It was a perfect storm of a marriage disaster, writes Erin Ramachandran in her new book. Her husband Keith was experiencing multiple mental health conditions, including PTSD, depression and severe Obsessive Compulsive Disease (OCD). His compulsive re-occurring behaviors, such as hours of ritual cleaning, were worsening to the point that living with him was affecting her own mental health. Yet the author believes God brought the two together permanently —and uses marital challenges to transform lives.
This book is the author’s story and self-help plan for Christians to walk alongside their spouses with similar mental health challenges and become what she calls “Mental Health Strong.”
A mental health director at one the nation’s largest not-for-profit health plans with an MS in healthcare administration, Ramachandran is well positioned to provide resources she feels can help Christians sustain challenging marriages. She shares her story to lessen the shame individuals feel when dealing with mental health conditions such as OCD and hopes that people of faith will use their mental health challenges to grow in their walk with Christ.
Along with techniques that enable the couple to do things like get to church or a party on time, the author dives into her own success in setting boundaries and using other self-care methods when her husband chooses unhealthy behaviors. For example, she won’t delay eating her dinner when Keith is stuck in rituals. A large section of the book is devoted to extensive self-care steps and charts. Ramachandran also includes Christian song lists, biblical verses and prayers, techniques for setting boundaries, crisis and healthcare team plans—and even useful empathetic phrases.
While she says those without faith can benefit from her perspective, Biblical Christians will be most comfortable with her mention of Bible study partners seeing demons in Keith and other inclusions that depend on a literal reading of the Bible.
For this audience, the book is a valuable resource for the challenges of living with mental health disorders.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.