Mental Health

 I googled “what triggers a tension headache” 

The response I read from Medline Plus was: “Tension headaches occur when neck and scalp muscles become tense or retract. The muscle contractions can be a response to stress, depression, head injury, or anxiety.”

3/4 I have. Guess it’s not sinuses. 

I haven’t felt good the last few days. I thought maybe a virus. But then I also thought maybe just stress that indeed does weaken the immune system.

I honestly think I’m out of touch with my emotions in a way. Trauma is one of the blames for that. I hear a gunshot or I read about the war going on in Port Au Prince and I have to quickly just put it to the back of my brain so I can get through the day. Mentally. But physically I think it does more damage than I want to admit. And with feeling like you always have to be strong, be alert, be organized, be ready, be prepared because the kids and the ministry and the emails and everything else is pulling you in every direction- eventually, the pain catches up. Hence why I’m pretty sure I’ve been feeling sick. 

So when my 3 year old niece sends me voice clips saying… “I hope you don’t get hurt, Aunt Ellie. I love you, Aunt Ellie. Come see me soon, Aunt Ellie”

… the flood gates open and that tension headache goes from a 5 to a 10 and the world seems to be falling apart but you feel like you have to keep it all together because my stress is nothing compared to my neighbors stress so I shouldn’t even be stressing… but I am allowed to “feel” right? Or maybe that’s why my brain always pushes my emotions to the back. Because, reality is, it could always be worse. And when you’re surrounded by poverty you want to just remember how good you have it. 

“Don’t let the stress get to you, Ellen… have faith.” But it does get to me. And that’s ok. Because I’m allowed to feel. I’m human. And I’m allowed to still be growing. That’s the beautiful thing about Jesus. All of our emotions matter to Him. He doesn’t compare us to others. We matter individually to Him. It’s ok to not be ok. That’s not a lack of faith if we’re willing to learn to trust Him through it all and take our weariness to Him. 

I texted a friend and said “this place is loosing it” 

Gang on gang war in the city. No one can safely travel which means street vendors selling food can’t sell, hospitals can’t receive patients, doctors can’t travel to hospitals, gas can’t be delivered. When was the last time we even had gas at the pump? Thousands are running from their homes, fleeing for safety with the only belongings they now have being what’s on their back and as they watch humans be murdered and houses be burnt and devastation and tragedy and fear and trauma and poverty surround them so deep I’m not even sure how they are still above water. 

The emotions are extreme here. The stress is high for the missionaries and expats and in different ways for the Haitians who’ve dealt with the insecurity and the instability their whole lives. 

I don’t have a happy ending to this story. It’s just my heart poured out on paper. My diary that maybe I should just keep to myself. Showing my heart and my struggles and my fears so no one dare thinks I always have it all together. 

So how should we fix all this? How can we overcome our emotions so our emotions don’t overcome us? 


He is our solution. He is our happy ending. He is where our peace comes from. When things start to get sketchy in these brains of ours, put your thoughts on Him. He is sovereign. He is good. And He always has a plan. Rest in that. 

So today I pray for strength and peace. For this country and for yours, and for everyone that feels stressed, depressed, anxious, burnt out, chewed up, overwhelmed, mentally tired. You’re allowed to feel. See a therapist. Take a break. Recognize those feelings and then keep your mental health in check so that you can continue on continuing on. 

You’re stronger than you think and in Jesus, with his strength, we can and we will overcome all the fears and anxieties and stress that this world throws at us. 

Your feelings are valid. Now hand them over to Jesus to heal. 

Gods got this which means we’ve got this too.  

Louie Giglio once said: 

 “Worship and worry cannot occupy the same space; they can't both fill our mouths at the same time. One always displaces the other. We can either speak doom and destruction, kicking our worry and stress into high gear. Or we recount the size and character of the Almighty, releasing our outcomes to Him and centering our thinking in His sovereign plans.”



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