Mental Health


Our emotional health we don't teach them very much of that we aren't taught very much of that from an early age. How is it that we spend more time taking care of our teeth than we do our minds? You know when I was when I was four, I hit my head and I had blood gushing down my face and my sister ran me home and my mom of course you know the first thing was some silly bhisma Salib and she takes care and she heals all of it and she she cleans me up and she makes sure I'm better and holds me close and makes sure that she's comforting me but if I were to complain of any other type of hurt that isn't that physical to say my feelings got hurt or you said something that upset me it would get a laugh or a chuckle or a the I it's okay just just move along we make these kinds of flippant comments all the time right we say oh you're depressed it's it's all in your head just shake it off just pray about it imagine if that was how she responded to me when I got injured and said oh it's okay just just shake it off let's pray about it you know about your head injury, it'll pass it'll go away.

We value the body so much more than the mind. A lot of times we get these mixed messages. So imagine if you went to the doctor and you had high blood sugar and you were quickly on the path to diabetes and this was the prescription that you got from the doctor that you went to see and that was all you got was that you needed to pray twice a day be sure you're taking communion once a week.  do much um yes as needed it's great and it's important and it's so critical to our spiritual health but God created us with other parts that are important for us to take care of so why do we treat our mental health this way you know depression anxiety are very real there's real is your blood pressure and your cholesterol so should you pray about your depression or your anxiety yes absolutely should you pray about your diabetes yes absolutely but that can't be the only thing you do it shouldn't be all that you do it wouldn't be taking good care of the living vessel that God gave you so when our family loved ones friends turn to us to what degree do we turn into job's friends when our loved ones are suffering to what degree do we say just are we worth you know them responding back to us and saying but you forgers of lies you are all worthless physicians oh that you would be silent and it would be your wisdom we have to pay attention to the way we respond to one another's emotional needs when somebody expresses that they can't get out of bed or that they just don't have the energy to even have a conversation to not be so dismissive of it you know we sustain psychological injuries even more than physical injuries on a regular basis injuries like rejection failures fears guilt and they can impact our lives in significant ways and they impact our loved ones too right when we've been rejected the way that impacts us impacts the way that we respond to the people around us and that impacts their lives too so when you have a stressful day at work and you come home and that's the effects of that are what are distributed to your family they feel it too chronic loneliness actually increases our chances of an early death by 14 percent it causes high blood pressure high cholesterol and it's a significant a risk as smoking 15 cigarettes a day that's how much loneliness impacts us but there's a big difference right because cigarettes come with a warning label they tell you the dangers that's gonna happen if you decide to take this risk here's what could happen to you loneliness doesn't come with that kind of a warning label our faith can be one way that we sustain our emotional health but our spirituality or our lack of that spirituality isn't something to blame for our emotional health it can't be the only culprit and when we respond that way by saying it's because we're not praying enough or we're not going to church enough or we're not drawing us close to God that only adds more guilt and for someone who's struggling emotionally the last thing they need is more guilt it's only going to dig the hole deeper it's going to make it even harder to climb out of all right so what is mental health what is this big phrase that we talk about and we're afraid of we don't want to say out loud the World Health Organization defines it as a state of well-being where an individual realizes their own potential they can cope with the stresses of life they can work productively and fruitfully and they're making a contribution to their community right so there's a couple of different parts to that it's important to note that it's not just the absence of that illness it's not just that they're sick that they're not sick but they're being fruitful they're being productive they're contributing to that community that they're a part of okay so what's the opposite so what's mental illness what does that actually mean because it doesn't just mean that you're crazy right and sometimes we take that to a hyper-extended place and we're like oh it means that they're just not able to do anything at all like they're crazy there the way that they think just doesn't make any sense well it's not exactly all that it is there's a real connection between emotional health spiritual health and physical health and they all have an impact on one another so it affects your thinking your feeling in your mood it impairs your ability to function daily right so if you have anxiety it's hard for you to go to work and do all the tasks that you need to do you might do them but it might take you a lot longer so if you need to sometimes for people with just a mild degree of anxiety it's hard