I’m Afraid Not—How to Move from Fear to Freedom

An Interview with Patsy Clairmont

Try to wrap your arms around this fact: One in four Americans suffers with long-term mental illness. No one speaks on the subject of mental illness like Patsy Clairmont . . . because she has lived through it. Having struggled for years, Patsy speaks openly, candidly, and truthfully about many aspects of her struggle—including what God has taught her and how others can have hope.

Patsy Clairmont
Patsy Clairmont

You or someone you know likely struggles with mental illness; it’s time we learn how to embrace one another with love and grace.

Patsy gives us hope.

Watch the Interview

What if a news report announced one in every four homes in your neighborhood would be burglarized next week? Let’s consider some ways you could respond:

  1. Pray that your home won’t be “that fourth one”
  2. Gossip with the neighbors about someone else’s home
  3. Disregard the report and consider it another news media scare tactic
  4. Be convinced nothing will happen—because you know enough about home security
  5. Do a little research and talk with your family about the best ways to protect your home and then implement the ideas that seem best for your family—maybe even work with a few other families and establish a neighborhood watch

I’m assuming most of us would choose option five! Nothing is perfectly secure, but taking steps to increase one’s security is wise.

Now, thinking about the 1-in-4 statistic, let’s examine an actual statistic that affects every neighborhood in America: one in four Americans suffers with long-term mental illness.

As with one in four homes, one person out of four is fighting an invisible battle. And most are fighting it alone. One extensive study conducted not long ago by LifeWay Research surveyed a random sample of Americans in regard to the topic of mental illness. Of those surveyed:

  • Forty-eight percent of self-identified evangelical, fundamentalist, or born-again Christians agree with the statement, “With Bible study and prayer ALONE, people with serious mental illness like depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia can overcome mental illness.”
  • Thirty-five percent of all surveyed agree with the statement, “With Bible study and prayer ALONE, people with serious mental illness like depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia can overcome mental illness.”
  • Americans who never attend church services are the least likely to agree that churches welcome those with mental illness.1Bob Smietana, “Half of Evangelicals Believe Prayer Can Heal Mental Illness,” LifeWay NewsRoom (accessed Jan. 19, 2015).

Interview Questions

  1. What affect did your phobia have on your life?
  2. How did God help you begin to help you fight your phobia?
  3. Why was doing the next right thing essential to regaining your mental health?
  4. How long did you wrestle with depression and fear?
  5. Why do we need to work at developing greater control over our emotions?
  6. How did coming to a place of humility help you mend your relationships?
  7. Why does it sometimes require courage to be vulnerable with others?
  8. How can we also be vulnerable in the church?
  9. How did God bring you hope and healing in the middle of your recovery?
  10. Why is it important to revisit past grief?
  11. Where do you turn when old fears resurface?

Let Me Hear from You

In this interview, we talked about many issues . . . acceptance, fear, truth, hope, grief, addictions, and pain. Patsy touched on one of the most powerful disciplines in life: choosing to focus our minds on what is right and true. While on earth, we will all struggle with countless struggles; how we handle these struggles makes all the difference. Clearly, God has given us a mind and His Word to direct us in every way.

Are you choosing to focus on His truth to guide you, or have you allowed your feelings to take over? What about those who wrestle with mental challenges such as depression, anxiety, fear, post-traumatic stress, or suicidal thoughts?

Maybe that person is you. The mind, like any organ in the body, sometimes becomes ill and requires help.

As a Christian, are you part of helping in that healing process? We would love to hear from you. If you are struggling, please know you are not alone and will not be rejected. You can also connect with Patsy through her blog, or you can find support through her many books and speaking engagements. Please reach out for help and hope.

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

About Patsy Clairmont

Patsy-ClairmontPatsy Clairmont is a respected speaker and writer. For more than 17 years, she has traveled with Women of Faith sharing her life through the gift of telling fabulous stories of human struggle with humor and hope. She has also authored many books including God Uses Cracked Pots, Normal Is Just a Setting on Your Dryer, Mending Your Heart in a Broken World, I Grew Up Little, I Second That Emotion, and many more. Her most recent work titled Twirl: A Fresh Spin at Life offers activities and choices that help lead people to joy and peace. Patsy and her husband Les reside in Tennessee.

To learn more about Patsy and her work, speaking, and writing, visit her Web site.

You can read and enjoy more of Patsy on her blog.

