Archive for the ‘Mental Health’ Category

Free from Anxiety   Leave a comment

Young Woman Reading and Studying.The Christian Science Church – a part of the Canberra community.  Members share testimonies and talk about their lives as Christian Scientists. 

This article, Free from Anxiety, is by Jen who is a member of the Christian Science Church in Canberra.  She describes how a change of thinking freed her from constant anxiety and gave her a sense of peace and harmony.

I love being a Christian Scientist, and diving deep into health, spirituality and identity, but it can be hard challenging ideas that are accepted as fact by the wider community.  Spiritual healing is seen as impractical and ineffective, and it is rare that I tell people that I rely on prayer when I am ill or injured. This is because it is assumed that I pray to a God who would create me capable of being in pain and then sometimes decides to award me a miracle and heal me.

For me, God is a creative, spiritual force that is completely good.   As Christian Scientists, we strive to look past sin, suffering and disease, and understand ourselves as primarily spiritual- as the representation of a higher creative power.  In asserting our spiritual identities, and understanding a higher creation, we unburden ourselves of thoughts that limit us to be inherently flawed and suffering.  As Mary Baker Eddy puts it, ‘Christian Science is the law of Truth, that heals the sick on the basis of the One Mind, Or God’ (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, page 482).  Instead of accepting that there is something ‘wrong’ with me, I turn my mind to spiritual truths, namely that I am primarily spiritual and free from ideas of pain or suffering.

I was healed from anxiety this year, and have felt a lightness and freedom.  I had accepted a very limited view of myself – I focused on the negatives in my life, and tried to physically control the environment around me to feel safe and secure in myself.  This started with my tendency to hide parts of myself that I feared other people would reject, and did everything I could to meet the expectations of those around me in school, during my gap year and later at university.  This obsession with control intensified when I lived in Indonesia, where I was constantly harassed by men in the streets and was actually assaulted at one point during my time there.  I learned to prepare for the worst case scenario, and was uptight and fearful.  This affected my personal life – I was scared that people would find out things about me that they might disapprove of, and I was very distrustful of new people, especially men.

I had a healing when I realised that the opposite of anxiety is to expect good.  This did not mean putting my head in the sand and pretending that nothing was wrong, but rather turning away from a limited understanding of myself and the world and focusing on spiritual facts.  A God that is all good could not create me fearful and vulnerable, and has not assigned me a future of fear and negativity in order to ‘test’ me.  Slowly, I concentrated on correcting fearful thoughts with an expectation of good, and gauging whether ideas coming to me were affirming my identity as a spiritual being or sending me into a negative spiral.  The strength I gained by trusting God has led me to be more open with friends and family, to forgive the men in Indonesia who seemed to threaten my safety, and to be relaxed in accepting opportunities that have opened up a whole new world for me.  I am so grateful for my background in Christian Science, and have used it as a practical tool in gaining peace and harmony in my everyday life.

To read more testimonies of healing shared by members of the Christian Science Church in Canberra click on the archive headings on the left for May and June 2016.

Just Say ‘No!’ to Decline   Leave a comment

shutterstock_95565325As a young man I was in the Royal Indian Army. I did many daring deeds in the Second World War. I traveled to many countries. I married, and my wife and children were a joy to me. I took great pleasure in life. But many years later, the sense of fulfillment I’d enjoyed began to fade. I looked at my physical condition and was tempted to believe that I’d become old and my life was declining. I questioned, “What is life?” “What is my life?” “Can the accumulation of a certain number of years constitute a declining status?”

My search continued for quite some time, several years in fact. I became severely depressed and felt empty and tired. But as I deepened my study of Christian Science and explored its teachings about the spiritual basis of life, I was gradually able to shed those depressed feelings.  Mrs. Eddy said in Science and Health, “The measurement of life by solar years robs youth and gives ugliness to age” (p. 246). …

These truths alerted me to the error of seeing myself circumscribed by a count of years. Read more

In this article, Just Say ‘No!’ to Decline, David Robert Ramaji, describes his personal journey out of depression over a sense of the finiteness of life into a deeper understanding of his own permanent spiritual existence which brought joy and a renewed satisfaction.  The article was first published in the Christian Science Sentinel and is now available on JHS-online.

