Ramblings from my addled brain.
 “Is it my imagination
or has there been a sudden spike in Christian Leaders suffering from some sort
of Mental Illness?” This question was put to me by a friend, the pastor of a fairly
large church here in the UK. He explained that two of his team had taken time
off, for stress leave, on the advice of their doctor. One of these men had
admitted to my friend, that he had been prescribed anti-depressants. My response
to my friend was to tell his people to man-up!
A quick Internet search revealed that the last 10 to 15
years has seen a dramatic increase in mental illness across all sectors of
society. The national average for the UK is 1 in 4 people suffer from some sort
of mental illness. That is 16 million people. The same average affects
Christian Leaders. More Christian leaders are reporting symptoms of mental
Illness than ever before; Anxiety, depression, eating disorders, social anxiety
and PTSD. In 2018 there was 71 million medical prescriptions issued for anti-depressants.
The causes are many and vary from; increased social stress, overwork, cultural
pressures, and better recording procedures.
Nearly 90% of pastors admit that they are dealing more and
more with mental health issues in their congregations. Sadly 20% of all pastors
who are suffering from mental health issues leave the ministry.
Man Up!
People have objected when I tell people to “man-up” they
object because they feel that it is old fashioned and a politically incorrect
thing to say. People think it cold, callous and unfeeling. To some extent they
are right, but I don’t mean it in that sense.
Men in general do not like to talk about their emotions and
how they are feeling. They like to bottle things up until they pop. They won’t
even talk to their wives. To me this is the wimpy way out of things. The
results will not be good. Men need to me shocked out of their complacency.
So when I tell people to “man-up”, what I mean is get over
yourself, start talking to people, get stuff of your chest, talk to your wife
or to a trusted friend. See your Doctor and get advice.
Here are 4 ways to help you stay focused and mentally
healthy:
1)     
Get into a good spiritual rhythm. Pray, fast,
meditate, read your scriptures. A book that really helped me was, God in my Everything by Ken Shigematsu
2)     
Look after your whole self. Watch what you eat,
take care of your body, stay fit. Go for a walk everyday with your wife.
3)     
Confess, that is talk to a trusted friend or
group of peers that may be going through the same things that you are.
4)     
If you have to seek medical attention, don’t be
afraid of taking medication. Often, not always, mental health issues are due to
a chemical imbalance in the brain. But I feel that if 1, 2 and 3 are in place you won’t need 4.

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