There is a type of viciousness with mental health issues. The individual’s life seems to only exist as an upward or downward spiral. Our mental life is so complex that sometimes it becomes impossible to decipher what’s going right and what’s going wrong. Recovery becomes very confusing.
To be made by an almighty God is an incredible fact. It’s only natural that a designer, of an unrivalled calibre, would create something so incredibly complex.
Whichever way you split the body, you will be left in awe of the detail and the design.
Physically speaking, it’s amazing how our body has a defence system and can repair itself. It’s amazing the diverse functions it carries out automatically just to keep us alive.
In terms of the intellect, it’s amazing how much we can learn over a lifetime and specialise in a specific academic field.
Of emotions, it’s amazing the range and depth of emotions we can experience.
We were created with such infinite detail. But this level of complexity implies that we have complex needs to maintain our overall health.
To maintain good wellbeing, diverse requirements need to be met. These requirements stretch beyond the physical and into the psychological, cognitive and spiritual.
We have physical needs like food and water. We have psychological needs like feeling connected and having a sense of purpose. We have cognitive needs, our minds need to be stimulated by learning each day. Finally, we have spiritual needs like hearing from God.
Afflictions arise from unmet needs. Unmet physical needs lead to problems like malnutrition. Unmet social needs leads to disconnection and loneliness. Unmet spiritual needs lead to spiritual lethargy or even deadness.
A cocktail of unmet needs can lead to a comprehensive illness like depression.
One hundred solutions
In dealing with depression, we have one thorough affliction with a hundred beneficial solutions.
Depression can be lifted, in other words, wellbeing can be improved by:
self-care, a healthy diet, social contact, a consistent sleep pattern, gratitude, an outward focus (instead of negative rumination), more autonomy at your job, an active spiritual life, regular exercise, going out in nature, mindfulness and contributing to the community.
With so many solutions to get better, the next step can be a mystery. If only the route to recovery was tailor made for you individually.
Even after a successful period, it can be easy to slip back into old patterns. (For reasons mysterious to us.) If only there was something that could change us from the inside out. That could change our very nature.
If you have been struggling with depression for a long time, it just may be that the hooks of the downward spiral are attached in multiple areas.
It’s nothing to be ashamed of. We face great adversity and deception in this life.
Recovery is hard. It’s hard because it’s impossible to examine ourselves and come up with a perfect prescription of what we need.
But the good news is - “…your father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew chapter 6, verse 8)
The good news is that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, the ‘Parakletos.’ The Holy Spirit, is our helper, our comforter and our advocate.
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever“ (John chapter 14, verse 16)
Mental illness is mysterious and complex. Despondency, persistent depressive disorder, suicidal rumination demands adept counselling.
Human means are very beneficial, however, the Holy Spirit provides nothing short of perfect counsel.
Who else knows us perfectly? Who else knows our history, understands our trauma, knows intimately how we are shaped, knows what our future holds and knows what our shortcomings are?
To be the perfect counsellor requires perfect empathy, perfect love, a patience when the person rebels and loving eyes to look past brokenness.
“He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness.” (Hebrews chapter 5, verse 2)
To be the perfect counsellor requires perfect timing. For there is a time to lift, a time to be firm, to be gentle, to encourage and to listen. What does man know about this? What counsellor on earth could measure up?
From a deep, deep pit, recovery is not simple as praying harder. Recovery is incredibly difficult for us because we are so short sighted.
The bright side
But there is a God that cares for us. He is perfectly qualified. He is perfectly equipped. Our heart and situation is utterly exposed to Him. He only asks that we listen carefully.
“If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you (Yahweh-Rapha).” (Exodus chapter 15, verse 26)
Yahweh-Rapha. It is not just what he does. It’s who he is. Listening carefully, doing what’s right in his eyes brings forth springs of life, rivers of healing.
“But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves.” (Malachi chapter 4, verse 2)
Healing is in his nature.
Mental illness may be a mystery, it may seem impossible to rid oneself of, but our God lights up each stage of the journey. Knowing what step to take is hard. We have many needs. We are complicated creatures.
I pray that God would guide you to your most desperate need of your current situation. May he grant you the strength to obey personalised steps.
No mystery is too great, no pit is too deep when we have a perfect God as our Helper.
“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm chapter 103, verses 2-5)
Roden Meares enjoys playing basketball, reading comics and going to the gym. He has a passion for evangelising and helping others in their faith through writing.
Roden’s previous articles can be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/roden-meares.html
Any feedback is welcome and can be directed to: meares firstname.lastname@example.org