Worry. Anxiety. Fear. We all feel these emotions, yet learn from a young age they are best left avoided. We are told to just “think happy thoughts,” or that the recurring feelings of depression are a passing phase. For some of us, these feelings may be much more than that. Anxiety and depression can stretch us thin and weigh heavily on our bodies and souls as if we are drowning with no way of reaching the outside world. To get to the root of how mental illness generates, it’s valuable to take a step back to see the culture behind mental illness.
Digital and social media networks allow us to communicate and connect in ways we have never experienced before, while paradoxically promoting more feelings of loneliness and isolation than ever before. With constant comparison to our peers, family, and celebrities at our fingertips, the temptation to hold up another person’s best moments against our lowest feelings of loneliness is almost too great.The catch with comparing our behind-the-scenes to other people's highlight reels is that it kills our contentment. Wishing to be in another’s shoes nonstop causes us to miss out on the very amazing moments we’re in ourselves.
Fathers in a family represent a source of affirmation and correction. Yet in many homes across the nation, fathers are missing figures. The loss of integral men in the lives of children is reflected in the loss of identity for so many.Christian men, however, can rise up, take a stand, and speak to the potential of fatherless children in their community. And ultimately, our Heavenly Father is a source of hope for all who may not have their earthly fathers with them. A Father to the fatherless, God fills the void left behind by the inadequacies of our world.
Living in a selfie dominated society has made it so there's no room left for others to fit the frame. Isolating ourselves into the “me, me, me” way of living has us sabotaged and robbed of our sanity. When our sole focus is on ourselves, it’s easy to be filled with toxic thinking and hard to be fulfilled. But if we set our focus on seeing and serving others, real purpose begins to appear in our lives. If you have been affected by any of these social norms, know you are not alone. The feelings of isolation and depression caused by them can be combated through seeking professional help, and by setting a solid foundation in Christ and finding roots in a supportive community. Together we can end the stigma around mental illness and make our communities a safe place speak out on depression, anxiety, and suicidal behavior. Mental illness does not arise out of a lack of spirituality—it is not a weakness and does not have to be part of your identity. It’s OK to not be OK, it’s just not OK to not tell anyone. If you need to talk to someone, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).