Rachel Gannon, Youth Speak News

Mental healing through faith

By  Rachel Gannon, Youth Speak News
  • October 30, 2015

During my high school years, I struggled with mental illness. I felt hopeless. I was alone. I was hurting and I knew that nothing could change the way I felt. It was during this time that I grew in my faith.

Although I had recently converted to the Catholic faith, I did not have an understanding of my relationship with God. I did not know Him.

When I first acknowledged that something was not right in the way I was feeling, I started with treatment. I was seeing social workers, therapists and psychologists. I was also taking part in group therapy sessions. All of these resources helped me immensely and gave me the skills and coping mechanisms to work through my struggles, but something was missing. So I sought out my high school chaplain.

I wasn’t sure what I was hoping to get out of our conversations. I did not know where I would end up by spending this time asking questions about my faith and how it related to my struggle. I questioned everything I came across in spiritual reading. I wondered about the goodness of God, even though I was hurting. Since I was spending so much time in the chaplaincy office I began to help out with retreats and liturgies.

At this time, I also began journaling, addressing everything I wrote to God. I would sit in my high school chapel for hours, before and after school, during my lunch and spare periods. I came to realize that prayer was an actual conversation with God. I told Him about my day, about every single thing that went wrong, about the weight on my heart that was causing me anxiety.

God’s response was greater than any of the pains I felt. He comforted me. I found value and identity in Him. I realized how loved I am and how wanted I am by Him.

It was this time spent in fellowship and prayer that deepened my faith. The closer I became to God in prayer, the more I immersed myself in community, the less I felt hopeless and alone. We are made to live in community. We are social beings orientated towards relationship, with both God and others.

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