I Samuel 16 finds us listening to the young, brave and talented David creating songs and music to play to the God he loved so much. Might seem suprising that this young annointed King as a boy was just a shepherd and killer of beasts; he could play a mean harp and was a musical genius; even though his current audience was a flock of sheep.
At this same time King Saul (whom David would replace later on in life) began disobeying God’s words and a terrible mental torment plagued him. He was miserable and moody most of the time. There were times it seemed he was losing his mind and a horrible madness would come across him.
The attendants and servants of Saul noticed a pattern in the mood swings. Whenever someone sang or played music; Saul became at peace and his troubled soul was eased. After pointing this out to King Saul he said “Find me someone who can sing and play very well. Bring him to me. Let me listen to his music because it chases away the madness and sadness.
One of the men claimed he had seen a young man, a son of Jesse in Bethlehem, who could not just play well, but was handsome and a great conversationalist. Also, not only can he rock out a harp, but he is brave and his fighting skills match his musical skills.
Then King Saul sent a note to Jesse, David’s father. He said: “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep. Let him come and play before me.”
So David came before Saul with a gift and immediately Saul loved him. David just had that way about him. Everyone who met David loved him (except for Goliath – that meeting didn’t go too well) So David played his harp and sang his songs about the goodness and glory of God and Saul was cheered. All the crazy took flight and were swept away to the tunes.
Saul liked David so well that he made him his armor-bearer; and David carried the shield and spear and sword for Saul when the king was before his army. But Saul did not know that David had been anointed to be King by Samuel. If he had known it, he would have been very jealous of David and the whole musical/armor-bearer position would have ended in a pink slip of dismissal of the job position.
Of course we don’t know for sure, but it seems to me that King Saul fought a mental illness. It was discovered that music could set the mood to happiness and chase away the crazy illogical thoughts.
Not all of us can hire a personal harp player when we get to feeling bad, but we can learn things that make us happy and practice those when we start feeling depressed, angry, moody or manic. It’s called self-care…not selfish. (as many would like to claim when we begin to focus on ourselves.)
I personally have a room I call my “sanctuary.” It’s where I lock myself in when I am struggling. It’s a Florida room that has windows everywhere, because looking outside at the birds and the horse make me happy. There is not TV because I don’t care for the distraction. I do have music though – only spiritual, uplifting or instrumental only. My knitting, sewing, coloring pages (seriously) and books are in there. It’s my happy place and my family respect my need for being alone in my happy place. (although I let them use it when they are getting moody)
If you are struggling with mental health, I urge you first to seek a therapist (I adore my visits with mine even though she makes me cry sometimes) take medication to help if it is recommended. (Find what works and be honest if it is not working or has side effects you don’t like) Have a support group that you can be honest with your mood swings that will be willing to stand beside you (even if you think you need to be alone – we were created to be communal – nobody really likes being alone. That is a control mechanism to prevent further chaos in life – yeah….that’s right, I went there.)
Also know that you are not alone. The Bible mentions a whole slew of people that had mental health issues when we look back at them. This goes back to the beginning of time and up to today. You are not struggling alone, but you must be very real, raw and honest about how you feel (you won’t be judged – you will be diagnosed) and you will learn the steps towards a mentally healthy life and the struggle will ease for you.
Or hire a young handsome boy to come play a harp and sing songs for you…I don’t care, just don’t do NOTHING.
Focus on self care and know that it is not being selfish; self care makes you a better person for all the other persons you have to deal with.