About the Author

Bonnie Gray is the author of Whispers of Rest and Finding Spiritual Whitespace, wife, and mom to two boys. An inspirational speaker featured by Relevant Magazine and Christianity Today, she’s guided thousands to detox stress and experience God’s love through soul care, encouragement, and prayer. She loves refreshing your soul...

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  1. Bonnie,
    Can you hear me saying, “Yes, Yes, Yes!!” Amen to each and every one of your points. As a sister sufferer of mental illness, I have experienced all the things you mentioned, believed all the myths, and through God’s grace have come to the same conclusions you’ve come to. This is a subject very near and dear to my heart and I hope it’s okay if I mention a popular post in which I tackled the subject, “Can Christians Truly Have Mental Illness?” I have been made to feel guilty, less than, flawed, by well-meaning people. Mental illness is just that…an illness. Joining with you in erasing the stigma that one in four people live with each and every day. God bless you, Bonnie! There is hope!
    http://walkingwellwithgod.blogspot.com/2019/05/may-is-mental-health-month-popular-post.html
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Bev, mental illness is not a choice! God is reaching out to us but we need to do the work in healing also knowing god wants the best, we have to want the best for ourselves through prayers, meds, therapy, mental health groups . Helping erase the stigma that surrounds mental issues. I just loved this blog!!!!!!!!

  2. Bonnie,

    This is a much needed topic in the church. So many people don’t truly understand what mental illness is. Like you said they believe more prayer, faith, etc. can cure it. Sometimes it is simply a chemical imbalance in the body. Others like you have trauma from their past that needs healing. It can also be wiring in the brain getting messed up. God wants to heal us inside & out. He gave us doctors & medicine to help us. We shouldn’t be ashamed to use those resources. My aging dad got geriatric psych. He was hospitalized twice. The first time took 1 month & some rehab, but he came back better than when he went in. I wasn’t afraid to tell my church. There were times I went to church not being alright. Now when I pray for my hubby I pray for healing from past hurts. You never know when something might surface. Asking God to help him deal with that. This conversation needs to happen. People need to understand what mental illness is & how it can be treated. Stop using platitudes & start loving each other. Loved your books & praying for all with mental illness.

    Blessings 🙂

    • It’s very freeing for people who experience stress in all different ways to be able to share their worries, and also not feel stigmatized. Everyone has a story and as I go and speak about rest, emotional wellbeing, and detoxing from stress, it’s wonderful to see women relax into God’s love, just being who they are on this journey of faith and sharing our stories! thanks for sharing Beth!

  3. The church has come a long way in recognizing that mental illness need not be shameful–but we have a long way to go. Thanks for this methodical myth-busting, straight from your healing heart.

  4. Sweet relief Yes it’s very common and our family just hid or self medicated and had addictions to cover it all.. slowly but surely it’s been handled better. Jesus is the only way.. thank you for this mind matter Bonnie! Blessings to and through you!!

    • Hi Sadie, thanks for sharing from your own experiences. If we all relaxed into embracing each of our stories, we’d discover we’re just all on the same journey of being human with Jesus. May God continue to lift your heart, as you and your family continue to heal and I have NO doubt your story is amazing, real and BEAUTIFUL because God is in it with you all!

  5. THIS RIGHT HERE. Such words are generally well meant by the Christian community, but depression and anxiety have physiological components. Is faith often a crucial element in struggles with anxiety and depression? Absolutely. But it isn’t the only one. It saddens me that so many in the Christian community — even my Christian friends — don’t think to just reach out and see how we’re doing, or we focus on someone who is “struggling more” than others. We all have different struggles, and sometimes I think we “rank” how people are struggling with depression and anxiety based on self harm vs. not. And I understand that, but it unintentionally devalues others.

    You’ve hit the nail on the head, and I pray that more of the Christian community pauses to really consider your words. We generally mean well, but sometimes those generalized statements are more harmful than helpful, depending on the context.

    • I love how you’ve been so thoughtful in your reflection and you’re so gifted with words, Shelly! Thanks for adding to the discussion here, because thousands of women are reading through and I love your heart and wisdom!

