Mental Health

Divorce

Divorce is a painful subject. That’s why I think I’d better say where I’m coming from up front—my parents were divorced, and someone I love dearly is on the verge of divorce as I write. I’m married, but there were times when I feared we were going to wind up in the courts as well. So there’s that. What do Christians think about divorce? As you know, there’s a huge spectrum of views and practices, ...

Somewhere Between Coffee and Crazy

Sometimes I think I’m crazy. Right now I’m sitting in a coffee shop, with my earbuds and my latte, and I feel quite normal. Today I had the day off work. I slept in, I scrambled eggs, I stopped by a friend’s house, and now I’m here—drinking my latte and feeling normal. But some days, I think I’m crazy. Some days I do things that are so crazy I don’t want to tell you about them. Because I’m embarra...

Thanks, Lexapro!

If I had a list of all of the things my anxiety caused me to avoid over the course of my life, I’d be the owner of one incredibly long list. It’d probably be more of a scroll, really. I’m talking about enough paper to wallpaper a house, or wrap a million Christmas presents. Enough paper to craft a flock of paper mache birds large enough to block out the sun. Enough paper to make a fleet of paper a...

Mental Health

What do Christians think about mental illness? There are a lot of stereotypes out there, unfortunately. You can find people, Christian or not, who have TERRIBLE ideas like these: Mental illness is not real. Anybody who claims to have it just needs to try harder (take more vitamins, put on a happy face, get out of the house—fill in the obnoxious advice of your choice); Mental illness is the same th...

Pornography

Have you ever come across pornography on the internet when you weren’t looking for it? You’re not alone. Even 70+% of teenagers encounter porn online by accident. The internet’s anonymity and accessibility has led to a flood of pornographic production and consumption in our society. In 2001, it’s estimated that there were 70,000 porn websites; by 2005, there were 4.2 million. More pornographic vid...

Forgiveness is for ordinary people.

Them. And us. That’s how we sometimes think about forgiveness, isn’t it? Jesus looked down from the cross and forgave his tormentors.  Pope John Paul II forgave his would-be assassin.  A father of a child killed in the Sandy Hook massacre offered forgiveness to the families of the killer within hours of the killings.  Mothers have been known to pardon the men who shot their sons. As a writer, I co...

Dear Suicidal Me

Dear Suicidal Me, Hi there. Remember me? I’m the one you worked so hard to maintain, the one you always wanted to be. All those hours at the gym, the yoga, the Psalms, the positive self talk when everything seemed wrong . . . But it failed. Because now you’re you. You look in the mirror and wish you could see a glimpse of me too. But you fail. You just see you. All those hours at counseling, the f...

Suicide’s impact is broad. And our understanding is narrow.

From the moment she walked into my classroom, I saw a little bit too much of myself in her. She was an introverted junior transfer, struggling to find a place for herself in a new school, in a new state. Over the course of the first semester, I got to know her through her writing and she frequented my classroom after school. While I have several former students who I remain close to, I normally tr...

I’m a Pastor and I Need Counseling

I walked in and there she was. A college student from the church I serve. I couldn’t turn around. I couldn’t un-commit. I could have lied about why I was there, but that’s not ethical (right?). I was caught red-handed—seeing my professional counselor. For the last decade or so, I’ve seen a professional counselor off-and-on. Sometimes, it’s been for no special reason. Other times, in the midst of a...

My First Trip to a Counselor

“You know there are people you can talk to about this, right?” My first instinct was to tell my mother, rather vehemently, that I was NOT crazy. I had a loving family, great friends, and a rock solid Christian faith. I was also 26, living in a small town with very few local friends, and spending the majority of my time working.  Overworking, really. I was definitely having a bit of a quarter life ...

When My Chest Caves In

Sometimes my chest caves in on itself. My lungs collapse. My ribs crush together with the force of two vehicles colliding, metal on metal screeching as it bends and breaks. My heart quivers and explodes. Instead of debris, I am left with a hole. I have anxiety. I am still not exactly sure what that means. Is my anxiety situational? Am I simply responding to the stress of “adulting”,  loss of a job...

Anxiety

Never been anxious? Please share your secret with humanity. Anxiety is a part of life for most people.  At some level, we’ve all probably felt anxious about something: finding love, affording life, a future without our loved ones, deadlines, change—the list goes on, endlessly! Anxiety is a complex issue that affects people in different forms and with different levels of severity. It can look like ...

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