Episode 95: The Gospel and Your Mental Health

confidence divine worth exhaustion hear him mental health mental health tips May 01, 2023

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month so it is always near and dear to my heart as I am a therapist. During this month, as always, I want to break down the stigma of mental health diagnosis and taking medication for a mental health diagnosis. Along with that, my passion for my coaching business has morphed into a beautiful place of talking about mental health through a spiritual lens.

So in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, I thought I would talk about different aspects of mental health for the entire month to bring awareness and understanding of how God plays a role in our mental health. In this post I will focus on explaining how your mental health relates to the gospel. Make sure to come back each week because this month I will also be diving into specific disorders like depression, anxiety, ADHD and trauma. I will also be writing about something I unfortunately have become specialized in due to the location of where I work, which is suicide. This post will be to help you know what to look for and how to respond to someone who is having thoughts of suicide.  

I notice that many women I work with have a lot of turmoil over their mental health challenges because they have misconceptions about their mental health journey. This keeps them stuck in the turmoil and feeling distant from God. So in this specific post I am going to answer five common questions I get when I talk about mental health through a spiritual lens. Combining spiritual and mental health together will help you better understand yours or someone else's mental health challenges. Understanding is a big piece of the healing journey. My hope is that this information may help you or someone you love get untangled from those misconceptions and feel the healing power that Christ can offer.

Did I do something wrong to cause these mental health challenges?

First of all, mental health challenges have many contributing factors. This answer is not a black and white, yes or no, type of answer. However, I found a great explanation on the Church’s website. They have an entire page devoted to questions about mental health and it is a great resource. I want to quote them exactly on this so that you can have assurance that these are not just my thoughts but church supported ideas as well. 

“In John 9:2 the Savior’s disciples asked Him about a blind man: “Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered His disciples and taught them, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him” (John 9:3). From this brief exchange we can learn that many afflictions, including mental health challenges, are not the result of sin and that we can be healed. Many factors can contribute to mental health challenges—genetics, environment, impairing accidents, life circumstances, and, at times, choices. Regardless of the contributing factors, we can draw strength from the Savior for hope and healing. We should not automatically conclude that a mental health challenge is directly caused by sin or that it is a character weakness.”

I love how this takes the shame and guilt away from knowing that anyone is susceptible. It’s not a blanket answer that sin causes mental health challenges. There are many situations where one is not at fault of the mental health challenges coming on. However, choices such as substance abuse and engaging in behaviors that the Savior would not approve of can cause a mental health diagnosis to develop. The website also says,

“Mental health challenges can impact anyone, regardless of education, geography, faith, calling, or family. They are nothing to be ashamed of and should be met with love.”

One of the most important pieces is regardless of where the mental health challenge is coming from, the Savior can offer hope. When you put your focus on the Savior, He can guide you in your specific circumstances because He has already experienced your specific unique circumstance. He knows in every moment what you need and has the enabling power to provide it for you. Staying close to the Savior can help you know if there is something you can change in your life to help with your mental health.

Why doesn’t God take this away from me?

It is true, God IS very powerful and can do anything. However, God does not come in and take all things away from us. Remember that scripture from just a minute ago about where the man’s blindness came from? The Savior taught that we are to experience a fallen world with fallen bodies so “that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” These works of God can be manifested in so many different ways and taking something away isn’t the only way God can show up for you in your challenges.

Sometimes healing can come in small and simple ways over the course of time. Sometimes relief, guidance and help is given through the enabling power of Christ because some healing comes at the resurrection. No matter HOW God shows up for you or your loved one in your mental health challenges, it is not a reflection of His love for you or your worth as a daughter of God. The key is, allowing God to show up in the way HE knows is best and not expecting God to show in a certain way.

Why do I feel like God has abandoned me in my mental health challenges?

