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What To Do When You’re Struggling With A Mental Health Disorder

Being a teenager is tough enough, but trying to navigate life with symptoms of a mental health disorder can make it that much harder. If you’ve ever experienced depression, anxiety, mania, extreme irritability, purging, or other symptoms of a mental health disorder, then you know the experience can be pretty trying. Dealing with one isn’t easy, but you CAN live a happy and productive life. Here are some strategies that might help:

  • Pray and have FAITH that God will cure your disorder. God has the cure for EVERY ailment. Just as He can cure physical diseases such as cancer and diabetes, He also can restore your mental health. However, it’s extremely important that you BELIEVE that He’ll do it. Remember, “According to your faith let it be done to you” (Matthew 9:29).
  • Give your situation to God. People who struggle with mental health disorders often have a biological predisposition to such ailments; however, stressful situations can trigger symptoms. If you’re in a situation that’s overwhelming for you, know that God loves you and WILL help you resolve it.
  • Get help. God puts people and other resources in your life to help you! If you’re in a situation that makes your symptoms worse or your symptoms are overwhelming, seek help from a trusted adult. Your parents, aunt, uncle, pastor, bible study teachers, school teachers, counselor, or therapist are all good options. It doesn’t matter who you approach, as long as the adult is trustworthy and you get some help. If the first adult doesn’t get you the help that you need, then try another or call your local social services agency. SOMEONE WILL HELP YOU!
  • Accept the help that is offered. Don’t be ashamed of the disorder! Be COMMITTED to overcoming it. God will help you, but you’ll have to put in some effort. Remember, the Bible says that “faith without deeds is dead” (James 2:26). Sometimes therapy has a stigma associated with it, but I want you to know that therapy is okay! It’s a part of treatment, and effective therapy will help you learn how to cope with the things in your life that trigger your symptoms. Your triggers may not completely go away, but you’ll learn how to better handle them so that you won’t go in a downward spiral every time something negative occurs.
  • Capture your thoughts. Negative thoughts are usually at the center of negative feelings. When you’re feeling bad, change what you’re thinking. Speak positive things OUT LOUD to remind yourself how great you are and how God is already working on your behalf.
  • Decide about medication with a doctor. If medicine is recommended by your doctor, give it a try. Remember, your symptoms are probably partially the result of chemical imbalances. Medicine might help until you’re feeling a bit more stable. Once the medication begins to work, you’ll begin to feel better, but don’t stop taking your medication without consulting your doctor FIRST.
  • Do NOT self medicate. Self medicating with drugs and alcohol is NOT the answer. It’ll only make things worse and it could result in an addiction.

IF YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT SUICIDE OR HARMING YOURSELF IN ANY WAY, PLEASE GET HELP IMMEDIATELY!

Remember, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Are you struggling with a mental health issue? If you are, what has helped you deal with it? You can encourage other girls by sharing your experience.

Image: iStockphoto | Thinkstock

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29 Comments

  1. SignerGirl

    Posted by SignerGirl on July 27, 2016 at 10:59

    Sometimes, God doesn’t “cure” us. Sometimes, he lets us struggle. But he can bring peace into the midst of our pain, and that is when our story becomes formative.

  2. Starburst22

    Posted by Starburst22 on June 25, 2015 at 19:50

    I have always been unnaturally anxious as a result of my genetics, and I have just recently been diagnosed with depression. It has been difficult, and I kept it all bottled up and hidden from everyone for a couple of years, but it has been so freeing to have finally shared my mental problems with my family and with my friends! Even better is that I am growing closer to God through my experiences; it’s just like that one verse says: When I am weak, He is strong!!! 😀

  3. Project Inspired

    Posted by Kindra on June 25, 2015 at 16:24

    I hate posts like this, we make it seem easier than it is. I don’t believe these things are true otherwise I wouldn’t still be struggling.