What it Means to Me to be a Christian Scientist   Leave a comment

The Christian Science Church – a part of the Canberra community.  Members share testimonies and talk about their lives as Christian Scientists. 

Playing GuitarMy name is Jen and I am a member of the Christian Science Church in Canberra.  I love learning about other people’s religions – I hope that some of you will love learning about mine.

Although Christian Science is very much based on what Jesus taught us, I often describe it to atheist and agnostic friends as a blend of Buddhism and Quantum Physics.  This is because it has a focus on overcoming a material view of the world, and understanding God as a spiritual life force.  It also presents us with a set of rules that we can use to understand God and His relation to man:  spiritual laws that are the basis of reality.

So what does this mean for me, as a Christian Scientist?  It means that I work every day to bring spirituality into my experience, and have seen healing as a result.  I lived in Indonesia for a year and attracted a lot of attention as a fair-haired, blue-eyed foreigner.  I developed anxiety during my time there due to the constant staring, catcalling and sexual harassment.  When I came home to Australia, I struggled to shake the anxiety, which made me incredibly tense, neurotic and irritable.  It took me a couple of years of prayer to overcome my anxiety:  it was clear that I was safe, but I was facing mental suggestions that I should hold onto fear to protect myself.

I had the choice of turning to a powerful God who created me free of fear, to a God who made me feel unsafe and fearful, or to no God at all.  I chose the first, as praying to know that I am the spiritual creation of a loving God has brought me healing in the past.  I had a major light-bulb moment in this case when I realized that the opposite of anxiety is expecting good.  I replaced thoughts of fear and anxiety with thoughts of safety and optimism, knowing that an All-Powerful God would always protect His creation.  This allowed me to free my thought from fear, and I have felt relaxed and protected ever since.

This is a testimony of how I understand God and myself, and also of how I use Christian Science prayer in facing the challenges in my life.  I use the laws that Jesus taught us to overcome limited views of myself, and rid myself of fear in living a peaceful life.

Peace of Mind Restored   Leave a comment

The Christian Science Church – a part of the Canberra community.  Members share testimonies and talk about their lives as Christian Scientists. 

$ dreamstime_6359829This article, Peace of Mind Restored, is shared anonymously by a member of the Christian Science Church in Canberra.  In it the writer tells of his triumph over a debilitating medically diagnosed mental health condition.

As with many others it has been a journey for me to find, accept and gain an understanding of Christian Science.

For almost ten years I have relied entirely on Christian Science to overcome all medical problems. No pills, medicines or drugs of any kind – purely and only Christian Science.

All my life prior to this period I had relied on traditional medicines and doctors.  I had been diagnosed with manic depression and mild schizophrenia with associated suicidal thoughts and tendencies.  General practitioners, psychiatrists and psychologists had been consulted.  I had close to two decades of changing medications and altering dosages, and yet nothing really changed.  Homeopathy and hypnosis had even been tried.  I just thought this was the way it was and would continue to be.

After an attempted suicide (obviously unsuccessful) I had a stint in hospital and it was there that an event occurred that changed my life:  The psychiatrist at the hospital told my wife, ‘there is nothing we can do to stop the suicide attempts; he will do it again; one day he will succeed’.  This was the turning point in my life.  I knew I had few options so I turned to Christian Science and found a firm fundamental premise upon which to expand my life.

Since turning to Christian Science and studying the text Science and Health with key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy I have been healthier both physically and mentally.  My family report that I am calmer, happier and kinder.  I can truly agree with Timothy in the Bible when he says: God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (II Timothy 1: 7).

As I said previously:  no medicines, formulas or pills for almost ten years.  The constant in this time has been Christian Science and the text, Science and Health with key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.  It was a journey to get to that point and the time was right for me.

