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5 Ways Acknowledging Your Mental Health Leads to Action

Michelle Rabon

iBelieve Contributor
Published: Jun 07, 2022
5 Ways Acknowledging Your Mental Health Leads to Action

The disciples on the ship were afraid of the storm that suddenly came up, but Jesus rested calmly on the ship because He knew it would all be okay. There was no need to worry because the storm was in the Father’s hands (Matthew 8).

It had been two years since my big anxiety relapse. I had done all the right things, listened to every word the counselor spoke, did all the homework she put in my lap, and yet I still could not climb out of the fog. There were days that I felt so close to reaching the top of the mountain above the gray fog, only to find myself rolling back down the hill once again. 

Anxiety isn’t a quick fix. In fact, there may be no fix. 

In all the years I have dealt with anxiety, I have done everything possible to bring about healing. Yet, it wasn’t until last fall I felt like I finally had a breakthrough. It may seem strange but sitting in counseling one fall afternoon talking through my fears yet again, I spoke these words; “I have anxiety; it is something I will probably deal with all my life. But, I will not let that define who I am.” 

Acknowledgment of the burden always leads to action in one's life. 

Acknowledging the problem I was facing and its likely lifelong place in my life was one of the most freeing moments in my mental health journey. By acknowledging the reality I was suddenly freed from the control it had over me, I did not need to be defined by it. Unfortunately, my anxiety is simply a constant reminder that I live in a fallen world. 

The struggle with our minds can be traced back to the garden where sin entered the world. What was once perfect was now marred irreversibly—not just the outer man but the inside man as well. Adam and Eve were struck with fear at the thought of God finding out what they had done, so they hid. 

“But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” (Genesis 3:9-11, ESV)

They were afraid because they knew there were repercussions for what they had done, though they had yet to understand sin's full weight. 

Millennia later, we know sin mars all of creation, including the mind. Mind, body, and spirit are tainted by Adam and Eve's one grave mistake. As a result, our minds live in a sinful state bent toward fear. If it wasn’t so God would have not spoken about how to conquer fear so frequently in Scripture. Yet, acknowledging this truth in my life changed everything. 

How does acknowledgment lead to action? It seems silly to say but just admitting what you are dealing with will make things better. I didn’t say things would suddenly be better but I do believe when we acknowledge the problem we will take action to find a resolution.

Let's take a look at five key ways acknowledging our struggle catalyzes positive change:  

1. Acknowledging Empties the Diagnosis of Its Control

Most individuals with mental health disorders feel trapped behind their diagnosis. It can be a pretty hopeless feeling at times, and sometimes depending on the severity, it may feel as if there is no way out. When we acknowledge a mental health disorder, we accept that this is the state our mind is in, but it doesn’t define who we are as a person. I can live my life; I can press forward, and I can become whole despite this situation. When I stop allowing the diagnosis to have control over my life, freedom is found. 

What once felt like an embarrassing giant sign flashing above my head—"She Can't Get It Together"—now looks like "Striving Toward Freedom."

2. Acknowledging Reveals the Truth of Our Circumstance

When we allow ourselves to acknowledge the struggle in front of us, it allows us to take an objective view of the struggle and apply biblical truth. When we dwell without full acknowledgment, we are trapped and unable to rightly apply truth. We may even find ourselves in places of denial or remaining in the idea that we just don’t have enough faith. When in fact, our acknowledgment of the mental disorder allows us to rightly live out faith in God’s truth. 

Faith requires action, but without knowing what action is needed, we cannot rightly apply God’s truth in faith.

3. Acknowledging Removes the Problem from Our Hands and Places It in God's

When we are aware of and acknowledge our mental health, we are able to put it in its right place. Our diagnosis does not have to be life-controlling, and our circumstances are allowed or ordained by God. This means that in His strength we are able to rest in His care rather than in our weakness. For me, when I finally acknowledged what I was facing and why, I was able to leave it in the Father’s hands. He would bring my circumstances about for His glory. There is a purpose for what I am walking through. There is freedom in this truth when I can let go of what has been holding me captive and trust that the God of all creation holds me fast, even when I am afraid. 

The disciples on the ship were afraid of the storm that suddenly came up, but Jesus rested calmly on the ship because He knew it would all be okay. There was no need to worry because the storm was in the Father’s hands (Matthew 8).

4. Acknowledging Allows Us to Accept Help 

Acknowledgment removes your troubles from solitary confinement in your mind to the outside world where you can have a healthier perspective. When I am willing to share my struggles with someone else, I am emptying those struggles of their control. Acknowledging will most likely lead us to a place where we are more willing to ask for help. 

Counseling was the best choice I could have made for myself in the healing process. It allowed me to talk through what I was facing with someone outside of my circumstance, someone who had no other motive than to help me cope with my overwhelming anxiety. 

5. Acknowledging Encourages Healthy Choices

When I finally acknowledged what I was walking through I was able to quickly come to the place where I put the steps from my counselor into action. Taking care of myself became extremely important; I was able to see the value of exercise, eating healthier, and cutting back on things in my life that were contributing to my anxiety like the news, social media, caffeine, and sugar. These choices are part of the process of healing, and most of them do not come until we acknowledge the state of our mental health. 

We can try to shrug off our situation with a meager “I have anxiety,” or we can step into the acknowledgment: “I am dealing with anxiety and panic attacks. This is not by chance, but God has allowed this for His glorious purposes.” 

Acknowledgment goes beyond a simple statement but is the heart of what we are walking through. When we acknowledge our circumstances in that way, God will equip us by faith to take action. 

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/tadamichi

Michelle Rabon is a wife and homeschooling mom of three who feels called to help women thrive in their walk with Jesus every day. In 2012, she started Displaying Grace, a ministry that is focused on helping women engage with God’s Word. Michelle has also served in women’s ministry for the past five years seeking to equip women in the local church through Bible study. When she is not writing or teaching, she enjoys reading, being close to the ocean, and drinking a lot of coffee.

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