to compose an email and they write and they rewrite and they delete it and they do it again and then they did I say the right word did I not say the right word and they question themselves moment after moment and so things might just take a little bit longer it impairs their ability to relate to others they might start avoiding the things that are scary or the things that take too much energy for somebody who's depressed and they just don't have the energy to sit here and socialize with all you say hi to every single person I'm just too tired for that I'm just gonna not do it anyway I'll just avoid it see how that can work the other way around and you're not depressed because you didn't go to church but maybe it's you didn't go to church because you were feeling so depressed flip the equation for a minute and just try to see if if that works and it also involves how long it lasts so just cuz you're sad for a day doesn't mean you're depressed just because you're nervous for a couple of days doesn't mean you have anxiety but if it's happening for longer periods of time two weeks at a time six months at a time it's time to pay attention to it so there's a couple of different types right of mental illness I've mentioned a couple already there's anxiety depression eating disorders ADHD OCD post-traumatic stress disorder addictions alcoholism bipolar disorder schizophrenia the more severe ones and it's funny because sometimes we don't talk about these things as much and and our culture breeds that a little bit but you know there's a ton of like Egyptian shows and the news you know talk shows that are talking about this more than we do they bring up stuff like autism and ADHD and I'm constantly hearing things from my parents about oh they were talking about this the other day they're doing it more often than we are they're kind of ahead of ahead of their curve so if I live under a rock and inside of a cave so I'm sure you all don't all live under a rock you've probably heard of the two you know celebrity suicides that happened this week between Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain and so now everybody's talking about it right over the last week or so everybody's feeds have blown up everybody's talking about mental health and you know the resounding comment that everybody kept writing that I kept seeing was mental illness doesn't discriminate and it doesn't including us here in the church mental health doesn't mental illness doesn't stop at the gates of the church just because we're all sitting here doesn't mean we don't all struggle with each and every one of these things all right so more people died by suicide than things like car accidents and opioids but we're so much more afraid of car accidents and we talk so much more about the opioid epidemic than we do about suicide and it's scary to say I've had that thought it's crossed my mind before that I've reached that place of hopelessness and wasn't quite sure where I was going one in five adults experiences a mental health condition every year so these rows are made up of four chairs if we added one more that would mean one person in every single one of these rows has experienced a mental health condition that's how frequent it is it's not because it's over diagnosed it's not because we're making all this stuff up it's real it's alive and well and we have to pay attention to it and we have to support each other through it all right so what causes some of this if it's not because I'm far from God then what is it why why am i struggling with this well genetics plays a big piece right so a lot of times it'll run in the family a great grandmother had anxiety my grandmother had anxiety my mother had anxiety I have anxiety my child will have anxiety it's not a death sentence but it's it's a factor that can make you predisposed to it the biology right we found pathways in the brain now your levels of serotonin and dopamine and they figured out you know certain chemicals if they're too low or too high they can give you and it can cause you to have anxiety or depression and situational stress so imagine if you had a depressed mom who spent most of her time in her bedroom and didn't talk much and when she did she was you know didn't have very much positive things to say that's gonna influence you and how you were raised and it's gonna have an impact on your ability to then function and cope with stress - all right so that's a lot of information on in one place but you know my main point in putting that there is that you know depression has an impact on us emotionally and physically so you may not feel like getting out of bed maybe you can get to work but as soon as you come home all you want to do is just not talk to anybody shut yourself out and be alone comes with feelings of guilt which is exactly why when you respond to somebody with depression saying it's because you're not doing this enough you're just piling on the guilt they'll say thank you very much may I have another because that's that's where they're comfortable they want all that guilt not want it but they you know they're welcoming of it now have thoughts of suicide they'll be very irritable and angry right so a lot of times we can mistake that especially in men right they're they're easily triggered they'll be really irritable and frustrated and it'll be really hard to see that you know kind of underneath that that's actually one of the signs for depression a loss of interest and the things that they used to love doing and there are the fiscal aspects to unexplained aches and pains things hurt your body just aches and you don't know why sleeping too much sometimes sleeping