On the show today we are continuing a series honoring Mental Awareness month and talking about anxiety and depression.
The goal this month is to build awareness of different mental illnesses. We are going to be doing some myth-busting and I want to highlight some incredible people who have lived experiences but have taken what was some of the hardest and darkest moments of their life and now are using them to equip and strengthen others.
And today we get to hear from the amazing Caris Snider she is a ministry leader, and author and has lived experience with depression and anxiety!
Building awareness – Anxiety
Depression and anxiety can affect anybody, Christians, children, seniors, corporate leaders and missionaries.
An individual’s experience of anxiety or depression is unique to them, with varying severity, episodes, experiences, triggers, and causes therefore, as caregivers and ministry leaders try to avoid making assumptions.
If someone is struggling with anxiety, there may be specific triggers – such as in phobias – or a generally heightened sense of feeling anxious and weighed down by worry.
Then there are panic attacks. These are moments when powerful physical symptoms are triggered by anxiety. Symptoms such as sweating, chest pain or dizziness are scary and cause people to think something serious may be happening (a heart attack, for instance) or about to happen (perhaps fainting, or being sick). This sparks more anxiety, making the physical symptoms worse.
Both anxiety and depression can be crippling. Making is so people are unable to get out of bed, follow instructions, and engage in social activities.
The good news is that both anxiety and depression are treatable.
The most common treatment options for depression and anxiety are a combination of approaches including cognitive-behavioral therapy and relaxation techniques. Cognitive behavior therapy is just a fancy word for a therapy method that looks at how someone’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are linked and working towards shifting or improving one area because the positive impacts are felt in other areas.
Those who have a diagnosis of bipolar use similar treatments that other disorders require and have outcomes while they are positive for most people they do vary from person to person. The most common forms of treatment are Medication and counseling.
Myths about anxiety and depression
- It’s obvious when someone has anxiety or depression
Although anxiety and depression can be extremely debilitating for some, it’s often not noticeable to people around them. Having anxiety doesn’t mean you cont’ leave your house or depression and get out of bed.
Thousands of people are working, going to school, leading, and worshiping while struggling with racing thoughts, constant worry, and questioning their worth and value.
These people are working very hard to live their daily lives, and have developed coping strategies to continue with responsibilities.
2. Anxiety and depression can be prayed away or go away on it’s own.
And while I am not denying that God can and does continue to do miracles to heal people from anxiety and depression. It is often just that a miracle.
Those who have recovered from anxiety and depression and yes recovery is possible have worked very hard in therapy and on their own to challenge thoughts, beliefs, and feelings and replace them with healthy messages. It often takes years, a lifetime and for some, it never happens.
Mental health isn’t a logical disorder where you can say do these 4 things and you will see a full recovery. People are working through decades of patterns of thoughts and beliefs that you are trying to undo. That is in addition to finding the balance in rectifying the brain chemistry issue.
God has the capacity to heal, but by no means does someone’s struggle with anxiety or depression reflects a person’s faith, just as someone’s struggle with diabetes or heart disease dictates someone’s faith journey.
If you don’t know where to start in talking about Mental Health at your church grab the MentalHealthSunday.com resource
In collaboration with other mission-minded organizations, I’m excited to launch the Mental Health Sunday resource Pack. This is an all-in-one resource that gives you everything you need to promote, prepare, and present a message on mental health and even continue the conversation with engagement strategies.
This resource is free to download, with a premium version available that allows you to customize all the graphics for your church.
This resource allows you to overcome these barriers by giving you sermon notes, research tools, graphics, a 7-day devotional and a small group curriculum for you to draw from in creating your message.
- Bullying in Caris’ early years impacted Caris’ confidence to try new things or be willing to fail.
- Caris avoided any situations where rejection might happen and grew up being fearful
- Youth leaders saw Caris’ leadership qualities and encouraged her to step out into leadership positions
- Experienced depression and anxiety as an adult but kept it hidden
While a leader, when others went to Caris for support in their mental health struggles she would tell them to pray harder.
- Caris’s opinion of those who struggle was they must not be working hard enough
- When Caris started to struggle herself, she felt useless, suicidal, and ashamed.
- God reminded Caris that she has a purpose, and the fact that she is struggling doesn’t diminish His love.
- Was worried that people would reject her and was afraid to see the real me
Some things are hard, and we are needing to work through it
- God can use everything, even your struggles.
- God is okay with your ugly parts
- God can use everything to benefit you.
- Caris describes her learning was that it allowed her to see others with compassion
Charis’ recovery Journey
- Help is not a four-letter word
- Caris spoke with her doctor and took her support and advice to get further help.
- Therapy was a huge release and being honest without someone shaming her was refreshing
- Caris noticed that the medications began to work and she was finding opportunities for fun in her life.
- When Caris shared that she struggled with others they find found hope and comfort
Caris began to share her story in conferences and women’s groups.
- Galatians 6:2 “Bear on another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
- The more she spoke the more people would come to her and say that they had/have the same struggles.
- Struggles don’t disqualify you from leadership
- We can be honest with where we are at, he already knows.
About Anxiety Elephants
- 31 day devotional for Christians who struggle with anxiety and depression
- Developed a tween (ages 8-12) 90 devotional
- Preparing and equipping our kids for the battle of life
CONNECT WITH CARIS SNIDER
CONNECT WITH HOPE MADE STRONG
Join the Church Mental Health Facebook Group! In the Facebook group, we chat about how to care for others, what are your challenges as well as share tons of resources. This is a great community of pastors, clinicians, and those with lived experience and we want to get to know you.