  4. CinnamonCow16

    Posted by CinnamonCow16 on June 25, 2015 at 11:31

    I’ve suffered for so long with depression and an anxiety disorder. I used to have panic attacks, but recently I had to take medication and that has helped a lot! Recently I’ve been having very few panic attacks which I haven’t had in a long time. BUT here’s the thing. During the time I started taking medication, I also dos counseling with my pastor’s wife. That has helped tremendously! I’ve learned to dwell on the truth!!! Philippians 4:8. Now when I have panic attacks which aren’t that bad (very few) I can control them with the power of God.

  5. Project Inspired

    Posted by marybethames on June 24, 2015 at 18:19

    I’ve struggled with depression, suicidal thoughts/actions, an anxiety disorder, and frequent panic attacks for several years now. My advice is to seek help sooner rather than later. For almost a year, I suffered in silence and it wasn’t until recently that I mentioned it to my parents and sought professional help. There’s also a couple of iPhone apps that have helped me. One is called End Anxiety Hypnosis. Don’t let the title freak you out-its not so much hypnosis as it is a voiceover that helps you calm down in the middle of a panic attack. Another one is MindShift. It helps you recognize what triggers panic attacks and provides strategy for combating them. Hope that helps!

  6. Project Inspired

    Posted by VanillaCreme96 on August 26, 2013 at 13:19

    I suffer from depression, chronic pain (fibromyalgia), chronic fatigue syndrome, anxiety attacks, a genetic condition that leads to many dislocations a day, and orthostatic intolerance. The worse ones are definitely fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. On my bad days, no one can even touch my back or arms without me nearly screaming. Fibromyalgia comes with lots of other things too, like extra sensitivity to touch, sun allergies, environmental sensitivity, chronic stomach aches, insomnia, and a lot more cruddy stuff. Three months ago, I had to do the one thing that broke my heart- I had to drop out of the high school I loved and leave all my friends behind. If you’re the girl who has prayed your heart out for a cure, I know what you’re going through. Hearing “God’s got a plan” just doesn’t cut it anymore. But I’ve found that thinking positively is definitely a huge help, even though it’s hard. Being sick is scary, especially as a teenager or young adult. But there’s always a good side and a bad side. And, really, it’s always best to live as positively as you can.

  7. Lilian121

    Posted by Lilian121 on March 27, 2013 at 20:58

    I HAVE PRAYED AND PRAYED FOR A CURE FOR MY TYPE 1 DIABETES. NO SUCH LUCK, ITS NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN.

  8. Project Inspired

    Posted by MudBloodPrincess on January 6, 2013 at 01:27

    I don’t think I have a mental disorder, (at least, I hope not,) but I do occasionally have very bad night terrors. Through the darkness, I don’t know what it is I’m seeing. That chair could be a dragon, bloodthirsty and starving for human flesh. That light that went by my window could be a flying saucer, hovering beneath my window, waiting to dissect me, piece by piece. That shadow, for all I know, could be a phantom sent by some evil ancient witchcraft to strangle me in my sleep. It’s times like these, when I’m shaking and muttering Hail Mary’s under my covers and too scared to even call out to my parents, that I need God the most. I pray and I pray, and eventually I know that God will protect me from all these things.
    And on a less serious note, to anyone who suffers from the same problem,
    “God is bigger than the boogeyman; He’s bigger than Godzilla and the monsters on TV, oh, God is bigger than the boogeyman, and He’s watching out for you and me!” ~Bob the Tomato
    Don’t listen to what anyone says otherwise, no one is too old for Veggie Tales.

    • Starburst22

      Posted by Starburst22 on June 25, 2015 at 19:47

      Oh my goodness, I sing that song to myself too when I’m freaked out!!! 😀 I don’t get night terrors or things like that very often, but sometimes, whenever I am unable to sleep at night, the darkness and whatever could be lurking in it scares me to death. 🙁 I love that song; it helps remind me that God is bigger than the boogy-man and whatever else can scare me!!! 😀

  9. Project Inspired

    Posted by blueberrybird28 on September 24, 2012 at 23:32

    I think I may have bipolar and I am so scared right now, because I have no idea what to do. I’m thinking about telling my parents because already I’ve had around three panic attacks in three weeks and the last one was so awful! Please pray for me!