too little because that varies sometimes it's mild depression sometimes with severe it can also cause GI problems so I once met a man who was Egyptian and his mother was dying in the hospital and so we were all sitting around you know kind of in those last few days when you're waiting for someone to pass there's not much to do you just kind of sit there in silence with them and you know you pray for them and you you just try to comfort one another while you're sitting there he kept complaining of stomach pain he kept saying I have no idea why my stomach hurts oh I've just had I've got diarrhea all day and you know he's just he's talking very openly about these kind of personal things and saying oh I just I feel awful what I might have eaten something wrong maybe it was because what did we eat last night and he must have a real in-depth conversation about all these details what did we eat last night and what could it have been and I also haven't been sleeping very much maybe that's why my stomach is hurting this way and the moment I said maybe it's because you're upset that your mom is about to die like it's it's coming he looked at me like I had five eyes and three heads like what I'd said made no sense whatsoever brushed it off and he kept talking about what he'd eaten the other day okay anxiety is a little bit it's got a little bit of an overlap and sometimes things I didn't depression liked to hang out together they're kind of friends there's a lot of different types of anxiety but we'll just talk about a more general one which is you know it's this overwhelming sense of of worries nervousness being tense you have a sense of just doom like something's gonna go wrong these are the people who I'm not gonna get my hopes up I'm gonna set my expectations really low because I don't want to be disappointed I'm already assuming that things are gonna go wrong everything's just gonna I can't have my high expectations cuz I'll be disappointed they've hard time controlling that worry and eventually if it goes on too long they'll they'll start to avoid the things that cause that worry it causes some physical symptoms too a lot of them aside from things like sweating and trembling you know when you're nervous and the increased heart rate it also causes chronic digestive problems things like IBS stomach aches cramping bloating headaches muscle tension jaw pain so I once worked with a woman who came in and was complaining really regularly she had back pain neck pain headaches on a weekly basis a lot of digestive problems she was getting yeast infections like once every two three weeks right it was kind of never-ending she was on antibiotics she was going to an internist a dentist for the jaw pain she was going to physical therapy for the neck pain she was doing all these different things and in the middle of all that she also struggled with anxiety she just she worried a lot she was parenting her kids and she was afraid that this was gonna happen or that was gonna happen she was constantly worried we worked on the anxiety and as that decreased all the physical symptoms went away and so sometimes it's so easy for us to say oh I just I have a headache all the time or I just I need a you know a mouth guard to help this job pain it why are we so tense why are we so unwilling to look at well what's behind some of that what could be happening in my mind alright so at some point we split between the body the mind and the spirit you know the early church fathers they knew how deeply integrated everything was the richness of our church offers things that touch on every piece right fasting Communion confession we do the emotional piece we there's the physical piece and there's the spiritual piece but somewhere along the lines we missed a translation we missed some of that connection and we started to divvy things up and take it take care of things and like really compartmentalize types of ways but our faith begins in the mind you know that's where it takes place so how much more should we be taking care of our mind we can't treat them in isolation it's going to be so important to make sure we're treating them comprehensively you know study after study has found that time and time again our minds and our beliefs they have such an impact they can ease pain they can fight off infections they can slow heart disease and the progression of AIDS and they found this all through the placebo effect right so they give somebody a sugar pill or they act like they're giving them surgery when they're really not and they come out of it feeling better they report they're feeling just as good as somebody who did get that surgery or who did get the actual medicine because that's how powerful our mind is we can make ourselves feel better through it all right so let's be sure we're not doing this or that right let's not give these false diagnoses but that we take everything into account that we're encouraging everybody to take me taking care of their spiritual health their psychological health their emotional health their environmental health and theirs and their biological health so how do we do this how do we practice this good emotional hygiene you know so much of the time when you're when we get like an emotional imagery or we get rejected we wind up beating ourselves up even further right so we go for an interview you don't get the job you get in the car and you start saying things like I never should have lied for this in the first place I never shine I knew I wasn't good enough for this I don't even have the qualifications why did I do this I'm so stupid why did I even bother I'm never gonna get a job Steve you probably weren't even