The thick, black darkness creeps toward you. You’re petrified and confused as you try to figure out what’s happening. You’re exhausted, feeling like you want to give up and accept your fate as the darkness envelops you. You feel so much pain.
But you’re not alone.
In fact, the CDC reports, “More than 50% [of people] will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime.” Whether you’ve experienced trauma or have no idea what causes your pain, your experience matters, and there are many who understand.
The podcast Mental Health with Dr. Melissa Mork was built on that fact. Dr. Mork’s goal is to destigmatize mental health, especially within the Christian community. By interviewing those who struggle with various mental illnesses, she hopes to send the message that you are not alone, and there is hope.
“I had no intention of doing any podcasts,” Dr. Mork stated. Already an accomplished psychologist, speaker, and professor, her schedule was hectic. She was more than content with her current lifestyle.
The first glimmer of a podcast came when a video on her TikTok went viral. When HBO reached out about a podcast, Dr. Mork was taken aback. The idea had never dawned on her, and she didn’t think she wanted to start a podcast.
Yet, after denying HBO’s offer, Dr. Mork couldn’t help but think about it. What would her podcast look like?
When the University of Northwestern – St. Paul asked her about starting a podcast for Wow God, Dr. Mork found herself excited to accept. She knew that Wow God aligned with her values, and she felt more freedom to be herself with these people who would come alongside her and teach her how to get started.
Dr. Mork already knew a variety of people with various struggles—she was a psychologist, after all. Ultimately, what compelled her was the mission of relating to others and normalizing mental illness. And so, she began to venture out on this mission.
First, she created a Facebook post asking people if they were willing to share their personal stories of mental illness. She found that there were a lot of people ready to share. Dr. Mork was thrilled.
After sifting through each message, she planned out which guests she wanted to interview. She began to understand that each person’s story is so unique that even if she interviewed one person about an illness, there was value in another person’s struggle with that same illness.
In this podcast, Dr. Mork hopes that “the listener is going to hear their own story be told.” Delving into these often “taboo” topics can help normalize the struggle. When people can relate, perhaps they can feel relief and begin to acknowledge their own pain.
People who suffer from mental illness are regular people. We are all broken, and “that shared narrative can carry so much power in healing,” said Dr. Mork.
On the podcast, Dr. Mork walks through her guests’ symptoms and the impact that this illness has had on their loved ones and on themselves. And most importantly, Dr. Mork enables them to tell their story.
As the podcast develops, Dr. Mork said that she doesn’t “need to tie it up with a happy bow.” Mental illness is an ongoing battle. But what is vital to the podcast is the question, “Where is Jesus in all of this?”
The answer is that He is right there. God loves the ones who are in pain. Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” In 1 Kings 19, God cares for Elijah, who was suicidal, terrified, and depressed.
Romans 8:38-39 states: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
If nothing else seems possible, you can always trust in the God who is endlessly faithful to His beloved people. If you are struggling today, take those verses to heart and let them rest in your soul.
You are never alone.
The darkness surrounds you in its suffocating grip. From within your trembling soul, you see a flickering light. You realize the light cannot be snuffed out—no matter what. And as others gather around your faint little fire, they hold out their flames until the blaze begins to grow.
It might take time, but you can heal. With love from others and Christ holding you, you will realize that you’ve always shone brightly.
To take part in the healing process with Dr. Mork and her guests, you can listen to Mental Health with Dr. Melissa Mork.
If you’d like to learn more about Dr. Mork’s story, you can read this article.