Understanding Mental Wounds
A Guide to Addressing Mental Health in Christian Circles – Part 3
What are some things that impede good mental health? What are things that impact good mental health? Last question, what impacts your mental health?
In our discussions using these questions, what we have determined are the three main areas that people identify as potential candidates for mental health impacts. Those areas are labels, selfishness, and thoughts. In order to see how these areas work to impact mental health, we will need to discuss them in more detail.
Labels are words and names created to identify behaviors or patterns of behaviors. These invented terms however get placed on people. Instead of being an adjective of one’s behavior, it becomes an identity, a label like a name tag.
Let me give you an example to help you understand. It’s like asking a person who you are and they say I am an engineer. That’s not true. That’s what a person does; it is not who they are. People are going around saying they have ADHD, LD, Dyxlexic, etc. These are words that are meant to help identify behaviors. They were never meant to be labels to limit a person.
In the Christian community, we tend to label people by their “demons.” I heard it said recently of a person using these words, “that’s my demon.” Who in the world will 1) admit to having a “demon” and 2) lay claims on a “demon.?” They identified a problem that has been difficult to shake and owned their “demon.”
A demon is another form of labeling. While you might have an issue, that issue is not who you are, but rather what you have done or in this case continue to do. You are not your “demon.” In fact, the only action we should take in response to a demon is to cast that demon out!
In the church-community, we have other terms we use like “evil spirits or unclean spirits.” Allow me to insert this here. You need to know that everything is spiritual. You can’t separate you from your spirit. BTW – there is a term for that and it is called death.
Allow me to illustrate. When a person says they were talking to themselves, what do you think that means? For example, your brain tells your heart to beat without you doing so. Your brain can also tell your arm to move and at the same time you can say to yourself why am I raising my arm? Who is that speaking? It’s not your brain, it is your spirit. Keep that in the back of your head for a minute. Your spirit is impacted by other spirits, whether good (Godly) or evil. The question is do you know the difference?
People can be labeled by the spiritual influences that dominate them.
This one is not as obvious, but selfishness produces poor mental health. First, in order to understand it, we must define it. Selfishness is the opposite of love. Each and everyone of us were created to live in love, live out of love, live through love and live by love. This is what God is  and brings to our lives. Let’s go a step further. Living without love produces mental health challenges like stress, anxiety, worry and so forth which can lead to increased mental health challenges when it compounds. The question we should be asking now is, how am I living without love and what does that look like.
Living without love looks like this.
1 – A person lacks patience.
2 – A person is not kind.
3 – A person is not satisfied with what he or she has.
4 – A person is not concerned with but one person, herself or himself.
5 – A person makes their own concerns/beliefs the center of the world.
6 – A person is rude.
7 – A person demands having his or her own way.
8 – A person is easily angered.
9 – A person keeps score of when wronged.
10 – A person does what comes instinctually.
11- A person believes lies over truth.
12 – A person doesn’t seek emotional or mental safety.
13 – A person distrusts first.
14 – A person looks for the worst in others.
15 – A person quits.
16 – A person lives with failure.
When you operate like this, the product is poor or degrading mental health.
The last area is that of thoughts. Our thoughts make our reality. If we inwardly have negative thoughts of ourselves, outwardly we will produce negative outcomes. The battleground for our mental health lies in our thoughts. You chose to have negative thoughts such as embarrassment or sadness. No differently as you can choose not to be embarrassed or choose to be happy. Your thoughts are your choice.
There’s a book that I love called “Welcome the Rain.” It provides two viewpoints on how a person can see the impacts of when it rains. In other words, two different people can view the same event in different ways. Some view it as a problem while others view it as life giving. The question is how are you choosing to see it? Where do your thoughts take you?
These three areas (labels, selfishness, and thoughts) are all areas that can produce mental injuries.
How do we handle mental injuries?
Like a physical injury, how do we handle the mental/emotional injuries we have? Are you ignoring the injury? Do you know the severity of your injuries? In order to deal with mental injuries, one must be able to identify a problem. Once we can identify a problem, next we can take action on it.
Pamela, my wife, had swelling on her knee and she could not seem to get it to heal. What she didn’t consider at the time, was what was causing her injury. After taking a step back and pushing through for weeks, she decided to see a physician and came to find out it was her new exercise regimen that was creating and perpetuating the injury. In the same way, we are dealing with mental symptoms that go undiagnosed and treated. We’ve been living with mental injuries that have been self-inflicted and perpetuated.
I hope that something in one of the three areas triggered something for you. Like Pamela who was limping from time to time, you might be mentally limping and don’t have to. It is time to simply evaluate the things that could be impacting our mental health. What labels are we carrying with us? In what ways are we living without love that is creating mental health challenges for us? Where are our thoughts taking us that are not healthy? In order to go to the next level with our mental fitness, these questions must be answered.
Question: Of the three areas (labels, selfishness, and thoughts) which areas would you say you need to work on and why?