Religion and Mental Health.

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all that is good today and everyday.

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Do you believe in God? Or do you believe in another higher power? Do you believe that they always have your back? What if something bad happens in your life, then what? What do you believe then? Should you still believe?

I recently started seeing a therapist once a week to see if it would help me with what I have been struggling with the past year. I knew deep down that I didn’t have depression, but there was something and a missing piece inside of me that constantly ached. During my first appointment, I mentioned that I thought I had something similar of PTSD from my emergency surgery that happened yesterday. My therapist totally agreed from what symptoms I was having and we started rapid eye movement therapy to dig down to find the reasons and emotions.

What was found in my second therapy appointment, with the rapid eye movement, was really interesting but also made sense. I blamed God for what happened last year. How could God do such a horrific thing to a good person. What did I do wrong? I found out that one of the biggest pieces inside of me that was missing was the religion piece. Growing up I attended a catholic church and went to church with my family on most Sundays. I kept going to church while in university but once out in the workforce, it just stopped. I wouldn’t call myself a super religious person but I definitely did turn to God when needed and enjoyed being part of a religious community.

My “homework” for this week was to attend church on Sunday and write a letter to God explaining how I was feeling about him/her. Well I attended church this past Sunday and either I picked a good week to go or God was actually looking out for me. This Sunday was considered a healing service, which is a newer type of service for Lutherans (explained in the paragraph below). I felt at peace after this service, I knew I did the right thing by going.

“Healing services are being more prevalent and people are finding it very meaningful, especially for grief and loss. This rite is based on Jesus’ example as he
laid hands and provided healing for many during his time on Earth. The early
church continued this tradition. In the 9th century, this rite became reserved
for the dying. Efforts over the last 30 to 40 years have restored this rite to
its original intent; a ministry of healing.
Healing services are an opportunity to gather for personal prayer, as well as to pray
for the healing of others and our world. There is an opportunity for the laying
on of hands, prayer and anointing – for those who desire it.”

Are there mental health benefits from attending church or being part of a religious community? What do you think? In one study in the United States, it was found that people who were more involved in religious practices and who are more religiously committed seem to cope better with stress. One of the reasons is because religion gives people a sense of purpose and meaning in life and that helps them to make sense of negative things that happen to them.

Do I believe this 100%? No I don’t but maybe I will get there. It is my personal goal right now to continue with therapy and continue going to church on a regular basis. I know I believe that God works in mysterious ways and last year wasn’t my year. I had to go through something in order to learn something else. Maybe this year is my year!

Bex.

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