Mental illness can be a huge deterrent to faith. Depression and anxiety can make you wonder whether God is present; He can feel so far away. Mental illness can be like a wall in your relationship, but it can also present a struggle that will ultimately make your faith stronger.
Faith is so much more than belief. Faith is acting on that belief, and for that reason your mental illness can build your relationship with the Father. The song “Never Alone” by BarlowGirl is such a wonderful representation of what the wall, the struggle, and the ultimate strength can be:
I cry out with no reply
And I can’t feel you by my side
So I hold tight to all I know
You are here
And I’m never alone
Depression is a black hole, and anxiety is an all-encompassing spirit of fear. Neither of these are of God:
For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of strength and of love and of temperance. 2 Timothy 1:7 JUB
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5 NIV
This isn’t to say that your mental illness is some sort of sin; instead, it’s a product of the Fall. God’s presence casts out darkness because He is light. God is not fear or anxiety; He is the comfort from those terrible things. Mental illness provides an opportunity to rely on God, to give Him everything.
So start a prayer journal, or a creative journal, where you give it all up to Him. Every time you have an episode of depression or a panic attack, pull out your journal and hand it all over to Him. When you finish, close the journal and pray over it. It’s no longer your burden to carry because He died to carry it for you.