A sense of community is something that we all long for, even outside of mental illness and recovery. Finding the people we can depend on for support and to lean on is vital for any of us navigating life’s many twists and turns. That community can come in many shapes and forms; it can be a family, a sports team, or, for some of us, a church. Something that is taught a lot in the church is the community. They talk about coming together to do good, to worship, and to help each other. Regardless of what your views on it may be, there is truth to the preaching of the community. While a lot of the community they talk about is more to do with God and faith, about what the Bible says, churches are starting to talk more about mental health. As it is with society in general, there are more conversations being had about helping those who struggle with it. With these conversations comes a need to understand; there will be a lot of misconceptions and stigmas that need to be overcome. As earnest and well-intentioned they may be, some people just don’t know enough to spread the proper awareness. That’s where we can help.
If you are someone belonging to a community of faith, you can be a source of information and help. You can share your story to help better that community for everyone involved. You don’t need to start off in front of an entire congregation; begin by speaking privately with a pastor or religious leader. Start the conversation in a one-on-one meeting and help build that foundation of proper information and healthy messages. From there, you can build up to talking to a small support group within the community, and eventually, speaking in front of a congregation. You can spread your message to others, detailing your experiences in challenges as someone of faith who has experienced these things. By opening up about your experience, you will not only help the community better understand mental illness, but you can help encourage others who are silently suffering. You can set the example they need to speak up for themselves and get the help they need. It’s an empowering feeling for them, and you can be the source of that; you can be the symbol they need to finally take that step.
A Community of Faith
A faith-based community can be a huge source of support for someone, especially one that is helped by you and your experiences. There are so many inherent qualities within the community that can provide a healthy relief to your struggles. You can pray and meditate, allowing yourself to find a place of calm and comfort. Prayer, normally, is meant to bring a sense of relief and peace, so why not use it for this situation as well? A church can offer services outside of just normal services as well; youth group, sports activities, and volunteer work can provide a place for people to distract themselves from their problems. It allows them to engage in something that can take their focus off of their own head and bring them into a place of being together with other people. Finally, the connection that you share with the community can be paramount to helping you reach recovery. Connecting with someone offers a path to understanding them and don’t we all want that in these situations? We are looking for people to understand us and accept us for our struggles. If your community is truly worthy of being based in faith, that’s what they can do. The community can offer you a place where people already know you and have that connection to you; it is only natural for them to listen to you now. Of course, as it is with any group, there is the chance that you may feel alienated by the group; they may not respond to it the way that you hope for. We won’t tell you that it’s okay but we will say you can be. If they don’t accept or welcome you for you, then it is a sign to find a group that will. Don’t let it deter you from your faith or desire to find a support system within it. Unfortunately, we can’t change everyone and we have to know when to walk away.
Our faith can help bring us so much comfort and support, and we can do a lot to help bring the right information into these circles. You can help others learn and feel safe, you can create a place of comfort for everyone involved, and you can engage with people so that everyone can understand. We can learn to lean on others and find the comfort we need in our faith, and not be deterred by what knowledge may not be known. It is within our ability to bring about the change we want to see, and it can start with a simple prayer.
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528 or [email protected]