In honor of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, I want to talk about the importance of seeking professional Christian Counseling. The subject of mental health is a taboo topic in most churches. When most people bring it up, it is quickly dismissed. Nobody wants to talk about it. Therefore most people who are dealing with mental health issues suffer in silence. And when they do cry out for help, they are often labeled as being crazy or shamed by their family or friends. How do I know this? Because I deal with mental health issues.
Mental Health America defines mental health issues or illness as causes mild to severe disturbances in thought and/or behavior, resulting in an inability to cope with life’s ordinary demands and routines. All of my life I have battled with the spirit of anger-ranging anger or in medical terms “Intermittent Explosive Disorder”. According to the Mayo Clinic, Intermittent explosive disorder involves repeated, sudden episodes of impulsive, aggressive, violent behavior or angry verbal outbursts in which you react grossly out of proportion to the situation. Now most people who know me wouldn’t believe I have this disorder because they have never seen me “explode” or act in this manner. And it is not something I do often, but when I do it is bad…like really really bad.
When I was a teenager and in my early 20s, I would snap at and fight people at the drop of a dime. I didn’t understand the concept of a peaceful resolve or “talking it out”. If you made me mad, then it was time to fight and I would usually throw the first punch. It was until my last big fight in 2012 that I realized I had a problem. My anger and rage go so out of hand that I almost went to jail. And let’s just say the reality of almost having to sit behind bars in an orange jumpsuit put the sanity back into insanity! Thank you Jesus, I didn’t go to jail, but at that moment I knew mentally something was off with me. We all get angry but not that angry. I would get so angry that I couldn’t think, talk or act rationally.
Anger is a natural human emotion. God knows we will get angry. Even He gets angry. But He clearly states in His Word be angry but sin not (Ephesians 4:26). Being angry doesn’t give me the right to cuss someone out mad or “tear da club up”! If you don’t want know what that last phrase means look it up in Urban dictionary. Alright, moving right along! I realized after that last fight I needed to seek help on how to deal with my anger and find the emotional, mental, and spiritual root of it. Because you can’t heal or deal until you get to the root.
People with mental health issues aren’t just “crazy”. Even those who are diagnosed as being bi-polar or schizophrenia have an underlying root of why they behave the way they do.
Now understand, bi-polar and schizophrenia are not the only mental health issues. While they are most common, according to WebMd, a mental health issue can be”
Obsessive compulsive disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Impulse control and addiction disorder
Sexual and gender disorders:
Substance abuse disorders.
While we see people’s symptoms, their emotional and mental instability, we don’t know their roots. We don’t know what happened in their lives to make them think or behave in that manner in which we see displayed. There are several scientific and health studies that have shown that most people who are considered bi-polar experienced emotional, physical, or sexual trauma in their childhood. I don’t believe anyone is born crazy or with a mental health issue. I believe our life experiences, physical environments, and the people we are closely connected to shape our belief systems which then dictate our behaviors and choices we make. I didn’t wake up one day and just start being angry and flipping out on people. Something traumatic happened to me as a child. So there is a root to my anger and mental issue.
Last fall I made the decision to seek professional help. I tried for years to deal with my anger on my own but obviously it didn’t get better. My friends and family would tell me to pray about it. But some things you just can’t pray away. It takes prayer and getting to the root because there is a spiritual root for every earthly problem (emotional, mental and physical). After praying and fasting, the Lord led me to seek help from a Christian Counselor. Though Jesus is the “Wonderful Counselor” (Isaiah 9:6), depending on the severity of your issues you may need to seek out a human counselor-preferably a Christian one.
As much as our loved ones and friends love us, they can't help us with our mental health issues or illnesses. They can support us. They can pray for us. But they can't help us internally cope. If you suffer or deal with a mental health issue or illness do not be ashamed. It is nothing to be embarrassed about. Millions suffer in silence, but enough is enough. If you prayed about it, fasted about it, spoke with your pastor or spiritual mentor about it, and still the symptoms and problems linger, seek a professional counselor. I highly encourage a Christian one if you are Christian, but if not seek someone who has professional experience in the areas you are needing help in.
I pray my story encourages you to get help. Going to counseling has been one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. Not only is it helping me with anger issues, but other emotional issues as well. Do not Suffer In Silence. Get Help. Seek Counseling.
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