I’m the first to admit that the reason I believe I am still alive today is due to my religious beliefs. When I was diagnosed with depression and an anxiety disorder at just 13, I found that family, friends and even life didn’t mean all that much when I was sitting by myself thinking about whether I should remain alive. The religion I had been brought up in, Christianity, became tremendously important to me while I was going through this as I found that my core beliefs gave me the motivation to wake up each morning and go to bed each night. A key moment in this was when I actually made a promise to God, telling him that I would not harm myself until I finished doing his work. I didn’t want to self harm, but I knew that by making a promise to the God who I had grown up believing in would mean that I would have no choice but to follow through. The promise worked, and over the next few years I would fall back on it many a time when I was particularly struggling.
I am of the belief that each person is formed of three parts; the flesh, the soul and the spirit. It is our flesh that we function in. We must care for it, challenge it and accept its weaknesses as we age.
The soul is something unique that resides in each of us and it defines us; how we behave, how we feel and how we perceive the world. It can be broken through trauma and the experiences that scarred us as children.
Finally, the spirit is also unique to each person. It is different from the soul in that it is the aspect of humans that longs for something greater than the natural. In essence, it reaches for an entity or entities that show us our place in the world and our purpose in life. Whether you align yourself with a single religion or perhaps have your own distinctive spirituality, this element of humanity is perhaps more powerful than both the flesh and the soul.
Bodies fall ill and many people are born with mental illness. Our flesh is marked with flaws from our birth and as much as we strive to remain ‘ageless’, the inevitable is that our flesh will fail and we will one day pass away. Our soul can be dependent on our circumstances and must be trained to become strong in order to bare the weight of our physical and emotional pain. Our spirituality is not necessarily dependant on our flesh and soul; it is a belief in something that transcends our understanding and concept of time and enables us to endure and advance in life.
My own spirituality was the single aspect of my life that was unchanging when I was diagnosed. It was the only aspect of my life that told me I was meant for more than my hopelessness and failings. It was due to this that I chose to do everything possible for a full recovery and my faith still motivates me daily to live my life to the full.
When life gets tough; you or a loved one are chronically ill, someone passes away unexpectedly, you have lost your job or your marriage is falling apart; you can fall into the safety net of your spirituality. While some may call this weakness, I would suggest that this is a sign of strength as it shows you are willing to rely on something far greater than yourself when you know you are unable to keep going in your own strength.
Embrace your spirituality and the strength and boldness it gives you to keep moving forward. Doing this can enable you to live a far more fulfilling and satisfying life than what you are experiencing. For me, it is the motivation I need to live a life free of the anxiety that once plagued me.
About Jessica Morris
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