Anthony Evans shares his mental health journey in new book

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Play injured. That’s how Anthony Evans, a former professional football player and Christian author and speaker, describes living with major depression and anxiety, a personal journey he shares in his recently published book, “When Faith meets therapy”.

In the introduction to the book, Evans, son of pastor, speaker and author Tony Evans, writes, “I began a long downward spiral into functional depression and anxiety.

He soon realized that what he was taught in church about mental health wasn’t quite enough to deal with his issues, so he decided to seek help.

After working with Stacy Kaiser – a nationally recognized licensed psychotherapist – Evans decided to share her experience and the practical solutions she taught him.

Practical solutions

The therapy helped his faith, showing him practical solutions for difficult areas, he said, and he wanted to share his experience to help others in the same situation.

“’Don’t worry about anything.’ For some of us reading this, we need tools to not be anxious,” Evans said.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health was a widespread issue. Since then, with the impact of financial and social complications, mental health problems have only increased.

However, many Christians are reluctant to ask for help because they feel it suggests something negative about their faith.

“There seems to be this stigma of therapy in some circles,” Kaiser said. “Our intention is to try to break down that stigma and tell people that you really can find a counselor who can give space to your faith and all that is important to you, while finding practical tools to improve your life and overall happiness.”

And, she added, a person doesn’t have to tell anyone they’re looking for advice.

“New Way”

When Evans realized he needed help, he was among those hesitant to seek therapy.

“I just had to get to the point where it was like, OK… what other people think of you has gotten you to the point where you’re functional, but your heart is constantly heavy and you can barely control yourself because you’re ‘I I’m worried about what other people think,” Evans explained. “So how about trying a new path, because it’s not working.”

Another barrier to seeking therapy can be the shame of feeling like a Christian should have it all, Evans said.

“Shame sabotages grace,” he said. “So allowing certain scenarios that make you feel very, very ashamed will sabotage grace and stop you in your tracks.”

“There’s no shame in admitting you need help. There’s no shame in the blind man saying, “I can’t see Jesus.” Can you perform a miracle?’ There was no shame with the woman with the blood problem spreading and touching Jesus – there was no shame with it.

Believers too often let worries about what others will think of them get in the way of self-care, Kaiser said.

“People get caught up in ‘Oh, I’m supposed to pray for this to pass’ or ‘Oh, my family will judge me,'” Kaiser said, and as a result, “they don’t care about meeting their needs. .”

This is how Evans initially reacted to his depression and anxiety. He continued to work in public, sharing the hope of Jesus, even though he felt he was dying inside.

“There are athletes who can wrap an ankle and go out on the courts to play,” Evans said. “Finally, I [realized] that there would be a bigger injury if I continued to play injured. If I kept playing and fixing my issues, there would be a major outage.

Looking back, Evans said he wished he had gone to therapy sooner and added his helpful tools to his toolbox of faith.

This is one of the reasons why each chapter of the book ends with a thought-provoking prompt from Kaiser. The prompt gives the reader something to think about or use as a starting point for journaling.

The book is “not just story time,” Evans said.

‘Wise advice’

To those who say therapy has no role in the church, Evans offers a different perspective. The scriptures are about seeking wise counsel and good company, he said.

“I don’t think there is any rule against seeking practical help from someone who has been trained in the workings of the mind and recognizes the faith to find a way to solve this problem. . …I have seen God multiply my efforts in therapy by adding practical tools to His word.

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