Insight for Living Ministries Resources

Topical Pages:

Other Resources

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness: NAMI the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, support, and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raise awareness and build a community for hope for all of those in need.
  • Mental Health Grace Alliance: Mental Health Grace Alliance is a Christian-based organization purposed to transform lives, communities of faith, and society through education, training, collaboration, small-group studies, and peer-provider support.
  • National Institute of Mental Health: NIMH is committed to research, education, publications, and helping people understand mental illness and find hope for healing.

Notes:   [ + ]

1. Bob Smietana, “Half of Evangelicals Believe Prayer Can Heal Mental Illness,” LifeWay NewsRoom (accessed Jan. 19, 2015).
  • Gina Marie

    Hello from England! This was SO great, thank you to you both.

    Stand outs for me were,
    “I wasn’t kind.”
    “If I can’t wait to get in your face to tell you the truth, I’m not the one who’s supposed to do it.”
    “We found out it’s better if God does the raising.”
    …and I’ll have to ask someone else, but I might be a barking dog also.

    Trying to find “An Exquisite Grief” too, you’ve mentioned it before I think.

    Thanks again, I continue to hold you up in prayer Colleen.
    Gina

    • Gina,
      Isn’t she one incredible lady!!!!!! I was speechless (which rarely happens) with some of her comments and wisdom. What a life and what a testimony to us all to never give up. God’s work is beyond what I can begin to comprehend; she is a walking example of that for sure. I’m so glad you loved it and yes, the quotes you put here were some of my favorites too…so right on. Weren’t her words on “kindness” incredibly powerful!!! I’ve heard similar from my husband to me so that jabbed right into the ol’ soul! So thrilled to hear from you! How was the conference you attended and how are the kids and your situation? Praying continually! Much love and appreciation for you my friend. Colleen

      • Gina Marie

        Great to hear back from you.

        The conference was great, exhausting but great. Was challenged, affirmed and connected. Many people suggested I write a book, speak more often and asked the name of the ‘author’ of the story I read. This is the link to the paper I presented and a link within to my story in case you’re interested.
        https://iamginamarie.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/the-familys-experience-for-the-educator-and-professional/

        Kids are doing well, I think. Learning to cook at home, started school here in the UK. Situation unchanged, hoping for clarity from this trip and for the rest of the year ahead.

        Hoping for some more settled times and less medical appointments in the year ahead for you and yours. Love and prayer to and for you. Gina

        • Gina,
          I can’t wait to read what you wrote and if other’s are suggesting you do more of it…go for it girl! That is fantastic. My prayer is the same for your family…that God’s peace would be a pervasive presence in and through you all and your home. Can’t wait to read your work. Thanks much, Colleen

  • Christian Counsel

    I am looking forward to listening to more about this. I have struggled my whole life with Mental illness. I became a Christian, but it didn’t just go away. Very few people understand it, in my experience (in the church) and most think that I must have some hidden sin in my life or I wouldn’t still be sick.. Pastor’s say it’s all a spiritual battle and once I recognize it as such, I can be healed…. Honestly I feel alone, and I hate this illness. I feel like a complete failure at life and Christendom and I struggle to just get through one day at a time. Apparently until God calls me home…

    • Dear Friend,
      I am so thankful you reached out and wrote of your experiences because I want you to know there is no judgment or harsh words here. I am so very sorry you have been hurt; on top of what you already endure, to have judgment and criticism thrown your way only causes deeper discouragement and damage. I am so, so sorry. I also want you to know I understand. I have my own struggles with anxiety and depression, and so many people wrestle with mental and emotional challenges. How I long for the day when we can, as Christians, pull together and offer support, structure, encouragement, tools, and help for those in need. How I long to have people who understand those who struggle are not a ‘diagnosis’….they are people made by God for a purpose that is valuable and transforming. Every life is of divine importance, label or not…by speaking to and about the issue I think change can begin. It is one of my major desires to bridge the gap of understanding and equip the church with tools and resources so the pattern of hurting one another is reversed. Until then, I hope you feel there is a place here where you are cared for and understood…that you are loved and accepted regardless of what is happening in or around you. You are not alone, you are loved. The fact that you have chosen to endure proves you are a survivor…not a failure. You are a determined, enduring person who has chosen to walk through the pain with hope. I pray you find hope and help every time we connect. On the Insight for Living Facebook Page (you can access that from the “resources” link on our main page), there are a ton of people who are understanding and will support you regardless. I’m so glad you found the interview with Patsy full of hope…I plan to offer several others this year that focus on the issue of mental health and the church. I hope you continue to connect here, it’s wonderful to meet you and to hear your words of honesty and sincerity. My prayer is that the darkness you feel will lift and light will fill your eyes once again. Until then, may the God of all comfort bring you peace and hope as you endure. In his grace and peace, Colleen