wearing the right thing or you said that wrong thing you shouldn't have done that we beat ourselves up even further we would never have a cut and take a knife and say oh I have a cut let me dig even deeper and see how much worse that can make that when your self-esteem is low you're already vulnerable to stress anxiety depression don't know what's happening okay treat yourself with some compassion be a good friend to yourself you would never say that to a friend who called you and said oh I'm so disappointed I didn't get that job you would never say oh you probably were the wrong thing you probably said the wrong thing you know you say the wrong thing all the time well you were so stupid why'd you even apply for that job you would never say that to somebody but we say to ourselves all the time we regularly beat ourselves up be aware of how your mind responds to rejections and failures so that you can combat that break the habit of rumination so rumination is when you get stuck on a thought and you keep thinking about it over and over again right so if a wife is mad at something her husband said three days ago that's rumination because you're still thinking about that and you can't seem to let that go it's just stuck there or when you've had a conversation with somebody and afterwards you replay the conversation over and over again oh I shouldn't have said that why did I say that I shouldn't have said that I really should have said that that's rumination stop so to break it you distract yourself even distracting yourself for just two minutes can stop a rumination just find something else to think about find something else to do with your hands your body can break it protect your self-esteem this is what I was talking about before don't beat yourself up show some compassion to yourself you can meditate on writings and prayers you know the Psalms are so rich they have there's a group of Psalms are called the lament songs when you're really down read those it's somebody who's been in that kind of pain battle that negative thinking right so if your first instinct when something happens when somebody says hey do you want to go out to dinner and your first thought is how they probably couldn't find anybody else I bet everybody else said no and that's why they called me they probably just need something from me right all that negative thinking where the first thing that comes to mind is something that's negative fight against that urge it can become such a habit and it becomes so ingrained and you just do it over and over again and in the meantime you're diminishing the way you feel talk to somebody it's really hard it's hard to break that ice and talk to somebody give it a try the likelihood that they're struggling with something too and that once you open the doors it opens it for them to those chances are really high become part of a community battle that loneliness that we were talking about before that increases your death by 14 percent alright so as we wrap up making our community our body of Christ here a Healing Place is so important we're all broken we have spiritual emotional and physical ailments reduce the shame that comes with talking about this and asking for help start to see how the mind can actually impact your spirit rather than the other way around yes your spirit impacts your mind but we already know that we do that a lot we focus on that try to flip it for a little bit and see how your mind might be impacting your spirit adopt a holistic view of how God created you mind body and soul and let's be a church that sees the importance of the entire being of a person rather than just one part of who they are or two parts out of three you know on the band-aid box it was so interesting because I had to use the band-aid earlier it says on the inside label I'd never noticed this before like right there really tiny in where the box closes it says thank you for caring for those you love. So if we all help each other practice emotional hygiene and we try to build this healing place where we make it easy for others to talk about their emotional injuries without shutting them down by saying oh it's because of your spirituality we can become somebody where somebody responds to us and says thank you for caring for those you love. Alright? Glory be to God for ever. 

Thank you so much Dr. Niveen. A really important topic as we all heard and from the nods that we're seeing everybody kind of in agreement with what's being said here so obviously it's a very important subject that everyone can relate to so please don't just let this end here if anybody's dealing with anything I ask you to please seek support please schedule an appointment with any of our wonderful abouna's and let's just support each other as a community as a church to be open about certain issues that we're facing and that's that's why we're a church to have that loving support with each other so if I can say please stand up for praise and worship


[Prayer] Lord God thank you for being our one defense and our righteousness we know that we need you help us Lord to seek the help that we need from the people around us from our church leaders from healing physicians from not to seek not to feel just a sense of shame for seeking that help Lord I ask that you be in our hearts and in our minds and that you enlighten us awaken our senses and help us to recognize the need that we have help us to open up to one another to the body of Christ that you've created for us Lord and for putting us in that midst help us to reach out to others who are in need and to be able to share our needs with others here are so Lord as we pray thankfully Our Father...