The reason you will feel distant from God in your challenges is because this is part of the Plan of Salvation. It is a plan that includes agency and choice. God wanted each of us to be able to choose for ourselves so God had to create something that would allow for agency, opposition. Opposition occurs in all things. Inside of us, that opposition is called the natural man or the carnal mind. In the scriptures it talks about the natural man being an enemy to God, which just means opposing force or without God. King Benjamin did a wonderful job in Mosiah explaining the natural man and it’s effects Mosiah 2:11

"I am like as yourselves, subject to all manner of infirmities in body and mind"

Everyone truly is subject to all manner of infirmities. We are God's children living in fallen world. We are not in His presence but He is not hiding from us or abandoning us. We still have access to His power. I love how President Eyring’s describes what it’s like to be in the state of the natural man and not feel God. 

“The pavilion that seems to intercept divine aid does not cover God; it occasionally covers us. God is never hidden, yet sometimes we are covered by a pavilion of motivations that draw us away from God and make Him seem distant and inaccessible. Our own desires, rather than a feeling of “Thy will be done” (Matthew 6:10), create the feeling of a pavilion blocking God. God is not unable to see us or communicate with us, but we may be unwilling to listen or submit to His will and His time."

Because of our thoughts, the natural man can put up a pavilion blocking God’s power from reaching us. Learning skills to put that natural man to sleep and remove the pavilion is what all of my mental health skills are based around. That’s my specialty as a mental health therapist. I teach women to use mental health tools through a spiritual lens to connect with God every single day so that He can comfort us and guide is in every aspect of our lives, including our mental health journey. He is there and we can learn to lift "the pavilion that seems to intercept divine aid." 

How can I help a loved one who struggles with mental health challenges?

The first thing to remember is that you are not in charge of your loved ones healing. What you do have control over is the environment you create around your loved one. The environment you create can help them feel more comfortable asking you for help or advice and feel safe talking about their experiences. One of those ways to create a safe environment is to watch the words you choose about mental health and make sure they are not stigmatizing words. Common words that are used to describe others with mental health challenges that are not appropriate and can create make your loved one feel unsafe to open up to you are the words crazy, unstable, mental, disturbed or insane. Also avoid using words to describe yourself or others like bipolar, OCD, ADHD or schizophrenic. This stigmatizes those diagnoses as something wrong with them.

Also, another great way to create a safe environment is to listen without judgment. Don’t offer advice or tell them why they are getting the results they are getting. They likely already know that. What they need is a safe place to talk out what they are thinking without judgment. When this type of environment is offered they are more likely to hear their solution from within themselves as they talk. They are more likely to hear God guiding them through personal revelation.

 How can I incorporate spirituality into my mental health healing journey?

Often times, women are very surprised when I teach them how to incorporate the mental health skills they are learning into gospel language. This helps you feel like they aren’t separate parts of you that have to be worked on separately. They actually complement each other really well. They work hand in hand.  Incorporating mental health tools into spirituality helps faithful women learn to reduce anxiety, release guilt and inadequacies and access their internal worth. 

When women begin working with me I hear them express that they feel inadequate and compare themselves to other women. They tell me that they do not see their own worth or they feel like what they do doesn't matter. Many tell me that their inner critic speaks louder than any other voice. They are exhausted, unorganized, and too overwhelmed to actually accomplish what they need to in their roles as a mother, wife, ministering sister, in their callings, as a sister, daughter, and even their jobs. As women we wear many hats and it can be hard to manage them all. They feel like they are failing. This undoubtedly affects our mental health. This is exactly where I can help them and if you feel any of those I want to help you too.

That help can start today. I have a self-paced video course that will teach you to use true mental health skills through a spiritual lens. It is called the Connection CourseIn the video course you will learn four mental health skills to help you connect better with God, yourself and others. These skills help you remove the pavilion that the natural man creates and return to God to receive His power, love and healing. This course will also be helpful if you are supporting a loved one who has mental health challenges. These challenges are a part of earthly life but you can learn skills to stay connected to God and your loved ones, and your true divine self.





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