I had a nervous breakdown during my second enlistment in the Navy. I wonder if I suffered a spiritual death, even though I had already accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Is that possible?
No, you have not experienced a spiritual death. We are born into this world spiritually dead. We are made spiritually alive when we believe in Jesus. That is, we start trusting and depending on Him to forgive us of all our sins. If you are not sure that you are a Christian, you may want to look at the section called “True Christian?” It provides a list of the marks of a true Christian. Christians cannot lose their salvation, not even from nervous breakdowns.
A nervous breakdown is not a psychological problem but a foundational problem. The foundation has become badly damaged. People deal with the foundations of their lives in different ways. All of us have some anxiety from time to time. Prov. 12:25 tells us what most of us know by experience.
Anxiety in the heart of a man weighs it down, but a good word makes it glad. (NASB) Prov. 12:25
We are often encouraged by someone at the time we need it. We may be worried about our work, our spouse, our parents, or something else. But when our supervisor, our spouse, or someone has a kind word, our anxiety can disappear. However, if the issue is sin, we need to honestly and seriously confess our sins to God.
But the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud. “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.” (NASB) Isaiah 57:20-21
Ultimately, the real issue is not “broken” nerves, a bad marriage, or sin. These are symptoms of a deeper issue. I have repaired cracks in three walls of my house only to find that they came back after awhile. When they came back, I discovered that I had not fixed the problem. I had treated a symptom. The real problem was a crack in the foundation. Larger cracks are symptoms of a more serious problem in the foundation. So it is with us. Some of us “keep busy” with good things, maybe hobbies, work, or whatever. This is like patching and painting the walls or putting up wall paper. But ultimately it is a spiritual problem. The cure is to confess our sins and trust God no matter what our situation may be. Sometimes we just lack faith in God. Now that can really cause a nervous breakdown. The cure is to ask God to help us trust in Him.
He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds. (NASB) Psalm 147:3
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. (NASB) Prov. 3:8-9
My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body. (NASB) Prov. 4:20-22
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. (NASB) Isaiah 26:3
May I encourage you to spend as much time reading and meditating on God as you can. Read His Word not by the minutes but by the hour. Confess your sins. Do not separate yourself from others (Prov. 18:1) but meet with other Christians. Ask Him to help you trust Him and most of all fix your eyes on your firm foundation – Jesus!