by Faith A. Watkins and James N. Watkins
Coming September 2022! This hopeful, helpful and humorous devotional is based on ten affirmations for those dealing with mental health issues whether anxiety, bipolar, depression eating disorders, PTSD, or others. I’m writing the devotionals and my daughter the licensed clinical social worker, Faith A. Watkins, is penning the applications.
Here’s our first chapter:
“Hi, I’m David. I’m Bipolar”
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful.
1 Corinthians 10:13
“Hi, I’m David. I’m with bipolar.”
“Hi, David,” the group in a circle responded. It was the Sheni (Monday) support group for Bible heroes struggling with various mental health conditions. And the although the first one to share was wearing a gold crown and royal robes, no one was intimidated or shocked that the king of Israel was dealing with mental health issues.
“Well, if you read some of my psalms, you’ll see I’ve been going through a rough patch with bipolar. For instance, if you read Psalm 21, I’m having sort of a manic episode.”
David pulled out a scroll. “How the king rejoices in your strength, O LORD! He shouts with joy because you give him victory” (2:1).
“I felt like I could do anything. God was with me and I was definitely enjoying ‘victory.’ But then things went south in the very next psalm: ‘My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief’”(22:1-2).
“But then there’s my Twenty-Third Psalm: ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength’” (21:1-3).
An old man in a tattered robe raised his hand. The group leader nodded to the renowned prophet.
“Hi, I’m Elijah and I can certainly relate to those ups and downs. It seems the higher the highs, the lower the lows that follow. For instance, you probably remember the big contest between the priests of Baal and myself. I proposed that we set up an altar and see which of our gods could light it up.
“As you know, nothing happened for the pagan priests, but as soon as I called out for Yahweh, our God sent a bolt of fire that evaporated the water I had poured of the altar for a bit of dramatic effect, consumed the wood and sacrificial bull—even melted the rocks of the altar. What a great display of God power!”
Elijah suddenly bowed his head and stared at the floor. “But as soon as I heard that Queen Jezebel was also burned up about that, I ran an entire day’s journey and collapsed under a broom tree. I told God, ‘I have had enough, Lord. Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died’” (1 Kings 9:4).
Another member raised his hand.
“Hi, I’m Moses, and I totally understand that. One day when the Israelites were on my last nerve whining about wanting meat to eat, I cried out to I AM. ‘I can’t carry all these people all by myself! The load it far to heavy! If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery!’” (Numbers 11:14).
The leader acknowledged another raised hand.
“Hi, I’m Job. I hear you. I remember telling God, ‘Why wasn’t I born dead? Why didn’t I die as I came from the womb? Had I died at birth, I would now be at peace. I would be asleep and at rest’” (Job 3:11).
The man everyone knew as the weeping prophet spoke up.
“Hi, I’m Jeremiah. I felt the same way. Everyone remembers me from my writing about God having plans ‘for good and not for disaster, to give us a future and a hope.’ But there was a time before that I wrote, “Oh, that I had died in my mother’s womb, that her body had been my grave! Why was I ever born? My entire life has been filled with trouble, sorrow, and shame” (Jeremiah 20:18).
Each member of the group nodded in affirmation and compassion.
“Thanks to everyone for sharing. Most people at Sabbath services aren’t willing to share so honestly. It’s important to remember we’ve all had feeling of despair and despondency, but everyone of you are working through those feelings and holding on to that promise of a hope and future. I’m proud of you. See you next Sheni.”
As a therapist, I have spent countless hours in group rooms much like this one. Well, maybe not quite like this, so I know the healing power of a support group very well.
When I began my own journey of recovery after the painful aftermath of looking for love in all the wrong places, I found my own biblical heroine support group of sorts. Included in my Love Addicts Anonymous (LAA) group were Rahab, the woman caught in adultery, the woman at the well, as well as others who tragically took their love lives into their own hands. In my dark hours, these women shared their experiences and revealed how God came near to them in their mental and emotional anguish.
