So at the end of the last blog ‘Changing focus- Psalm 4’ it said ” What does the road in that valley look like for you? How do we get to that point of healing for our physical (illnesses), emotional (mental health) or spiritual (wars)?” Now, i figured the best way to tackle this question is head on, talking about how to get to the point of being ready for a healing. But to also be aware that healing can also be a continuous journey, of which I’ve had to learn the hard way. As said before, God’s answer, including in healing, will be yes, no or wait, but just to add to this His response to healing could be that of a continuous journey too and as we journey through our lives with Him it’s in that journey that helps us in our healing, as we get to know Jesus more and become more like Him.
To explain this I’m going to be be totally open and honest with my path, in order to share with ya’ all how i got from where I was to where I am now. As hindsight is a wonderful thing! I have had some incredibly dark times, but looking back, God did have me in His hands, though in these times I didn’t see it! *Trigger warning, possibly, as will be using some quotes from my diary. Apologies in advance!
So, life from March until October, was pretty horrific, I won’t go into details but this is one of my diary entry’s which pretty much covered it all…
So, that’s pretty dark eh? I’m sorry, buts that’s just the way it was from time to time but I certainly knew that I didn’t want to stay in that place! It was down to writing the diary that i came to accept that something was wrong and I came to realise it was more than just sadness I was experiencing and I just knew that I couldn’t deal with it on my own, but didn’t want to tell anyone close to me for fear of hurting or upsetting them. I needed to break through that denial and fear and face my pain and negative emotions and reach out for help. I found somewhere local where there was an online application form for a self referral. This one was Health in Mind (In the UK) (1) There are other options for other areas of the UK and other online options for other counties as well, you can also enquire at your own surgery and be referred by your GP, for free options otherwise private, paid for, options, with no or much shorter waiting lists, are also available in this Counselling Directory (2) Others would be available wherever you are in the world as this one is jut fr the UK. I’m so glad i did this as God wanted to heal me from these emotions and that’s what He wants for you too, in order to move on in your journey with Him towards a more abundant life.
I found that counselling was a great help for me. I was lucky to have a few people around me, who would come and see me a couple of times a month but it was also helpful to have that outside help from someone who doesn’t know you who you can feel safe enough to talk to about things you may not be comfortable telling others about. I would definitely recommend this and other talking therapies, which can also be found online or from your local surgery. There are also apps which can help as well, for example, I used Calm Harm (3) which involves distraction techniques which helped me a little, at my lowest points. Though it also involved a lot of willpower and prayer too! Support groups can also be helpful, you can find these within your local area or even on social media, which are both additional ways to feel safe and talk to others going through similar things as you. I belong to a few social media ones, for some of the issues in my life. Though keep your eyes out for whether the group is private or public before sharing, as i may have made that mistake before as well!! You will be surprised at what’s available, just search the groups and pages, and if not then why not start one? I began: ‘Mindful of Christ-Improving Mental Health’ (4) https://www.facebook.com/groups/2507812029435244/ Which is where i started writing about what is says on the tin! Christianity and mental health, as i believe this to be important for our well-being and often missed within the church. It is a place for people to feel safe to share and support each other as it is a private group. It also includes, scriptures, meditations, prayers and devotionals. Feel free to request to join and invite others who may need that extra support.
As for the neurocardiogenic syncope, that was the root of all of it. This is defined as a syndrome in which “triggering of a neural reflex results in a usually self-limited episode of systemic hypotension characterized by both bradycardia (asystole or relative bradycardia) and peripheral vasodilation. (5). So fainting. And when it happens it can affect me for a few hours, a few days, weeks or even months. It’s been happening on and off for 21 years now and It was July 2019 they gave me a diagnosis, which would have been helpful but followed by the consultant saying “there is no treatment or cure for it” came as a blow. Now there is a reason for telling you all this, as these periods of time stuck indoors and having my independence and pride challenged has had a knock on effect and impacted on my mental health. Last year was exceptionally bleak as (due to the syncope) I only just passed my driving test Dec 2018 and by March that was taken away from me. As I said in the diary entry, I realised I wasn’t just ‘sad’ and that I needed additional support. This realisation occurred as i have previously been studying a mental health module within my degree in 2017 and have experienced depression previously as well, in 2014 and episodes through my late teens and twenties. It took me to study this to realise that there is absolutely no shame in this, so if you are slightly concerned about your mental health, whether your a Christian or not, please seek that extra help and support.
Admist these times on occasion, I mustered up the tiny shred of strength and the seed of faith I had and literally got down on my knees and cried to the Lord. I wanted to get to the point of acceptance but couldn’t do it with Him. It was like the footprints poem, I felt totally alone, that my prayers were hitting a brick wall and that i was just left in the darkness, but, again, hindsight is a wonderful thing, He WAS carrying me and still is. In those times when you feel the same, just remember He is there, He does love you and He will never leave you. ” Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31.6
To sum up this part, it is clear to me that acceptance of the situation and circumstances and the realisation that outside help and support may be just what you/ we need. By living in denial or covering up our emotional difficulties with addictions and facades we aren’t dealing with the issues and healing begins when we are willing to change ourselves. So, please don’t feel ashamed, alone or even a burden (yes, i am talking to myself as well!) But go, go and get any help you feel is right for you, there is so much of it available and accessible these days and your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Let’s reassure one other that it is actually OK not to be OK and to help and support one another to actually become OK. Either way God loves you.
(1) https://www.healthinmind.org.uk/news/42-new-online-self-referral (2) https://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/ (3) https://calmharm.co.uk/ (4) https://www.facebook.com/groups/2507812029435244/ (5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC506859/ (6) https://wallpapersafari.com/w/5kusDR