It’s all connected…
First of all, I AM NOT A MEDICAL OR MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL.
I recently posted a question on social media regarding the connections among body, mind, and spirit. The few responses I received were insightful, and in line with much of my own thinking, although from a different angle than I was originally considering. I have always wanted this blog and its content to be positive and uplifting, but never at the expense of authenticity. My thoughts on the interconnectedness of body, mind, and spirit were leaning in a different direction when I posed the query.
For months I have been dealing with some health issues in my body. The tests I had in the fall revealed no major problems, only a diagnosis of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). I have followed doctor’s instructions in order to treat those symptoms, without much success. But I’m doing what I can and, frankly, since I am still seeking a full-time job, I am not inclined to go spending a lot of money on more tests that won’t show anything wrong with me. I am managing the best I can.
But as my body has started experiencing other symptoms in recent months, my mind and spirit have also taken a bit of a beating. Scripture tells us that we are indeed “fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14). We are also told that, “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22). I understand that to mean that, among other things, all our systems are connected to one another. One system cannot be impaired without others also being altered.
My family doctor and I have discussed this delicate balance more than once. Ongoing physical pain can exacerbate problems like depression and anxiety, both of which I have dealt with for decades, as well as concentration and the ability to learn and retain information. Conversely, ongoing depression and anxiety (or other mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder, obsessive/compulsive disorder, etc.) can manifest physically, increasing symptoms such as headaches, digestive disorders, appetite changes, sleep disturbances, and chronic pain in any or all parts of the body. Spiritually, it can become difficult to pray, read and study scripture. Sometimes a person can begin to question their faith in the God Who made them.
It’s all connected.
The question sometimes becomes like the “chicken/egg” riddle: Which came first? It can be difficult to figure out. Does one’s body hurt all over because they are depressed, or is one depressed because they hurt everywhere?
There are no simple answers. It’s all connected.
The Bible shows us many examples of imperfect heroes of faith. The prophets Elijah and Jeremiah appeared to suffer from depression (possibly situational, possibly clinical, or even both). The Apostle Paul talked about his “thorn in the flesh”. The Psalmist(s) sometimes despaired of life. And poor Job…that guy suffered in every way imaginable.
I heard someone once say the following:
“I’ve heard it said that we are human beings having a spiritual experience; I submit to you that we are spiritual beings having a HUMAN experience.”
It’s ALL connected.