By: Megan Ludke, DPT
Sometimes I feel like I’m being punished with my mental health struggles.
Yes I still struggle. I promote full recovery and 100% believe that to be true. I am recovered from an eating disorder, social anxiety, depression, and OCD. But I still have PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder).
For 2-10 days before my period, I’m not myself. I cry alot, get angry over little things, feel empty and lost, experience intense anxiety and many times don’t want to be alive.
And sometimes I feel like I’m being punished with the PMDD. I cry out to God about why I’m still struggling, I struggled for so many years. Spent years and years in therapy, support groups, doctors appointments, reading self help books, practicing coping tools, listening to podcasts, diving into the Bible and conquered many of the mental illnesses but PMDD is different. Trickier to treat, long lasting. And I wonder why I’m being punished. Did I do something wrong? Why isn’t God taking this pain away from me? Do I deserve to struggle with suicidal thoughts because the rest of my life is good?
But here’s the truth. God isn’t punishing you or testing you with your mental illness. God does not delight when His children are in pain or feeling hopeless. Our God is a God that sings joyful songs over us (Zephaniah 3:17), that loves us deeply, that knows every hair on our head, that sent His son so that we are never separated from Him, that gives us good gifts, that always welcomes us back into His arms.
Our God does not punish us with mental illness. Your struggle isn’t a result of a lack of faith or bad choices that you’ve made. Mental illnesses are complex biopsychosocial illnesses with many factors that cause them such as altered levels of neurotransmitters, a history of trauma, predisposing personality traits, genetics, sometimes unknown factors, and more.
This world is a fallen place, God designed it to be good, free of evil. Free of sickness and death and mourning. But sin entered this world because God gave us free will, free choice to make our own decisions. Sin has caused the world to become fallen. Sin has caused disasters, illnesses, and death to enter the world that God designed to be good and perfect.
Your struggle is not because of anything that you have done, you don’t deserve to have a mental illness. And speaking to myself with this statement as well, no one deserve to experience suicidal ideation, not one person.
God does promise to be by our sides, to turn everything for good for those that love Him, to wipe away all our tears.
Hold on to the truth today that you are not being punished. The truth that you did nothing to deserve your struggle. Hold on to the truth that God is right there next to you weeping when you weep, rejoicing when you rejoice. God wipes every tear from your eye. God loves loving you. And God is a good father.
The Grace Alliance has a wonderful study that can be done individually or with a small group on mental health recovery from a Biblical perspective.
Zephaniah 3:17- “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
Psalm 34:18- “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”