted, I suspect, if things had been then as they are now in the North American church, in a chorus of believers urging me strongly to seek the therapy and drugs of the psychiatric industry. I was insomniac, often going for a number of days without actually sleeping, suffering from something called hypnogogia. I would be on the cusp of full sleep and then a rush of adrenaline would kick off, as if I'd been startled by something, and I would come to complete wakefulness. This cycle would repeat all night, leaving me quite exhausted come the morning. During the day, I would regularly have panic attacks - five or six in rapid succession - and feel on the edge of death. My brain would go round-and-round in never-ending internal debate, fighting with the fear I would somehow become the things I most hated and feared. I developed swallowing issues and problems with claustrophobia. It was not fun.

    It has been decades, however, since this sort of thing has troubled me. It wasn't therapy and drugs, though, that freed me from the darkness of anxiety, depression and OCD. I simply obeyed the word of God, following its path to freedom in Christ. It didn't take decades, though a two-year process was required, in my case, to settle into the life in Christ I should have been living in all along. But I did find freedom from a very prolonged, acute and dark psychological circumstance, discovering freedom in the One who made me. So can you, I believe.

    The Bible has little to nothing to say about how to remedy a stomach ulcer, or a broken bone, or diabetes, or a brain tumor. It's not a medical manual, right? But it has a great deal to say about one's state of mind and heart. The obvious implication in this is that God sees psychological issues as separate from medical issues; as spiritual in nature, fundamentally, not just biological events to be managed by chemicals and soothing noises from a therapist.

    Now, sometimes, psychological problems originate in physical circumstances: brain injury/disease (tumor, stroke, encephalitis and such like), congenital defects, hormonal problems (overactive thyroid, adrenal exhaustion, menopause, etc.), vitamin and mineral deficiencies. And, of course, many dark dispositions of mind chronically indulged also lead to the development of a physiological dimension. Prolonged depression, for example, becomes deeper, sometimes manic, producing profound lethargy, and developing a corresponding brain chemistry. Addiction to porn follows this same general line, the watching of porn resulting in a more and more deeply-set biochemical response in the person's brain and body. In my case, anxiety also had a similar form, establishing very rapidly some very powerful thought-cycles and habits with an accompanying physical component. But the vast majority of people on medications and in therapy would be far better served by a primarily spiritual approach to their internal issues than what the World presently offers.

    The problem with modern secular psychiatry is that it doesn't really acknowledge a supernatural, spiritual dimension of the sort described by the Bible at all. There is no remedy to be found for inner turmoil in God or in His truth, only in the physical, natural world. Sin has no bearing whatever on psychiatric maladies, either, except as an antiquated notion foisting guilt on people unnecessarily. And don't even start with the idea of the demonic. What utter nonsense to suppose there are evil, supernatural agents working to lure us into immoral, destructive thinking and behaving. Any psychiatrist worthy of the name would tell you the devil is just a silly, primitive myth, a vestige of the foolishness of ancient religions. No, there is only modern, godless psychiatry, only the naturalistic view of things, coupled to ever-changing theories about human motivations, thoughts and behaviours.

    If, however, Christianity reveals the truth of reality to us, and that what God says to us in His word, the Bible, about our inner life being inextricably bound to our relationship with Him is entirely accurate, then modern psychiatry is largely hamstrung in its ability to bring people laboring under anxiety, depression and whatever else (the psychological pathologies today seem endless) to inner peace, and rest, and stability. Ultimately, all that modern psychiatry can do is treat a person according to its naturalistic, humanistic, materialistic presuppositions about reality. Which means merely managing psychological problems with drugs and a listening ear, not actually resolving them. As a result, there are millions upon millions of people today consuming a cornucopia of drugs but becoming increasingly mired in profound internal misery, convinced by modern psychiatry that they are just victims of haywire brain mechanics, or lousy genetics, or the latest mental disease.

    Of course, the psychiatric industry - and an industry it most certainly is - loves a society chock full of folk believing they are helpless victims of mental illness, utterly dependent upon the psychiatric industry for what little aid can be given.

    Anyway, God's route to freedom from fear, depression, anger, obsession, or whatever, is through and in Him. All of these dark, destructive inner states (not caused by the actual physical conditions mentioned earlier) can be dissolved by a right relationship with our holy Maker, who, in Himself is to us love, peace, joy, strength and rest. He made us to be anchored and centered upon Himself; we were created to function best in close orbit around our Creator. The farther from Him we are, then, the worse our inner condition becomes. But all three great enemies of our souls - the World, the Flesh, and the devil - are working continually to draw us as far off from God as possible and so coming near to God and staying near is a daily battle - especially these days within the comparative affluence, carnality and worldliness of the western Church.

    Regardless, God again and again in His word declares to us that peace, joy, and rest are found in Him, entirely apart from drugs and therapists, and this has been so since the first time these truths were declared to humanity through His prophets and apostles and finally in the divine revelation of Scripture. Long before modern drugs and therapists, people struggling with fear, and pain, and confusion, with wounds, and bitterness, and anger were invited by God to find full freedom from all of these things in knowing and walking with Him. And they did.