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by marybethames on June 24, 2015 at 18:22

      Definitly praying for you! I want to encourage you to tell your parents. I had frequent (almost daily) panic attacks for a year and a half before I told my parents. And I know it can seem intimidating, but they really do want the best for you and they can really help you through this. 🙂

  10. Shevtrixie

    Posted by Shevtrixie on September 22, 2012 at 12:26

    I have an eating disorder, anxiety, depression, migraines, low-self esteem, ocd, addictions, so much more things I can’t think of right now and I deal with them on a daily basis, the only thing that has me on my feet and preventing me from falling into these things is reading the Word because without it I wouldn’t truly know who I am, I read the Word everyday and try to stay as close to Jesus in every area of my life and possible. Don’t get me wrong I do fall short sometimes but I believe God has a future for me and it does not involve all these sicknesses.

  11. Project Inspired

    Posted by liv4god on September 20, 2012 at 12:34

    I had struggled with depression for about 3 years. What really helped was talking to my mom about any situation that happened and she was a big help to me. Talking to someone really helps. Before my depression I didn’t know god very well I only knew some things about him but didn’t really believe so the good thing that came out of my depression was turning to god, asking him for help and believing in him. I feel like he really helped me. He put the right people in my life to help overcome this disorder. Because of God, I’m more happier and more peaceful. I’ve been in this peaceful and joyful feeling for a while and I don’t even want to go back to being sad because it’s just not worth it. I’ve decided to live my life and live it for god.

  12. Project Inspired

    Posted by roxy9633 on July 23, 2012 at 20:32

    I too have been struggling with anxiety and depression since the end of my Junior year of high school.

  13. Project Inspired

    Posted by Againstbullying14 on April 14, 2012 at 09:15

    I accepted Jesus was I was 5 and my life turned upside down. Not the good kind of upside down, the bad. My life was amazing before and I had 5 years of childhood then no more for me. When I got to school I had friends, but I was getting bullied A LOT! On my appearance, my clothes, my friends, and even my personality. My mouth isn’t what you’d call normal, on one side my lip goes down when I smile or talk. I’d come home crying each night but i wouldn’t tell anybody why. In 3rd grade a new girl came into my class and turned all my friends against me. Even the ones that promised they wouldn’t leave me. I was getting bullied more than normal now. As I went into 6th grade the bullying increased even more. I’d pray, read my bible, go to church and youth group but nothing ever changed. I had no friends and in 6th grade. Girls you know how hard 6th grade is with friends but I was without. I had non stop blows of harsh comments and jokes and rumors about me. You know how God says he won’t leave or forsake us and how He hasn’t given us any struggles we couldn’t handle?? Well I stopped believe them. I never talked about me or anything. Everyday to this day I put on a mask that’s so think I have no clue who I am now. Nobody knows what I’m going thrill even my youth pastor. I’m now getting bullied about my athleticism, intelligence, clothes I wear, lack of friends, my face, and lack of a chest. This past summer I went in a weeklong camp with my youthgroup. We where talking about our bodies and it mad me feel even worse. Each night I would cry myself to sleep still not telling anybody what was going on with me. One day made me worse than before. One night we had a plastic cup with dinner, and I accidentally brought my cup. I finished eating early and went to my cabin for a shower and found the plastic piece if the cup in my pocket. I decided I’d had enough and I found myself cutting. I’ve never cut before and I was at a church retreat, but it didn’t bother me. I felt completely abandon and alone. If God was there he would’ve helped me by now. I am 5″6 and 125 pounds I’m athletic but I have a fat stomach and things and each day I feel horrible. I wouldnt stop eating or anything I have boundaries but I have stopped believing in God since believing messedy life up. I depended on God so long and he left out in the cold.

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by ChristyCSings on August 5, 2013 at 13:33

      i have dealt with cutting and bullying too. But it isnt just up to God to fix it. have you tried therapy? i was in thereapy for nearly a year and it helped a ton!!! things will get better, i promise.

