Corona, Christians and Mental Health

By: Katherine Abraham

By: Katherine Abraham

This year long pandemic has made us re-encounter with that part of our lives that we most often tend to brush under the carpet, yes, mental health. It’s a globally faced issue among varied age groups be it the young kids or the elderly folks especially in a country like ours where it is magnified and treated as an extremely narrow concept to an extent that even when an individual visits a psychologist, he gets immediately judged for it.

This pandemic has forced us to sit inside our houses in order to protect our lives. But one thing that has definitely been triggered is the need for more psychological help. And we have enough reasons for it to be triggered such as the 24. 7 toxic news, increasing death tolls and above all seeing people in pain including some of our own. Moreover, there’s too much information out there that one has to be careful of what he chooses to consume. Hence, more people have started to develop psychological disorders. One could have never thought that something like a virus would pop out of nowhere and take such a pathetic toll on our mental wellbeing.

mental health

Before we move any further, what do we mean by mental health? It basically comprises of how you react to certain things and situations around you, what kind of thought patterns do you experience when sitting free and so on. This not only affects people around us but also our own outlook towards ourselves, it has a direct impact on our self- esteem. Certain factors that largely contribute to it are- what kind of people, ambience are you surrounded by, what kind of childhood you have had, your upbringing. Just like we feed our body nutritious food to keep it alive and healthy, we go to gym, swimming, all sorts of physical activities in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and look toned, we need to feed our brain too the right food to keep it alive and kicking or else it becomes as good as an unused one. One has to make sure to input constructive and positive stuff rather than something that would trigger your grey side. Especially in today’s world of rat race where most of them are running with their blinders on to reach absolutely nowhere but to just prove their supremacy and seek validation in their counter- part’s eyes. And here is the most fascinating part of it, even if one does that successfully yet he finds himself in an emotional turmoil. Because every time we make a deliberate effort to confirm to the worldly pattern, we are bound to suffer its ill consequences. If this is the general scenario, imagine the situation after covid has entered our lives. 

It’s always mind over body. That is the very crux of the fact that whenever one experiences any sort of mental trauma, it directly affects our physiological and behavioural patterns. This pandemic has compelled us to stay indoors and hence, which obviously leaves us with the obvious entertainment tool that is our mobile phones. The world has now become a global village, we are just a click away and everything is available right on your palm. Definitely mobile phones have contributed tremendously to our lives but if used in an appropriate amount or else its misuse is something very destructive to the human mind. And as previously mentioned, people we spend most of our time with matters a lot as they majorly shape our subconscious fears and worries. When a child enters teenage or attains puberty, the child goes through a lot. It becomes very challenging for him to strike a balance between the hormonal changes he is going through and the circumstances around him. Thus, it is very paramount that in this particular stage of a child, he’s parents, peers and especially the teachers have to become more receptive to the changes rather than just bashing them because it is even more confusing for them to figure out than it is for us. One has to deal with failures, heart breaks and fights in a very responsible manner at this specific stage to avoid any unnecessary mental stress which can be done with the help of counsellors as well. One of the prime reasons that a lot of youngsters have lately been experiencing clinical depression. 

But the question here is how has a Christian maintained his and kith and kin’s mental health throughout these trying times of covid and also during such special occasions of teenage. We proudly say that we are Passover protected but do we actually claim our power or do we give in and choose to be on the struggle bus? Ask yourself. Few days back, I received a call from a friend of mine, disheartened. She said that she unfortunately lost her job in the middle of the pandemic and how her family had changed their behaviour towards her to being abusive. She was shell shocked and disturbed at the same time that her family had a very fair-weathered attitude towards her. She was left all alone emotionally when she needed her family the most to boost her morale. Another prominent example that I recently came across is of a young teenager who called me up and told how her parents couldn’t resolve their personal issues which started taking a toll on her mental state. She had to experience those fights which she is not even a part of which made her hit the rock bottom and question her very own existence. She in fact went on to say that she does not have a will to live anymore. Imagine such a colossal statement from such a young teenager who has just started her life. This clearly explains the level to which one might get mentally tormented owing to their ambience. We speak certain harsh things and completely forget about what impact it creates on the opposite person’s mind and heart and how long it exists. I absolutely empathize with these mistakes but do we make a deliberate choice to take charge of the situation by saying a simple sorry so that the person feels a bit better. How do we preserve our mental health as Christians? Why do we often tend to forget that we have a book that encompasses all the sensitive and least spoken topics including their solutions? Why as Christians, we take it for granted? It’s the biggest benchmark for a Christian. Philippians 4:6 says, be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and petition by thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. We have 168 hours in a week, how many hours have you spent with the Lord discussing your problems? That one hour that you save for sabbath or Sunday service?  Is that enough as Christians? What about the other 167 hours of the week? Isn’t it fair weathered to give only that particular time of your schedule that you feel is not occupied by your social commitments? Why not involve God in our daily life issues whether minor or major? We generally run to our fast friend at 3 A.M. in the night to tell her our entire misery or googling the possible consequences? Isn’t it funny that we have a mighty true living God who has promised to save us in the worst of times yet we choose Him to be our last option rather than He being our first and preferred one? He has to be our only refuge. Why can’t we go on our knees for those 30 min and give in all our worries to Him and surrender? Peter 5.10 states that you will be restored, made firm and strong. Then why not choose Him over everything else? Another incident that I clearly recollect is that when my mother was not keeping well at all. Everything seemed to be going downhill. I was travelling in an auto rickshaw and the driver happened to take a short cut road that I was not aware of, I was completely alien to that particular ally. It went past a church. God had a different plan for me I guess that day. I read something in front of the church that in no time gave me peace and patience to look at the current situation in a better way- Cast all your worries in Him because He cares for you. I instantly felt better. We have always been told the significance of praying. Then why not let Him intervene for us and give us our answers? Let’s put Him first so that we reduce the number of our mistakes rather than first choosing to do as per our own will and then get pissed off by the consequences and then ask Him to intervene. Let’s not forget that each word in the bible is a promise to us Christians which none can take away for He shall never fail us. We just have to claim it, that’s the only bridge we have. In fact, thanks to technology, we have the wonderful bible KGV app too in our phones. We just have to place our requests and our prayers for He is always listening. He is just waiting for us to go ahead and seek Him. One of my all-time favourite’s Matthew 6:34 says, do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Don’t we all make plans of 20 years ahead and immediately travel to our la la world, even now whilst listening to me, a lot of you must have already started thinking about their debts and household chores that are pending. Why can’t we just be in the moment as nobody is sure of what tomorrow brings or for that matter whether we would be alive to experience it or not? Who knows if we perform to the best of the capabilities now, maybe we can deduct more than half of the workload that we are carrying for tomorrow? Hence, the power is in the now. 

Another friend of mine recently confessed it to me that she is on sleeping pills owing to her unstoppable thoughts. I wondered whether she approached the Bible or God or not? Well, certainly one has to seek professional help when required and one should never refrain or shy away from it. But friends as Christians we can always rely on each and every alphabet that’s been mentioned in the Bible because every word it forms is a promise by the Lord himself and we all know He will never forsake us even when everybody else does. He is a good shepherd; hence, we will never want, never lack, He takes us to green pastures and makes sure He always fights our battle and never gives up on his sheep for He is that shepherd who will leave His ninety-nine sheep’s and go after that one missing sheep to get her back to the herd. 

That’s how God works ‘you rest and He works: you work and He rests’ that’s why as Christians make sure to rest on Him for, He knows it all even before you speak it.  Remember folks, ‘prayers go up and the blessings come down’.

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