Jill Nutter/Jillian Kent

Secrets of the Heart, The Ravensmoore Chronicles, Book One is Jillian Kent’s debut novel that released in May 2011. Jill is fascinated with human behavior and how our minds work, and understands the mind, body, and spirit connection. She is a full-time counselor for nursing students and possesses a masters degree in social work. Jill is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors and is passionate about mental health and wellness and stomping out the stigma of mental illness which is evident in her novels. You can reach her at jill@jilliankent.com and explore her website at www.jilliankent.com, and the website for the national alliance on mental illness is http://www.nami.org/

The Well Writer

Are You A Healthy Writer?

When I read the June issue of Christian Fiction Online Magazine, I noticed the little star that read: “Do you have any ideas for a column? Or is there something you’d like to see in the magazine?”

Silly me. I told Bonnie, “I think we should start a column called the ‘Well Writer.’” So now I’m heading it up. A team of writers will address important issues of concern to writers, including our health needs. If you have a particular subject you would be interested in reading about, let me know.

Even as a counselor who knows better, it’s not easy to take care of myself. I know what I should do, but being human I don’t always do it. Sound familiar? If taking care of yourself usually shows up on the bottom of your to-do list, it’s time to make a change. Women especially are at risk for depression because we tend to be the first line of defense in our families to take care of others but not ourselves. Men are vulnerable as well. As a licensed Independent Social Worker counseling nursing students, I deal with mental health issues every day. But what many of us don’t question until we get depressed or suffer from anxiety is what does mental health look like? What is the definition of mental health as opposed to mental illness? Dictionary.com defines mental health as”:

1. psychological well-being and satisfactory adjustment to society and to the ordinary demands of life.

Another definition of mental health is the absence of disease and the enjoyment of life. I like to say the absence of dis-ease. Just like any other part of the human body, the mind can have illnesses. (You can read about them at the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Help stamp out the stigma against those with mental illness just by becoming informed and sharing your knowledge.) Jesus taught about and demonstrated mental health when he would get away from others to pray. One of the best things we can do for ourselves is to take Matthew 11:28 to heart and go to Him. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (NIV).

Too often in this turbulent, fast-paced world, we are tempted to try to solve our problems by ourselves. God wants us to turn to Him for advice, to use the wisdom of the Bible, and to utilize the training of those He put on earth to help others. God created us for community and not to isolate ourselves when we experience trouble.

We can relieve stress in our lives by many methods (my top pick is massage). Other effective strategies are 1) Talking about your problems with someone you trust; 2) Praying and seeking God’s wisdom for your particular concerns; 3) Setting healthy boundaries

(in other words, saying no). (See Boundaries: When to Say YES When to Say NO to Take Control of Your Life, Dr. Henry Cloud, and Dr. John Townsend); and 4) Exercising, which releases endorphins and helps you feel better.

One of the biggest mental health disorders that we all know something about and many writers suffer from is depression. Did you know that Sir Winston Churchill suffered from depression? He called it his Black Dog (http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/).

British folklore talks about a ghostly black dog with large glowing eyes. This made me wonder if that was the thought behind Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles. I have not researched that idea but made a quick run of the question on the Internet and found, not surprisingly, that Conan Doyle did suffer depression after his wife and several other family members died.

There are many mysteries yet to be solved regarding the human body. The health of the spirit is also related to the health of the brain. Please remember that the brain is part of the body, and those who suffer with any type of mental illness are due the same respect as anyone who has cancer, diabetes, thyroid disease, etc. Taking care of you means taking care of your brain, too. How are you going to take care of you and your brain health this year? I’m lacing up my sneakers now.


Secrets Of The Heart