Rebuilding my Mental Health with Jesus

4 Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.” 1 Kings 19:4 NLT

In April 2017, we held an event, Healthy You, Healthy Communities as an outreach project to engage with our community. We produced a workbook to provide information, resources and case studies; I was inspired to include my personal experience – How I recovered from a Mental Health Challenge. I did this as a process to acknowledge my hurts, pains and disappointments; outline how God used the experience of Elijah in 1 Kings 19:1 – 21 to lead me on a recovery journey and share how others that might have a similar experience can recover their mental health.

I included this article in my book published in March 2018, Diary of a Coincidental Pastor, Embracing the Divine Appointment in your Disappointments as part of the bigger picture of God’s help to assist me to embrace His divine appointment in the disappointments of life. Unknown to me, I didn’t realise I was still hurting, I didn’t realise that I was still on the recovery journey; I made some mistakes in including some materials in the book that might have given a wrong perception. I intend to address this in the updated version of the book to be released as a publication shortly.

In September 2020, the Lord miraculously made it possible for me to return to study MA Science Communication at University of Kent during the pandemic. A work placement opportunity at Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science (ECLAS), Durham led to me discovering their Scientists in Congregations programme. The church, RCCG Royal City, Sevenoaks successfully secured a grant for the public engagement with science project – Elijah, The Tishbite – Let’s Talk About Mental Health.

This project was adapted from the article –  How I recovered from a Mental Health Challenge – I wrote in Healthy You, Healthy Communities. The project is based on the mental health challenge of Prophet Elijah as documented in the Bible in 1 Kings 19: 1 – 21. The project explored the strategies he went through to experience a recovery and continue with his profession and life. The vision through this project is to foster a healthy engagement between the Christian faith and science using mental health as the basis for the interaction.

The aims of the project include:
  1. Create a conducive forum to talk about and seek help for mental health conditions
  2. Create more awareness about mental health conditions
  3. Address stigma issues surrounding mental health in Christianity and our communities
  4. Encourage more people to seek help to address mental health conditions
  5. Facilitate a process for more people to recover and maintain their mental health

This grant made it possible for us to kickstart the process to achieve our aims, giving us an opportunity to engage in conversations about mental health with a wider audience in our churches and communities.

I worked hard and smart to deliver the project – Elijah, The Tishbite – Let’s Talk About Mental Health; a lot was at stake, I needed to ensure we safeguard the integrity of the Church, the Project Directors, and maintain the trust of our funders. I needed to ensure the name of the Lord was magnified through our faithfulness in delivering the project. I wrote the script for the short drama film, secured a group to produce the short drama film, compiled and produced a workbook; planned and organised the inaugural event. A feedback from one of our Project Advisors was that the resources developed “On first glance it looks like a wonderful labour of love”
Some of the feedback received from the inaugural event include:
  • Many thanks for the very interesting study and sharing the day with your Church members – Cllr. Dr. Merilyn Canet, Mayor of Sevenoaks. She shared about her passion for gardening & allotments and how it can help to support mental health
  • Elijah The Tishbite is an excellent tool to talk about mental health – Dr Taiwo Ayodele Ajayi , NHS Consultant Psychiatrist
  • A fantastic initiative – Launch Attendee
  • Very well organised event, a gripping film with a practical workbook – Launch Attendee
  • The drama film is an interesting way of interacting on a difficult subject to address – Launch Attendee
  • Very insightful & helpful – Launch Attendee
  • The message in this drama is so apt for this season – Online Comment
  • More publicity for the event, a shorter film drama
Workbook Short Drama Film

I found the entire process therapeutic. The Lord used it to support me in achieving full recovery and to maintain my mental health. I featured in the short drama film as a pastor working to support a fellow pastor to navigate the process to recover and maintain his mental health. I was able to include my personal experience in the workbook with details of how the Lord restored the reward of my creativity that I was previously denied that aggravated my mental health challenge and how I have been able to rebuild my business, work and finances using the creativity, talents and gifts deposited in me by the Lord.

In the rebuilding journey, working hard and smart to develop, maximise and unleash my creativity helps me in maintaining my mental health.

Through God’s divine planning, my experience of recovering from a mental health challenge has turned into an opportunity to become a source of blessing to others. When I was going through this challenge, all seemed lost; when the Lord reached out to me and set me on a journey to recover, I didn’t have a clear understanding of where everything was leading; when the Lord called me into the pastoral office, I didn’t have a clarity of how everything was going to link up together. In a unique way, the Lord turned my experience into an opportunity to create more awareness about mental health and provide support for many to get help to recover and maintain their mental health.

With Jesus in the boat of your life, you can rebuild and turnaround your life, faith, family, work, business, finances and health.

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