    • Shevtrixie

      Posted by Shevtrixie on September 22, 2012 at 12:22

      you need to speak out to someone, because althought you feel God doesn’t care alot of people around you do.

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by roxy9633 on July 23, 2012 at 20:35

      Accept Jesus, he loves you so much. We all have our imperfections nobodys perfect. I’ve delt with bullying too. At the end of the day I know you are a good person and so do you don’t listen to the other peoples garbage.

  14. Project Inspired

    Posted by Red Rose on March 9, 2012 at 19:50

    I had major depression issues for years after being bullied, I ended up struggling with both cutting and bulimia, as well as getting extremely physically sick because of how stressed and depressed I was. It was really tough for a while, but although I still struggle with depression I have stopped cutting and the bulimic actions are gone. It was very difficult to change, but I am getting so much better!

  15. Project Inspired

    Posted by emilybrub74 on January 28, 2012 at 13:09

    Thank you, Aysha, for writing this. I think a lot more of teens deal with mental disorders than those who would openly admit it. I like when other girls share their problems and coping strategies- to more than just mental disorders.

  16. Project Inspired

    Posted by savannahfesta14 on January 24, 2012 at 20:40

    I have anxiety and minor deppresion i struggle sometimes but always pray my mom always said there are two things to cure those feelings prayer and reading your bible

  17. SlinkyKitty88

    Posted by SlinkyKitty88 on January 21, 2012 at 01:19

    I have Sensory Processing Disorder. i’m a little hypersensitive to some things, like touch. I sometimes freak when people touch my neck, forehead, or the inside of my elbow (Especially a light touch). Having things around my fingers too tightly(Like a ring, or a bandaid)freaks me out too. I also had a bit of an eating disorder (Related to the SPD, not because I wanted to be skinny). Music and prayer helped me a lot.

    • coastercopper

      Posted by coastercopper on February 25, 2012 at 18:51

      I have that too. I’m very sensitive to sound. Thunder is one of my biggest fears; I start crying in the middle of storms, and I’m 15. What helps me is just listening to calm music and taking some time to myself. I also have ADHD, NLD, and social anxiety disorder. I’m going to a special boarding school to get help, but praying helps me a lot too.

  18. Project Inspired

    Posted by Kittykatt on January 16, 2012 at 14:49

    I have bipolar disorder, anexity, and depression. It’s had to deal with that sometimes. In fact about two weeks ago i had to miss two days of school because i was in a really low point. Although it does get difficult, I know that God is always with me and he will help me through it all.

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by emilybrub74 on January 28, 2012 at 13:06

      That is really good- sometimes I have anxiety fits and have to remind myself that sometimes I just have to push through because there is no rational cause to my anxiety- just a misfiring of nerves that causes me to feel anxiety.

  19. Project Inspired

    Posted by JaneAusten on January 14, 2012 at 12:22

    I know what it’s like… and I just hope, and pray, that all of you who are struggling with a disorder find strength in the lord.

  20. Project Inspired

    Posted by Ginger_who_loves_Jesus on January 13, 2012 at 19:39

    I have ADHD and Anxiety. But the anxiety’s not enough for my school to say that I have a disorder. But I have had small bouts where I have had a lot of stress at one time. But I didnt freak out, my mom and dad calmed me down, and I maintained my composure. It was about College, because I don’t know if I’m going to be able to afford it. But I know God will pull me through whatever college he wants me to go to.

  21. Purplson

    Posted by Purplson on January 12, 2012 at 20:54

    When that post said Diabetes, that really struck a chord with me. I’ve been a juvenile type one diabetic since I was two. Its rough having to live with this for the rest of my life. But this post could not come at a better time. I’ve had really bad bloodsugar lately, and this reminds me I’m here to glorify God with my story, not to hate my diabetes. Thank you for this 🙂

  22. Paris

    Posted by Paris on January 12, 2012 at 20:03

    I love that saying about suicide! I will definitely share that. God job Aysha!