My Soul Balm’s First Ever Creative Contest Winners!

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Recently on our Facebook Page, My Soul Balm hosted our first ever creative contest.

The topic was “what’s one important thing you wished people understood about mental illness”

We called for submissions and boy did they not disappoint! We got some truly incredible subscriptions and it was hard to choose a winner. After careful deliberation, I ended up choosing two pieces that really spoke to me.

Thanks so much to everyone who entered! We will definitely be holding this competition next year with a new topic!

Winner #1 – Andrea Arceneaux for her personal essay on mental health stigma in the Christian Community

About the author:

Andrea is a mom, mental health advocate, and proud Christian. She relies on on a combination of faith, science, and community support to navigate the ups and downs of Bipolar Disorder. Andrea uses her 24 years of lived experience with Bipolar to help others live their best life with their disorder AND to educate the world about Bipolar on blog post at a time.

You can find her at My Big Fat Bipolar Life as well as on Facebook and in her support group The Light Brigade.

About the submission:

Andrea is often frustrated with the stigma against both mental illness and mental health in the Christian church. She wants others to understand that mental illness isn’t a moral failing and that it’s okay to get professional help.

Andrea wants the world to know you can be a great Christian and take care of your mental illness in an informed way.

Andrea’s Submission:

If you have read my blog, My Big Fat Bipolar Life, you probably already know that I am a Christian. But what you may not know is that I am not a cookie-cutter Christian. 

I’m a messy Christian. I fight with Jesus. A lot. 

I don’t understand the whole mental illness thing. Why so many people have to suffer. Why I have to suffer.

But even more than that. Why people in the church are so ignorant about mental illness.

So, here I am dusting off my soapbox to rail about one of my hot-button issues.

As a Christian bipolar disorder awareness blogger, I desperately wish people in the Christian community understood that you can’t pray away mental illness.

Mental illness is a medical condition, not a spiritual shortcoming, and seeking professional help does not demonstrate a lack of faith.

In fact, I believe seeking professional help demonstrates exactly the opposite.

God created science and medication for a reason, and I personally believe He wants those of us who struggle with mental illness to embrace all the treatment options at our disposal.

When those who struggle when mental illness fall into the trap of believing the “pray away mental illness” mentality, it leads to disastrous—and often dangerous—consequences.

So, as I stand on my stand on my soapbox today, I implore everyone in the Christian community, and beyond, to internalize the fact that mental illness—and other mental health concerns—are not spiritual shortcomings you can pray away. PERIOD.

Winner #2 – Mary Morran for her illustration on the divide between mental illness sufferers and the rest of the world

About the artist:

Mary is a lifelong artist and student of the arts. She taught art for 25 years at a Montessori school and helped many young artists get their start (including myself). Currently, Mary is an informal artist in residence at Vale Church, providing visual aides to enhance the worship experience.

Mary is also a single mother to three adult children who struggle with mental illness. She believes art has been incredibly helpful in order to support them (and herself) through tough times.

About the submission:

Inspired by the modern art style of Alexander Calder, Mary provides us with an image that describes how hard it can be for those without mental illness to understand those who struggle with it.

She often feels sad that there’s an invisible barrier that stops both groups from connecting.

She wants the world to know that people with mental illness are human beings just like everyone else and deserve to be treated as such.

Congratulations to our Winners!

Thanks again to all our participants and a big congratulations to our contest winners! They will be receiving a $20 Amazon gift card and a limited edition My Soul Balm “Star Maiden” sticker.

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