  6. Bonnie –
    Thank you for your vulnerability. It’s refreshing to read something real.
    Elizabeth

    • Thanks so much, Elizabeth! It means so much to my heart to know what I’ve shared speaks to your heart too! Have you signed up for my Beloved Soul newsletter? I think you’ll love it!

  7. 100% Yes Bonnie to all that you have written and thank you for backing it up with Gods words!! This post is very much needed in our churches and our world. People should not suffer alone!!!

  8. Thank you for opening up, it’s so hard and embarrassing talking about mental illness! May God help us to spread this subject and bless others!! God bless you

  9. Bonnie,
    Thank you. This article came at just the right exact time that I needed it. I just got done talking to God about this very thing and had opened up to this article.

    Sarah

  10. What enCOURAGEs me? People honestly sharing their journey…people giving their truth-full examples of obedience; their walk through trials.
    Thank you for sharing your journey in this way today! Praise & blessings always- Trish

  11. Bonnie, thank you for this post today. I think the church needs to do a better job on reaching those of us with mental health problems and not condemn or rebuke us. I pray that this change will take place and thank you for your openness and honesty.

  12. Thank you Bonnie for your insight and for helping me to better understand why I feel the way I do sometimes. What I have experienced through my struggles and it comes mostly from my own family is their total lack of understanding. For many year very few people knew of my trama when I was younger, so when it came out about 7-8 years ago it took everyone by surprise and some started to say “now that explains why you wouldn’t let us do this or that.” of course at the time I wasn’t telling anyone. So after it came out I went through some terrible times with my emotions. I was mad at people, I avoided talking to certain people and I went to counseling because my daughter felt I needed to get my sh*t together. I felt like I was being told to just deal with it and move on. WHAT? When all the emotions that had been held in for so long were finally released I honestly thought I was going to finally feel a relief, but it was the total opposite. I was facing it head on and it was not what I expected at all. I was told I could not begin to heal from it. This did not feel like healing at all. Its been 7-8 years now and I can talk about it without falling apart. I still feel like people (family) think I am unstable at times and I do take anxiety meds and hormone replacement meds. I catch all the comments about not wanting to be like me with my hormones from my daughter from time to time.

  13. Thank you again, Bonnie, for freely sharing your experience, opening the door for others to do the same. You’ve included noteworthy considerations here to start others toward their own healing. The ripple effect will undoubtedly reach far and wide!

  14. I am grateful to you for opening up about your struggles so that others may be helped to be open too and debunk the myths. It is more acceptable in the culture due to the suicides among the rich and famous who were depressed and felt death was an answer.
    It is dangerous to tell people that God will heal them and that they don’t need other help. This will only cause more depression and tension. We need more of this dialog in the church.
    Love from Jan

  15. A beautiful reminder! Thank you for speaking truth in love and for sharing your heart! This very much resonates with my journey. God is a faithful companion through our difficulties.

  16. It appears as if this is addressed somewhat better than it was 30 years ago. I had postpartum depression. This is usually hormonal and glandular , I later developed PMS ( which was cyclic ).

    However, I was surprised when depression returned, when my dad died from Lou Gerigs disease , then step mom passed from lung disease , my MIL died from pneumonia, my FIL had 10 stokes and then committed suicide, because the doctor told him that he was a time bomb ( bad bedside manners ).

    I tried all that list of stuff mentioned in the article but had to get medical help.

    I hope this reply helps someone.

  17. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! My soul is rejoicing right now. As someone who suffers from anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, I appreciate your transparency and encouragement. Thank you so much. I love the myths that you identified. You used the TRUTH to counter those myths. As a church, we need to stop judging those with anxiety or depression as weak and faithless. Thank you!

  18. Its no coincident that this email “appeared” in inbox on a day that I have struggling with a numerous amount of people telling me that I just need to “get on with it”. My faith has never been stronger, I read His Word and journal daily. My relationship with Him has flourished when all human ones have failed. I’ve been doing everything by the book to heal, while seeking additional outside medical help. I know He’s got me but it will take time to recover.
    Thank you for your validation. Its what I needed most of all at this time.

  19. I have 4 psychiatric diagnoses, including 2 personality disorders. I no longer attend church due to physical disability, but if I did, I would not let the mentally ill side of me leak out. That is just asking for trouble. I’ve done it before and have been sorry. It is just not worth it.