In the spirit of Mental Health Awareness Week, we want to equip you and encourage you! Take a look at the testimonies below and remember that God cares about you, we care about you, and you are loved.

Caring for Your Mental Health in Uncertain Times - Dr Lavanya Dua


Testimonies


In 2014, something happened that, all of a sudden, I was crippled by fear, anxiety and crippling obsessive thoughts. I couldn’t close my eyes without feeling as though I was in a war zone. There was no escape. I felt so broken and thought that is was so shameful. I thought that everyone would judge me if they knew what I was going through.

The doctor diagnosed me with anxiety and depression. He prescribed me medication.

I was encouraged to seek more specialised help from a psychologist and psychiatrist. After telling the psychiatrist my story, I was diagnosed with bipolar and told that I would have to live with this for the rest of my life. I would have to be on medication for the rest of my life. The medication didn’t work. After trying a bunch of medications, it felt as though nothing had really changed and I was terrified that I would have to live my life in this horrifying place forever.

But when 2019 came, something started to happen that couldn’t explain. My mind started experiencing moments of calm and clarity. I started to experience healing that in natural terms didn’t make any sense. I went to the psychiatrist in this new country and they said I could start reducing the medication I was taking. So I started doing that.

Today, I’m off nearly every medication that I was on. I can close my eyes and be still. I can have a conversation and be present. I can laugh. I’m not embarrassed to talk about this anymore. While I am not at the finish line yet, I made it out of that place. I genuinely believe that I experienced a miracle. I was told that my life would, until the day I die, be defined by my mental illness. But it’s not. Not anymore. I’m free.

I believe God did a miracle in my life, I literally cried out to him and He heard me. You may not believe in God, but if you are in a dark place right now, why not just try calling out to Jesus? Ask him to be with you and to heal you. Ask him to put people in your life to support you. Don’t stop asking. There is nothing to lose by doing it!! You are so loved.

YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS. THERE IS HOPE. YOU ARE LOVED. DON’T GIVE UP.

The season in which my mind was at its worst was the time I saw God moved the most. At the beginning of 2018, during my second year of university, I developed panic disorder, which meant I would have panic attacks that lasted multiple hours, would wake me up in my sleep and give me overwhelming thoughts to end my life. God told me that he was taking me through this condition rather than out of it and that I would finish my degree. 

 

Although Royal Holloway doesn’t allow part time undergraduate students, and part time students are not allowed in halls. I spent my third year living in halls, studying part-time and receiving full-time funding. God had shown up and provided a way for me to finish my degree.There is so much more I could share about how God guided me with my studies or worked me through the NHS to get the right support but it is more important that I share what God taught me through my condition.

 

Don’t keep it quiet. It wasn’t easy sharing with people about the thoughts to end my life, and I am certainly not suggesting you share with every person you meet. But when we keep mental health in the dark it gives the devil a foothold to attack our identity and to challenge the foundation of our faith. By sharing with your church family, they come by and support you, and tell you the truths of God that you believe but struggle to hold on to in dark moments.

I have lived through a series of traumatic events that have changed me mentally. They have led to me suffering feelings of anxiety (gosh it sounds simple when you use one word). Back in summer 2019 I took a high pressured job which led me to having a breakdown. I can summarise how I felt by saying, I felt very low.

It escalated to the point of me quitting the job and going back to my old company. Still the anxiety and fear didn’t shift. I’m not afraid to admit that I cried, a lot. One evening after work I went to the 5pm service and after arriving late. I stood 3rd row from the front with my wife Ania and continued to cry more and more as people around me worshipped.

I felt like my only option was to take my own life. I had a plan, I won’t write it down because I’m ashamed of it.

Ania encouraged me to get prayer after the service, and to be honest I was hesitant as I always felt that it was kind of embarrassing (silly I know), but Mark Nash & Collard prayed for me. They prayed protection over me and I felt for the first time in ages like I was going to be ok. I experienced the freedom of God in that moment.

The next morning I felt fine! I can’t put into words how much the Marks saved my life! When I did not have faith, I borrowed theirs and God came through, of course.

Over the coming weeks Mark Nash continued to pray for me and send me bible verses:

Dear God, today I pray out Isaiah 26:3 & I choose to trust in you and take refuge in you. As I focus on who you are God I know you will bring perfect peace into my life. I pray for peace in my mind and my thoughts.

I speak to anxiety and say you do not belong in me any longer. 2 Timothy 1:9 “For God has given us a spirit not of fear but of POWER, LOVE and a SOUND MIND.” I speak my mind to be sound. I am no longer ruled by fear because that is not something God has given me.

I believe that I’ve had breakthrough in the area of my mental health but I also know that to maintain the freedom I’ve found I need to turn to Jesus for strength daily. If you’re struggling, take it one day at a time and call someone you trust and tell them exactly how you feel. Not tomorrow, today!

In 2018, I was going through some very challenging things, and these events resulted in me having lots of worry and panic. I was having multiple panic attacks every day, which began to take over my life. After a few months of this, my lecturer at university encouraged me to see the counselling service on campus. They diagnosed me with anxiety disorder.
During this time, I was regularly attending church services, but I just didn’t worship – it felt like I couldn’t worship. I had amazing friends, but I felt that all this stuff was so much of a burden that I didn’t speak to anyone about it. I isolated myself and feared the times when I had to speak to other people – scared of the panic attacks that I was so sure would happen.
One day I was praying in my room and writing down the stuff going on. It began with pages of negative/angry words but before I finished writing, I was brought back to writing about God’s love – without me realising it. He was speaking to me, showing how He knew my heart – he understood how much I wanted this stuff to end. I was still struggling, but I started praying more and declaring his promises over my life.
It was in April 2019 that I was back in Surrey for easter and at a Wednesday prayer meeting, I asked for some people to pray for me. Afterwards, I felt quite discouraged because I didn’t see any sudden change. But, in the days and weeks afterwards, I realised how much God had changed me in that moment. I haven’t had any panic attacks since. God has taken me on a journey of recovery – it hasn’t been easy but he has cared for me and loved me so powerfully. It wasn’t long before I had no more anxious or worried thoughts. Jesus has rescued me completely!

Resources


Check out our Podcast for some inspiring and practical messages about mental health and experiencing freedom:

Shifting the Cloud with Dr Lavanya Dua: listen here

Shifting the Cloud with Ps Mark Nash: listen here

Shifting the Cloud with Dr Lavanya Dua (part two): listen here

Shifting the Cloud with Ps John Sparrow: listen here

Prayer


We would love to pray with you!

I Consent

Please tick if you consent to our prayer team praying for you. We will share these prayer requests sensitively in a small prayer meeting. Your data will be stored in accordance with the Equippers Privacy Policy: www.equippers.co.uk/privacy

 
 

Support


Free 24-hour listening support

Call free on 116 123 (The Samaritans)

Text “SHOUT” to 85258

Non-emergency medical advice

Use the NHS 111 non-emergency medical line or click here.

Dial 999

In a life-threatening emergency, phone the emergency services and ask for an ambulance.

When to call 999

Crisis support

Call Papyrus’s HopelineUK from 9am to 10pm weekdays and 2pm to 10pm on weekends.

Call HopelineUK on 0800 068 41 41

Text 07786 209697

CALM

CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for people in the UK who are down or have hit a wall for any reason.

Call 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)