Mental Health vs. Spiritual Awareness

I think people are very confused about what it means to be mentally healthy in this country.

We have an epidemic of anxiety and depression, and we don’t know how to fix it. Women, particularly, seem to be suffering, and we don’t know what to do for them.

I think one solution may be to reconfigure our understanding of God.

Because our culture is sick. There is a darkness that lays over this land, a darkness that emphasizes consumption and suffering and sacrifice, especially as it pertains to women’s bodies.

Men are suffering, too. Because they recognize that the women they love are unhappy, and they don’t know what to do about it.

When I got divorced and started dating again, the men who had also been through divorce kept using the word “crazy” to define their ex-wives.

Why is she crazy? I wondered.

Because she didn’t like you anymore?

Because she got bored?

Because she met someone who made her feel more alive?

Because she felt like you were trying to lock her in a cage, and something told her it was time to break free?

I am not advocating divorce, or a disruption to families. I am only saying that love is a very different thing than ownership, than possession. Love is not something that should require you to give up or change who you are in order to make another person feel secure. Security, as any smart person knows, is an illusion.

When you live in a sick culture, a culture that encourages a human being to fit into a box, perhaps the only sane thing to do is go crazy.

Instead, most of us suffer and cry and anguish and ask mental health providers to give us drugs that make us numb.

Numb is not a way to live. Numb means your body is functioning, but your spirit has died.

Wake her up. Fight for her.

There is no guarantee that you will live to see another day. Absolutely none. And if doing everything other people tell you to do is not working for you, there is another way.

Learn to listen to yourself and what you want. Do you have a dream? Do you have desires? Do you have a body that feels things? None of those are wrong.

Instead, many of us think that working every day at jobs we hate, denying our passions, seeking greater financial wealth, ignoring our suffering, and watching many hours of TV is the way to live.

The culture is sick, but the world is full of amazing people who have hope and fortitude. We are all fighting for our lives, for the precious days we spend here to be meaningful.

In my own life, I have struggled as a sensitive person, a person who feels things deeply. Hurts have nearly washed me away. But despite setbacks, I have continued to rise back up, to adapt, to be true to myself. It is very hard to be true to yourself when everyone has a different idea of who you are, when others prefer to close their eyes and be numb as you pose questions and undergo challenges and face fears and wonder if there is a different way.

And you want to know the truth? I am so tired of fighting.

I am tired of having to defend myself, of being the sole advocate for my happiness, because we all have messed-up ideas of what it means to be happy or to love.

I do not want my children to have to fight like this. I want to pave a way forward so that they feel comfortable being themselves. Not the “self” that everyone else thinks they ought to be, the “self” that follows everyone else’s rules and ends up feeling dead inside.

The “self” who is able to lift up and see God, and know God, and know that there is a special purpose for their lives.

Not everyone has to dream big, or change the world, or do radical things. Plenty of people are just as precious and beautiful taking your money at the grocery store and wishing you a nice day, and going home to their sick grandmother to feed her soup. Those people are no less important than someone like Martin Luther King.

But what if you have something powerful in you, and you keep pushing it down because no one supports it? Isn’t it likely that something like that will result in trauma, will result in pain, will result in anxiety, depression, or an explosion of emotion you can’t contain? Could it be that experiences like that might be telling you something about who you are, rather than suggesting you are inherently bad or wrong and need to be fixed? That perhaps what others call “mental illness” is a perfectly sane reaction to a world gone awry?

So how long are we going to live making other people fit into our definitions of sanity? How long are we going to assume that spending your life dulled and filled with regrets and shame and guilt is going to help anyone, let alone yourself?

Want to hear an amazing thing?

You matter.

You. Matter.

Your life matters.

You are here for a reason.

And maybe that reason is not known to you. Or maybe that reason changes from day to day. But you have a capacity within you that is great and encompassing.

People may judge and threaten you for trying to be yourself, for the fortitude it takes to be fully you—a whole person. In that fight for yourself, you may end up hurting people along the way, even when that is not your intent.

But if you keep pushing down the aliveness of who you are, the beauty of your soul, the fullness of your capacity, you will walk through this world being dead before you have to be. What good does that do?

I want to know.

What good does it do to live like you are dead inside?

Be alive.




Categories: spirituality and faith

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2 replies

  1. We need to be challenged to live. The Bible urges us not to conform to the fads, fantasies, and fibs that push us into a box.


    • i agree! Although some people read the words differently, and they are the ones who don’t like to be challenged. I am observing a lot of bigotry toward a person who doesn’t conform. It is heartbreaking. The only thing to do is help others who suffer. 🙂


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