Faith was and is an important part of my recovery. I believe my God is a loving and forgiving God, and on my darkest days I need that. Moreover, the sense of community I get from church is extremely important to combating my feelings of isolation. But that is just me. Others, even those with strong faiths, don’t always get the same therapeutic effect from their experience with faith.
And I understand why. When you don’t believe in yourself it is hard to believe in anything else. And when you add in the stigma that is pushed by too many people, that mental illness is somehow a failure of faith, it can be an even greater turn off. I’ve had people at church tell me that since God made me and God accepts me, I should just accept myself, as if it is that easy. I know these people mean well, but many have not lived with mental illnesses themselves, so it is hard for them to understand why faith might not be the answer for everyone. If faith is the most important thing to them, it may be hard to understand that mental illness isn’t a failure of faith. Let me repeat that, an individual’s struggle with mental health issues has nothing to do with the strength of their faith. Faith can certainly help, but it helps in different ways, and it isn’t for everyone. In other words, actual results may vary.
So if you are looking for other ways to ease the struggle of living with mental illness, consider faith, but also don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work for you. Have a little faith, or don’t, just as long as you find something, anything, that works for you. Because I promise you there are many tools available to help you in your fight against mental illness.