The Stigma of Mental Health & Christians

Christians navigating through psychological disorders

“Why Am I MENTAL Lord?”

The Stigma of Mental Health & Christians

Depression, anxiety, and other disorders are not limited to non-believers. Christians can be afflicted as well.

Many Christians suffer quietly because of a stigma that portrays a believer with a mental disorder as being weak in their faith.

That stigma goes as far as causing some believers to feel they are sinning because they have a mental disease.

“Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.                                                                                                                    James 5: 14-16

What are Mental Disorders?

Understanding the dynamics of mental diseases helps to break down the associated stigma or shame that has been attached to the disorders for centuries.

mental illness in christians

There are over two hundred forms of mental illnesses but we have listed the most common ones below to give you a glimpse into what causes them and what some of the symptoms are. 

It is highly recommended that if you suspect you may have a disorder, consult with your physician.

Mental Diseases / Disorders

Depression

Overwhelming feeling of despair, sadness, hopelessness

Causes

  • Genetics
  • Chemical imbalance in the brain
  • Trauma
  • Pain
  • Loss
  • Sin that goes unconfessed with unrepentance

Symptoms

  • Loss of interest
  • No appetite
  • Sleeping a lot
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Inability to think or concentrate

Bipolar Disorder

Excessive mood swings

Causes

  • Genetics
  • Chemical imbalance in the brain

Symptoms

  • Excessive talking, jumpiness, and euphoria
  • Excessive fatigue, weight loss, no interest, suicidal thoughts

Anxiety

Excessive worry of fear

Causes

⦁ Genetics

⦁ Chemical imbalance in the brain

⦁ Underlying symptom of a mental disorder

⦁ Trauma

⦁ Sin that goes unconfessed with unrepentance

Symptoms

⦁ Inability to sleep

⦁ Heart racing

⦁ Fearful of unrealistic things

⦁ Worried

⦁ No appetite

Personality Disorder

Inability to relate to people or situations

Causes

⦁ Genetics

⦁ Chemical imbalance in the brain

Symptoms

⦁ Inability to be in certain situations or around other people

⦁ Impulsive

⦁ Trouble forming relationships

⦁ Impaired socially

Eating Disorder

Harmful eating habits resulting from unhealthy perception of body image (Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating)

Causes

⦁ Genetics

⦁ Chemical imbalance in the brain

⦁ Underlying symptom of a mental disorder

⦁ Trauma

⦁ Sin that goes unconfessed with unrepentance

Symptoms

⦁ Unrealistic perception of body image

⦁ Not eating

⦁ Eating and then purging

⦁ Eating excessive amounts of food

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Having flashbacks and anxiety relating to a traumatic event

Causes

⦁ Being present in a traumatic event such as auto accident, war, abuse, victim of crime, witnessing something, and so on.

Symptoms

⦁ Reacting to loud sounds

⦁ Claustrophobic

⦁ Isolation

⦁ Depression

⦁ Fearful of certain situations or people

Addictive Behavior

The physical or mental dependence on something (such as alcohol, drugs, food, sinful behavior, etc.)

Causes

⦁ Genetics

⦁ Exposure to environmental things such as toxins, in-vitro exposure to drugs or alcohol

⦁ Chemical imbalance in the brain

⦁ Trauma (emotional, physical)

⦁ Pain

⦁ Sin that goes unconfessed with unrepentance

Symptoms

⦁ Being secretive, hiding things

⦁ Isolation

⦁ Depression

⦁ Inability to sleep or concentrate

⦁ Weight loss or gain

Schizophrenia

Thinking or acting in ways that loses touch with reality

Causes

⦁ Genetics

⦁ Exposure to environmental things such as toxins, in-vitro exposure to drugs or alcohol

⦁ Chemical imbalance in the brain

Symptoms

⦁ Speech and behavior that is disorganized

⦁ Inability to relate to reality

⦁ Inability to concentrate

⦁ Memory loss

We Are All Broken

Because the world is a fallen place, we are all broken, and natural illnesses are a result of this.

We are not short-circuiting the power of God by having a disorder, nor is it a sin to be afflicted or take medication to treat the disorder.

Just as medication treats the physiological aspect of the disorder, so too should prayer and a close walk with God be used to treat the spiritual aspect of it.

Throughout the Bible, there is mention of medicinal uses and treatments.

“Give strong drink [as medicine] to him who is ready to pass away, and wine to him whose life is bitter.” – Proverbs 31:6

“No longer continue drinking [only] water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.” – 1 Timothy 5:23

“Now Isaiah had said, “Have them take a cake of figs and rub it [as an ointment] on the inflamed spot, that he may recover.” – Isaiah 38:21

“But a Samaritan (foreigner), who was traveling, came upon him; and when he saw him, he was deeply moved with compassion [for him], and went to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them [to soothe and disinfect the injuries]; and he put him on his own pack-animal, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.” – Luke 10:33-34

Navigating with God’s HelpYou are a child of the Almighty, and He loves you regardless of your mental health status, whether you take medication or not, or if you seek the counsel of a Christian therapist or your pastor.

Sometimes, God allows afflictions and suffering in our lives in order to attain His divine purpose for us.

Everyone suffers in some way to varying degrees whether it be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual.

Allow others in to see the strength of God in your own weakness.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

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