Mental Health Day

by Michelle Welch

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.
3 John 1:2 (NIV84)

I find one of the hardest things we women can admit to is that we have to rely on medication to get through our day. Whether it is for cholesterol, high blood pressure, migraines, depression, anxiety, you name it, we just don’t like to give in to the fact that we have to take a pill to keep our physical life in order. Often we have to be drug (no pun intended) kicking and screaming to the doctor to bring our health back into balance.

A few years ago, my youngest daughter and I went to see Chonda Pierce. A Christian comedian who got her start at Opryland, USA, Chonda brings the darkness of life into the light, picks it apart, and while tears are streaming down your face, makes you laugh about it. I can attest to the fact that God can and does use laughter to bring His truth into your life. Her public battle with depression gave me the strength to finally admit that I needed help for my mental health as well.

The most poignant thing Chonda said was that people, mostly women, would look down on her when she admitted that she took medication for her depression. Comments such as “you must have an unforgiven sin you are being punished for,” or “you just need to pray harder for healing” are the two most common ones that came her way. Her reply that they should “stop taking their insulin and belly up to the cheesecake bar,” or “take off those glasses and drive home in the dark” were at the same time hysterical but very eye opening.

In 1 Corinthians 12:28, it says that “God has appointed…those having gifts of healing.” In my own life I was quick to go to the doctor for antibiotics for the flu or to figure out why my elbow hurts so badly in the mornings, but I resisted going in and admitting that I often felt a crushing weight on my chest or that I couldn’t sleep for the myriad of thoughts whirling around in my brain. My biggest fear was that the doctor would tell me nothing was wrong, it was all in my head, or even worse that I might have some horrible disease that couldn’t be cured.

While my physical health is important, I realize now that my mental health is even more of a priority. Having been prescribed a medication a few years ago for anxiety, I was constantly trying to get off of it, feeling weak for having to take it. I was embarrassed as much as anything. Yet, after hearing Chonda and meeting so many other women in the same position, I realized that I was denying the healing that the Lord had given me through someone with the gift of healing…my doctor.

Now, when someone asks me how I cope with all this, I tell them that a good physical from their trusted family doctor is their first priority. Next, I recommend finding a good counselor/therapist who can help you cope with the mental stress of things. If necessary, accept medication with grace and discernment. Lastly, make sure your lifestyle changes to include a good healthy diet and whatever exercise you can do comfortably. If you are eating well, your kids will be eating well. (Children learn bad dietary habits, they aren’t born with them.)

Dearest Father God, Thank You for this most beautiful day. Thank You for bringing us together this morning. Let Your words soak through our toughness and soften our hearts. We know that all things that You bring before us are for our own good, even when we resist. Thank You for doctors who are trained to heal the sick and afflicted. We pray for them and all the people they take care of. We know that while the days are hard, Your Hand will guide us. We pray for mercy and grace for those who are struggling with their burdens. Let us lift them up with our prayers. In the name of Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior, Amen.

Copyright © 2012, Michelle Welch, All rights reserved, Breath of Life Women’s Ministries. Bible scripture taken from NIV84.

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