Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Renewing the Mentally Ill Mind

Scripture can be scary for those of us who struggle with scrupulosity.  What if I didn't read that verse correctly?  What if I was distracted while I was reading my Bible?  What if I'm misinterpreting Scripture?  What if I have this totally wrong?  What if I was interrupted while reading the Bible?

As part of coping with my OCD, I'm in the process of reading the entire New Testament 1-2 chapters at a time.  Today I read Romans 12 and came across verse 2:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind

How do I, as someone who struggles with mental illness, renew my mind?  My mind that can spiral downward so fast.  My mind that is highly anxious and also prone to deep depression.  My mind that struggles with internal chronic pain that others cannot see.  My mind that suffers in silence.

Some parts of my mental illness, like my obsessions, I cannot control.  Awful thoughts enter my mind, and I hate it.  The anxiety skyrockets and the urge to perform a compulsion comes on very, very strongly.  

But the truth is that I do have some level of control over my mental illness, even if it seems impossible or insignificant.  I can choose to use Exposure Response Prevention or not.  I can choose to take my medication or not.  I can choose to give in to my compulsions or not. 

Even though my mind is ill, I can renew it by refusing to give in.  By trusting that God will bring me through this.  By believing that He will bring good from my suffering.  By choosing to live in hope. 

Because when I do these things, I no longer suffer so intensely.  I have hope.  And hope is truly transforming.

What are some ways that you renew your mind?