CedarCreek’s motto is “You Matter.” What does this mean? I believe it means God loves you, and you are important to him. God cares about your physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental well-being. Many people find it difficult to talk about their mental health issues with others. We will discuss family problems, physical illnesses, financial problems, and other personal matters, but for some reason, mental illness is taboo. We don’t like to admit we struggle with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, addictions, or any other problems.
Mental illness is something that impacts everyone, and 50 percent of us will be diagnosed with some sort of mental illness at some point in our life. One in five people suffer from mental illnesses each year. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in adults 18 and older in the U.S., affecting 18.1 percent of the population each year. The leading cause of disability in the U.S. from the ages of 15 to 44 is depression. There are more than 200 types of mental illness diagnoses. If you are presently not suffering with some type of mental illness, you probably know someone who is.
Mental health was one of the top issues people identified as a struggle in life through CedarCreek’s online survey. This past weekend, Ben Snyder interviewed Dr. Jason Brouwer, a clinical psychologist, about this issue in our lives.
In the interview, Dr. Brouwer shared with us that an indicator or red flag we can look for in regards to mental health is when our reaction doesn’t quite match the situation at hand. Another indicator that something is not quite right with our mental health is if we find ourselves in a season of life that is uncomfortable for an extended period of time or we feel that our discomfort is to a degree that is a little excessive. These indicators are signs that we may need to process why we are experiencing these feelings.
This weekend, Dr. Brouwer shared with us the ABC Chart—a tool to help us process our emotions during difficult situations.
As you go throughout your day, identify the activating events in your life. In other words, when something happens that causes you distress, it’s important to recognize the facts that occurred in that event.
Secondly, pay attention to the story you are telling yourself about those events. Keep in mind, your beliefs may not be based on fact at all.
Finally, identify the emotions that result from the story you are telling yourself about that activating event. These are the consequences to your belief(s).
By going through this exercise, you will be able to process your emotions and those red flags in the area of mental health. The more you do the ABC exercise, the more natural it will become.
Over the next few days of the LivingItOut, we will continue to look at some very practical steps that will help you process emotions and live emotionally healthy.
As you go through this week, if you find yourself in a struggle, it is important to know that we don’t have to struggle alone.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
I can’t wait to see how God uses this service and this week’s LivingItOut to help all of us. Hopefully, we will feel free to share our struggles with others, feeling God’s love and acceptance though out.
Are you struggling with some mental health issue? Who can you talk to if you have a mental health issue?
Talk to someone. Attend Celebrate Recovery. Pray for guidance.
Dear Lord, please help me to lean on the people you have placed in my life to help me work through my mental health struggles. I know it will not be easy to open up, but I realize that it is very important to talk about it with someone I trust and know has my best interest at heart. Please let me be also there for others in my life who struggle with mental health issues. Please give us all the strength to work through any mental health issues that we may have. Amen.
This post was written by Marsha Raymond. Marsha has been happily married to her husband, Jeff, for 30 years. They have two grown sassy and fearless daughters. She loves spending time with God, her family and friends, reading, riding bicycles, yoga and walking.
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