Mental health is a widely discussed issue these days. Yet effective solutions remain elusive. The seeming prevalence of depression, anxiety, and stress indicates that many are still struggling to find permanent relief.
I’ve been there, struggling to find reprieve from the roller coaster of highs and lows and the anxious and sometimes suicidal thoughts that would paralyze me with fear.
And yet, I learned that there is a power greater than those dark thoughts. This power is God, who shined a light so bright it permanently dispelled my mental darkness.
This light came into my experience when I was reminded about the power of God, divine Love, who created us. I came to understand that reflecting God’s goodness is inherent to my nature because I was created in the image and likeness of the Divine – spiritual, whole, complete, and entirely good.
In her seminal book, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, defines God with synonyms that are based in the Bible. One of these synonyms is Mind. Science and Health states: “To begin rightly is to end rightly. Every concept which seems to begin with the brain begins falsely. Divine Mind is the only cause or Principle of existence” (p. 262). There is nothing imbalanced or depressed about God – divine Love, Life, Mind – so there can be nothing in God’s offspring that is out of balance or depressed.
While I now know this to be true, this realization didn’t come without a struggle. I often had trouble sleeping, unable to turn off the endless cycle of rumination; and sometimes I feared sleep because I had terrifying nightmares. At other times, I would awake overwhelmed by panic and fear. Some days it would seem that everything around me was bright, while inside I felt a deep sense of hopelessness and anguish. Eventually it got to the point where I engaged in self-destructive behaviors.
I knew I needed to talk to someone, so I visited a psychologist, who suggested that I see a psychiatrist. I was officially diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and it appeared that I would be on medication for the rest of my life in order to feel “normal.” However, I never felt normal on the medication either, and there were a number of side effects. I definitely wasn’t joyful or free.
I wasn’t sure if I believed in God anymore. But I reached out to my sister, an earnest student of Christian Science, who graciously answered my many questions with the greatest of patience. I became more certain that healing could be found in Christian Science.
I began studying the Bible and Science and Health. A friend who is a Christian Science practitioner, someone engaged full time in the ministry of Christian Science healing, guided me to passages that spoke about God as Mind. During this time I came across this statement in Science and Health: “Remember, brain is not mind” (p. 372). This helped me see more clearly my true identity as God’s, perfect Mind’s, reflection. I became increasingly convinced that my brain had nothing to do with my true identity, because divine Mind is the only source of my being, and therefore the only source of true thoughts. Because God, Mind, is all good, dark or frightening thoughts were not my thoughts.
This questioning and seeking went on for a while, and then came a day when I knew with utter certainty that I had been healed. I stopped taking the medications. The psychiatrist had warned that if I stopped taking the medication, it should be done slowly for fear of worse side effects. In spite of these predictions, I experienced no such side effects. I was free!
As I grew in my understanding of and reliance on God, I realized that I didn’t need to continue seeing the psychologist, as I could commune with God when I was in need of counsel or guidance. I also never returned to the psychiatrist and never felt the need to take any further medication, as the depression and anxiety had been completely dispelled. Some years later, it occurred to me that all of the negative thoughts and imaginings of terrible things that could happen had disappeared, and even some associated anger issues had simply melted away.
Mrs. Eddy writes: “Mind that is God is not in matter; and God’s presence gives spiritual light, wherein is no darkness” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 113). How true this is! This healing occurred almost a decade ago, and the freedom and joy it has brought are almost indescribable.
Instead of simply managing depression, we can allow the light of divine Mind to outshine the darkness of depression and replace despairing and fearful thoughts with complete peace and exuberant joy.
Adapted from an article published in the July 1, 2019, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.