If You Look in the Right Place   Leave a comment

shutterstock_136632281If you’re looking for an object, and you look all over your house, search in your car, and retrace your steps, but you don’t look where the object is, you will not find it. That seems plain enough, but what about when you’re looking for peace, happiness, security, supply, companionship, purpose, meaning, joy, etc.? We often look to people, to places, to money, to jobs, and to our own prowess for fulfillment. Yet we’re simply not looking in the right places. …New SH (2)

During my high school years, … I became more and more depressed and resigned to the fact that I would never find happiness or peace or truth, that there was no meaning to our existence. I knew real meaning was not in the material things we have or do, or even in the people we love. I knew it had to be more, something deep within but bigger than us. Yet I could not find it. … Read more …

This article, If You Look in the Right Place by Sue Oaks, was originally published in the Christian Science Sentinel.  It is currently available on JHS-online.  In it Sue describes how she overcame severe depression and thoughts of suicide by reading Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy and pondering on and using the ideas it presents.

Click here to buy a copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.

I Refuse to Choose Insanity   Leave a comment

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Ginny’s story …

… For years, I had mulled over the thought that I had a multiple personality and did not know if there even was a “real” me. Medically, I had been diagnosed as manic-depressive, and I had already worked up a suicide plan that would look like an accident. … Read more …

In this article, I Refuse to Choose Insanity, which was originally published in the Christian Science Sentinel, Ginny Nilsen explains how her life was restored by her gradual awakening to her true spiritual identity.  This spiritual shift in perspective brought lasting peace, happiness and a deeper sense of satisfaction.

The Essential Ingredient for Youth Mental Health   Leave a comment

$ dreamstime_5971679The years between 15-25 are frequently a time of questioning and great discovery, but like many others I found them difficult. I had to deal with chronic disease, failure in my chosen career, a persistent lack of self-worth along with indecision about an alternative career path, and loneliness.

Although never diagnosed, a psychologist would probably have called me depressed.

However, along the rugged path to recovering my childhood inner contentment I found that spiritual activities like prayer, research into some of the world’s most meaningful spiritual writings and participating in church were keeping me sane, mentally motivated, and connected to others in a nurturing environment.

The refocus on unselfish activities gave me a feeling of self-worth again and also contributed to a hopefulness that things would get better. In time, it opened up previously unknown pathways to fulfillment.

Rather than restricting me or quashing my critical thinking, my adolescent research into the spiritual nature of mental and physical health made me realise that what I needed all along was to put into daily practice a growing understanding of my radically awesome relationship to the Divine Being.

To the degree that I acknowledged it, I found that I could actually experience divine Love expressing kindness and unselfishness in me; the divine Mind reflecting intelligence and wisdom in me; the divine Life demonstrating health and wellbeing in me; and so on (ideas from Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy).

Things started to go right for me again. You could say that I saw “the wilderness and desert begin to blossom as the rose”, an image so beautifully depicted in the Bible.

Perhaps not surprisingly, I ended up more consistently in the right head space with a much better view of myself – and was probably a lot more likeable, as well!

A 2008 study published in Australian Family Physician and written by Dr Craig Hassed, Faculty of Medicine at Monash University in Melbourne, reported that “Spirituality is an important determinant of physical, emotional and social health…”

When commenting on escalating trends in youth mental illness his study suggests that “there may be too little attention being given to the ‘protective factors’ against mental illness, of which, particularly for adolescents, are connectedness and having a spiritual or religious dimension to one’s life” (Hassed, The role of spirituality in medicine, 2008).

It’s heartening to learn that spirituality is acknowledged as central to youth mental health by a growing number of psychologists.

It seems to me that clinicians need to speak to the community more about the benefits of spirituality in the treatment of anxiety and depression, and not just in young people, but for everyone.

A spiritual dimension to life will undoubtedly assist you, whether you’re young or old, as you seek (and find) a better, healthier and happier you. That would be the real you!

This article, by Kay Stroud, has been published in the Sunshine Coast Daily, Lismore Northern Star and Bundaberg News Mail.  Kay is a freelance writer focussing on the undeniable connection between our thinking and our health. 

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