Religion can be a huge reason why someone may keep pushing through tough times. If you have struggled with your mental health or addiction while being a part of a religious community, you may have heard this from someone who just doesn’t understand: “If you really had faith, you wouldn’t be so depressed!” J.S. Park, a hospital chaplain and grief counselor, said in response, “No — it’s actually faith that was the very last rock that kept me going right on through depression.” Through his work, Park has seen many things. He’s also been through things himself — he is a survivor of suicide. He knows firsthand how depression, anxiety, and addictions are viewed in the religious community. Physical and mental illnesses are treated entirely differently, with mental illnesses frequently being brushed under the rug. It’s time we change this. Mental illnesses in religious communities may be seen as having the devil or other demons inside of you. However, no one says this of medical conditions such as cancer or diabetes. You shouldn’t have to hide parts of yourself in the places you’re expected to be the most vulnerable.
Accept who you are
Many people in religious spheres believe that God will love you despite your sins. Upon receiving a diagnosis, you may be left feeling confused and alone. It’s essential to reach out to someone you trust in your community. You are not alone in your disease. You can receive help. First, you must accept yourself as your God would accept you. Ask your peers in your religious community to pray for you. This shows that you are still actively participating in your religion while dealing with your mental illness. Religion and mental health are not mutually exclusive.
Create a space for change
Many of the deeply held beliefs in religious spheres have not been challenged. People may be worried about speaking up about their issues for fear of judgment or feeling like an outcast. Here’s the thing, though: nothing changes if nothing changes. If no one speaks up about what they are going through, there will be no change. Someone has to be the brave one and come forward. Be that person. You will be helping those around you who are also struggling but may not be at a point where they feel they can speak up.
Pinnacle Recovery is here for you. We want to give you the tools to help create change in the spaces you live in. Call now at 1-866-301-0573 for more information about how we can help you. We can’t wait to hear from you!