He has led me into darkness, shutting out all light. He has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long. He has made my skin and flesh grow old. He has broken my bones. He has besieged and surrounded me with anguish and distress.
Peace has been stripped away, and I have forgotten what prosperity is. I cry out, “My splendor is gone! Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost!”
Within society and the church, there is often a stigma attached to mental illness. Many believe it is a punishment from God, caused by some sin or lack of faith. However, mental illness is a struggle some people face, like a physical illness. In fact, many personalities in the Bible – some “giants of the faith” – experienced mental illness, often in the forms of anxiety and depression.
Jeremiah the prophet struggled with anxiety and depression, often despairing of his life. He gave into the negative self-talk, or “ruminating” over negative things, that most of us do at some point, causing him to feel lost and overwhelmed, even abandoned by God. Yet, his experiences and struggles didn’t disqualify him from serving God!
Ask God to show you in what ways you may judge others or yourself for experiencing anxiety, depression, or other forms of mental illness. Ask him to help you recognize his love for you as you struggle with anxiety and depression and to know he will use your life for his purposes.