Hope & Healing In Mental Illness

HopeandHealing

For as long as I can remember I’ve battled with OCD, anxiety, and depression. Every day {sometimes every moment} is a fight to resist unhealthy thinking. There have been seasons of my life when simply getting out of bed and moving to the couch was the biggest accomplishment of my day. It’s a heavy weight to carry and but I believe that there is a reason for every trial we face.

2 Corinthians 1:3+4 tells us, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

Through this journey God is constantly reminding me to seek Him. Does it make my racing thoughts disappear? No. It does, however, give me a perspective shift towards eternity. Do you carry the weight of mental or emotional burdens? Do you feel lost and think no one could possibly understand? I’m writing this post for YOU to share the resources that have given me hope, healing, and comfort – my prayer is that one or all can bring some Light into your darkness. ♥

{Just to be clear – I am not a doctor or therapist. Please do not take my words as medical advice. They are loving suggestions from one friend to another. They are my way of saying, “You are not alone. It’s scary – I understand. But we can’t let it win! Here are the weapons that I’ve found successful in the fight.”}

Ministries

  • Revive Our Hearts  A powerful and rich ministry that offers abundant resources for women in any season. I’ve been greatly blessed by their podcast and blogs.
  • Voice of the Martyrs  While on the heavier side, VOM brings an instant eternal perspective through their sharing of those willingly sacrifice all for their faith. I’ve been particularly inspired by their Torchlighters videos which highlight the lives of several heroes of the faith.
  • The Bible Project  This group of theologians and creatives use videos to make Bible literacy achievable for those of us who get overwhelmed easily. Their app Read Scripture coordinates daily reading with their informative videos.

Books

These books offer practical and spiritual help through some of life’s most difficult situations and questions.

Music

I know I’m not the only one who gets songs stuck in their head, only to repeat the chorus for hours on end. Imagine the encouragement we could bring to our hearts if those words were filled with Scripture and praises! Below are two of my own Spotify playlists – be sure to click Shuffle, I’m not good at ordering songs! I always am adding to these playlists, so be sure to follow them if you enjoy similar music!

  • Calming Praise  A collection of hymns and modern praise songs of hope and surrender.
  • Peppy Praise  Whether at the gym or doing chores, these upbeat tunes will see you through.

Healthy Body

One of the biggest turning points in my mental health was when I decided that I was going to make a solid effort to take care of my physical body. When our bodies are running more efficiently it gives our minds a much better chance to function healthier.

  • Aerobic Training with Leslie Sansone really is a joy! It feels like you’re walking with a lifelong friend and her “miles” are a very achievable 15 mins. Her YouTube feed is filled with 1, 2, and 3 mile workouts!
  • Strength Trainging with HASFit takes away the intimidation from building muscle! In every video they include beginner modifications so you can take part no matter what your fitness level is. Their YouTube feed is filled with endless free workouts to strengthen your body!
  • Eating Well can be a challenge when you don’t have much {if any} energy. However, the fuel we put in hugely impacts how well our body and mind will work. I highly suggest avoiding pre-made foods and filling your tummy with foods that are in their closest natural form. Dr. Axe has an extensive library of whole foods and their benefits. I’ve also found great success in using the MyFitnessPal app. Whether you’re hoping to lose a little weight or just want to be conscious of what you’re eating, it’s a wonderful way of keeping yourself accountable in regards to food.

Furry Friends

My life turned upside-down {or perhaps I should say right-side-up} one afternoon when a scraggly looking stray cat arrived at our door. I’d seen him running around the neighborhood for years, he never stayed in one place for long. This time though he stayed put when I brought some food and I was able to see he was covered in wounds from a cat fight. Over the months that I nursed him back to health I saw a beautiful picture of what my relationship with God ought to look like. Herb {as we named this handsome feline} trusted me without measure. When I put ointment on his open wounds, when I washed him in the tub daily to remove fleas, when I re-affixed the cone of shame for the hundredth time – no matter how miserable the task he faithfully complied because he knew I loved him and was caring for him. No matter where I went Herb was never more than a foot away {usually much less}. When I feel frustrated by the ways that God chooses to care for me I often remind myself of Herb’s sweet example.

  • Adopting a Rescue Animal is a wonderful way to bring joy to daily life! It eases some pressure of caring for myself because I redirect it towards caring for something that needs me. Animals are incredibly loyal which gives a sense of security. Dogs are fabulous because they need daily walks – fresh air and exercise! Cats are terrific because they are low maintence! Pet Finder helps you search for local rescue animals.

Find Your Tribe

Lastly, but almost most importantly, is building a local support network. These are the people that text you when they’ve noticed you haven’t left your house in days. The people who don’t judge you when you act socially awkward. The people who surround you with love and tell you, “You are not alone.”

  • Finding a God-Fearing Church is vital to any believers life. We benefit enormously from hearing the Word taught. True beauty is displayed when a body of believers comes together as a family and cares for one another.
  • Joining a Bible Study allows you to become deeply connected with a smaller group of people. As you study the Scriptures you are able to intimately discuss the challenges you face and direct one another to Christ. If you are a military wife, I highly suggest attending PWOC at the chapel!
  • Finding a Hobby can add happy routine to your life. I personally love drawing and gardening. Invest a little money in your hobby so that you can flourish in what brings you joy!
  • Volunteering is a wonderful way to take your eyes off the problems your experiencing and give hope to others. A great way to make this more fun is to combine your hobby and volunteering. I love gardening – I could use that skill to beautify hospital grounds!
  • Finding a Therapist can be a daunting but extremely rewarding task. Whether they help you digest big issues or give you coping skills for day to day life, having a therapist can help you walk towards healthier thinking. Psychology Today offers an easy to use Therapist finder – you can even refine your search by insurance and specify if you’d prefer a Christian therapist!

 

Precious friend, these are far from original suggestions, but they have provided me with hope and healing in this mess called mental illness. I am praying for you, dear friend, as you navigate these frighting waters. I hope this blog post can be a compass to not only point you to some helpful resources, but ultimately point you to the One who has comforted me. Be a living example of 2 Corinthians 1:3+4, when you find that comfort, pass it on to the next person in need. ♥

Have a beautiful day! ♥

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