The Path to Mental Wellness
Caring for Yourself Mentally – Part 3
There are four stages that create an environment for a person to remain plagued with mental health symptoms like stress, anxiety, and depression. Once a person enters stage one and remains there, the next stages are sure to follow. Let’s jump right in so that you can see how these stages progress and end in continued poor mental health.
- Loss of Care and Concern
“Be careful that you never allow your hearts to grow cold.” 
Never allow your heart to grow cold. What this means is never allow yourself to get to a place where you stop caring. Once you begin to give up, give in, and stop caring, you have now begun to enter the progressions that lead to poor mental health. This impacts all areas of a person’s life from home, career, social interactions, faith, to every relationship. For example, when a person grows cold in their marriage, it means they no longer care and are on the path to giving up. This path does not lead back to caring or remaining faithful. Thus, it ends in not only a bad marriage, but the stresses and mental hardship that comes with it.
- Loss of Objectivity or Awareness
“Be careful that you are not caught off guard.” 
In other words, be aware. When we get caught off guard or live with the mindset that this could never happen to us, we have now opened ourselves to continue further down the progressions to poorer mental health. In fact, this is seen in a couple dynamics: 1) neglect for the known situation or 2) surprise at its occurrence. When you are not aware and don’t make yourself aware of what is happening in these progressions, the result is continuing down the path and sinking deeper into the stages which leads to progressively worse mental health.
- Obsessive Use of Substances or Practicing Bad Habits
“Your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and the worries of this life.” 
Most people would never admit, and most would deny that he or she has a dependence on substances like drugs or alcohol. While one may not be an alcoholic, if there is an obsessive use of these substances it is an indication that this person is in the progressions that lead to poor mental health. For this lesson, I don’t have to work hard to sell you on this concept because we all know people who are in each of the various stages. When you need a drink at the end of the day, it is because the worries of life have gotten to you. It also means that one is beyond the first two stages. The use of substances and bad habits (like sexual immorality) is a person’s way to detach from the things that are causing the problems in the first place without addressing the issues that aren’t going anywhere.
- Blinded from the Root Cause
“that day will come upon you suddenly like a trap.” 
These stages are a trap that once initiated are hard to break and get out of. For example, pornography, once a person begins to indulge, it is hard for a person to stop and let go. Once a person begins to use drugs to cope, then it is just that much harder for a person to say no. Once you get beyond stage three, you have fallen into a trap that will require help to get out of. The worst part about it is that you still have the problems in your life that you need to get rid of that lead to such worries.
How do we prevent these stages, slow them down, stop them, and reverse what leads to the progressions towards poor mental health? In the mental world, they call it preventative maintenance. If you know that it exists and impacts the majority, then you need to at least be aware. For example, if you know that the flu exists, be aware otherwise getting it will catch you off guard.
First of all, don’t allow your heart to grow cold. Live and maintain a life of purpose and passion. You see when you do this, you stop the process from moving any further. As I mentioned, be aware, alert, and prepared. Have people in your life that will know and will help you stop a bad habit from forming or keep you from making a poor decision. Lastly, get help if you know you need help. Otherwise, you can be guaranteed that your mental health will remain poor and even worsen.
Question: what stage of the progression towards poor mental health are you on?
 Luke 21:34 TPT, Bible.com, accessed October 25, 2023, https://www.bible.com/bible/1849/LUK.21.34.TPT
All Scripture references used by permission, see our Scripture copyrights.