    Psalm 119:165
    165 Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.


    Psalm 23:1-4
    1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
    3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
    4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.


    Isaiah 26:3-4
    3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
    4 Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.


    Matthew 11:28-30
    28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
    29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
    30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”


    Philippians 4:6-7
    6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
    7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


    And so on. These are but a few of the very many verses in Scripture that trumpet to us that the inner peace so unattainable for so many today - even with drugs and therapy - is found in knowing and walking rightly with their Maker. And this is so quite apart from modern psychiatry, as it has been for millenia.

    But, God says we must come to Him in His way, not our own. Our walk with Him is ordered and shaped by Him, not by us. He calls the shots; we obey. And so, most refuse the peace and rest He offers. Holiness, righteousness and self-sacrifice - key elements of walking with God - are too great a price to pay for those in easy, affluent, drug-infested societies. Humility before God, submission to Him, looking constantly to Him, are too much of a bother in the myriad of alternative superficial distractions and diversions available in modern, western living. These alternatives are so immediately stimulating and pleasurable, full of sound and fury, color and action, where God invites us into stillness, peace and rest. For some reason, it never seems to occur to folk that there might be a direct connection between the constant stimulation and agitation they pursue in the world and the general state of agitation they endure within their souls. And stranger still, the offer of peace and rest, even amidst the inner pain caused by the ceaseless, empty noise and motions of worldly living, is fearful and repulsive to most. Very strange.

    Matthew 7:13-14
    13 "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.
    14 "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2021
  8. SANTOSO

    SANTOSO Well-Known Member

    +1,028
    Indonesia
    Christian
    Married
    Beloved one, let us consider what we have heard from apostle Peter :

    “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing ALL that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”
    ‭‭Acts‬ ‭10:38‬ ‭KJV‬‬

    Beloved one, so apostle Peter considered all infirmities and diseases were of the devil.

    So I consider mental illnesses also were oppression of the devil. And oppression of the devil, that did bring much distress. But this is what we have heard:

    You are my hiding place;
    You shall preserve me from trouble;
    You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah”
    ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭32:7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

    Selah means to reflect what we have heard. And we heard the Lord Jesus Christ is our hiding place. He is the one who preserve us from the troubles that the devil brought to our lives. So beloved one, let us surround ourselves with songs of deliverance.

    Since the Lord is our hiding place, we are to hide ourselves from the enemies!

    How do we know that our enemies don’t know where we are ?
    This is what we have heard:
    "THAT PATH no bird of prey knows, and the falcon's eye has not seen it. -Job 28:7

    The proud beasts have not trodden it; the lion has not passed over it. -Job 28:8

    The devil, the roaring lion has not passed over THAT PATH !

    Then we heard :
    "But WHERE shall wisdom be found? And WHERE is the place of understanding? -Job 28:12

    MAN DOES NOT KNOW ITS WORTH, and it is NOT FOUND in the land of the living. -Job 28:13

    So who know the place ?

    Also, we heard :
    It is HIDDEN FROM THE EYES OF ALL LIVING and concealed from the birds of the air. -Job 28:21

    "God understands THE WAY TO IT, and he KNOWS ITS PLACE. -Job 28:23

    Beloved one, let us not take lightly what we have heard, for God understands the way to it and He know its place, that is hidden from the eyes of all living and concealed from the devil and its cohorts. So listen to God:

    And he SAID TO man, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.'" -Job 28:28

    What is the PATH that is hidden from our enemies, who is the bird of prey, the falcon, the proud beasts, the lion of the enemy ?

    Has not God said in the Spirit to those who discern spiritual truths:

    ALL THE PATHS of the LORD are STEADFAST LOVE AND FAITHFULNESS, for those who keep His covenant and His testimonies or instructions . -Psalms 25:10

    This is the PATH that is HIDDEN !And only open to those who keep His covenant and instructions.

    Beloved one, let us stay on the paths of the Lord, that is concealed from the birds of the air. And we shall not be oppressed by the devil but we stand firm in the liberty, that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Beloved one, behold what the Lord have said:

    “Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth.”
    ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭33:6‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

    Beloved one, in the abundance of peace, we shall not fear the enemies and in the abundance of truth, we shall be free from obsessive thoughts and melancholy.

    To God the Father be thanksgiving through Christ. Amen
     
  9. smittymatt

    smittymatt New Member

    76
    +27
    United States
    Reformed
    Divorced
    I heard Isaiah 26:3 on the radio yesterday and it was such a blessing for the Holy Spirit to touch my soul with that verse. It is the Word of God and you are confirming it with this post.
     
  10. smittymatt

    smittymatt New Member

    76
    +27
    United States
    Reformed
    Divorced
     
  11. smittymatt

    smittymatt New Member

    76
    +27
    United States
    Reformed
    Divorced
    Amen. I am hidden from the wiles of the enemy in the wings of the Lord.
     
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