Giving a Voice to the Silence offers positive angles to the issue that faces those with mental illness. Living with Schizo-Affective Disorder and being able to share my experiences with others, is the best way I know how to pay it forward. Life can be difficult, my goal is to bring a bit of hope to a place where many feel there is none.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mental Illness and Faith

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I can remember it like it was yesterday what I friend told me while I was in the psych hospital – She sat with me that afternoon for what I was hoping for comfort, for prayer, for her to understand and continue our friendship. Didn’t happen. Instead I heard……..

“You lied to me, your life is out of control and you told me, convinced me that everyone was against you. What is and was against you is Satan, your illness and depression is only because of your lack of faith and lack of prayer.”

I sat there in shock and disbelief with a broken spirit. This woman, who I had trusted, was a strong Christian and had taught me many things, suddenly turned her back on me because I was in a psychiatric hospital.

What did her statement really say about her faith and belief in God? I think the Casting Crowns say it best in one of their first songs, “If We are the Body.” It tells the story of how those who believe and are called to spread God’s word are neglecting those who truly need a shoulder, faith and someone to believe in them.

This simple statement turned me against the church, once again. I believed in God and part of me wanted to continue believing, but I had been told by his “faithful” that I was not worthy of His love, because I was “sick.”

It would be four years before I took the leap again, trying to trust a new group of friends, the faithful who followed God’s word. Didn’t judge and actually helped me to find my faith and to know my illness was not a result of a lack of faith, but a medical condition and that God will give me the strength to face each day.

What are some things people have said to you when it comes to you illness, no matter what it is? Are they understanding? Are they rude and hostile?

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1 comment:

  1. The problem is that mental illness poses a paradox for believers, as it is the mind, which is supposed to be perfect, which is affected. Phrases such as 'god never gives out more than you can handle' and 'god is fair' fall apart when faced with mental illness. Thus, the only way that they can sustain their faith is to somehow see it as your fault, as you either deserve it or faked it or your possessed.

    Which is a load of bull really, but what can you do?