What kind of darkness surrounds you today? Grief? Depression? Anxiety? Addiction? Fear? Rejection? Trauma? The Bible is jam-packed with heroes and heroines of the faith who faced similar struggles as you. Who would you want to include in your theoretical support group? Even if you aren’t familiar with the stories of the Bible, a quick Google search of “Bible characters who experienced [fill in the issue]” can give you a starting point.
Learn as much as you can about your group members’ mental and emotional struggles and how God came near to them in their brokenness. Know that you are in good company and hold tight to that promise of hope and a future.
Copyright © 2022 Faith A. Watkins and James N. Watkins
I loved the book! As a family medicine physician, I believe the body is all connected—it does not stop at the neck. Just as we would address and treat a thyroid condition, heart disease, or diabetes, so we also treat mental health conditions through therapy, medications, or both. Not acknowledging our mental well-being can have a pronounced effect in the rest of the body. For those who most need to hear them, James’ and Faith’s refreshing words are encouraging, authentic, and most of all, life-giving.
Dr. Dawn Lagerkvist, MD
Jim has done it again! From happy to hot mess, he rants, raves, and is ridiculously funny. He and his therapist daughter talk us off the ledge in this layover called life. Whether we are at our wits end or whimsically skipping, swirling and twirling through a field of weeping willows, this book will knock your fuzzy socks off!
Motivational Speaker, writer, and co-director of the Christian Communicators Conference
The father and daughter team of James and Faith Watkins provide very practical and instructive
answers to many mental health issues that need our attention. Their use of healing humor and insight will change how you see yourself. Your walk with God and your mental health will never be the same.
Dr. Tim Mills
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
By just reading the table of contents, I knew this book was going to be good. They get it, I thought. Brilliant! Funny! Each honest, relatable, and transparent chapter cuts through the stigmas and lies with a good dose of truth plus plenty of hope and humor. The theologian and therapist team provide readers with thought-provoking, positive, and practical comfort in knowing they are not alone as they battle their unseen enemies.
Popular conference speaker and author of The Power to Be
Praise the Lord and Pass the Prozac is an important book for those struggling with mental illness, their families, caregiving professionals, faith leaders, and church members. James’ humor and the biblical, personal, and compassionate perspective provide hope in a space that has been dark in the church for a long time. His daughter, Faith, a licensed clinical social worker provides professional and personal next steps in the reader’s journey.
Brenda L. Yoder
Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC)
Licensed School Counselor, and former teacher
Author of Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind,
Co-host of the Midlife Moms podcast
This often-funny, yet well-researched book is based on the authors’ personal experiences with mental health issues, historical heroes beset with depression, and God’s Word. The biblical insights and quirky tidbits of trivia from Jim and practical prescriptions for mental health from Faith will set you free to love your imperfect self and accept God’s perfect love.
Author of The Heart of Humor, motivational speaker, and fellow-wrestler with depression
As a mental health clinician for the past twenty years, I found this book to be inspiring. For too many years individuals with mental illness have suffered in silence and the church has not done a great job of coming alongside those on this journey. It’s time to “normalize” mental illness and understand that God has an amazing purpose for your life, and this book hit the mark. I literally could not put the book down and loved the humor and practical application. This father and daughter team showed it’s okay to not be okay and how God will use mental illness for his glory. I will definitely be using this book as a resource.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
National Suicide Prevention Lifelife
The Prozac playlist
Beautifully Broken Plumb
Blessed Laura Story
Breathe Again Danny Gokey
Even If Mercy Me
Fighting for Me Riley Clemmens
Hold You Tight Dan Bremnes
I Know Big Daddy Weave
Life is Hard (But God Is Good) Pam Thum
Scars I Am They
Still Hillary Scott
Thy Will Hillary Scott
Wonderful Life Matthew West
You Say Lauren Daigle