Faith in Mental Illness

Firstly, I need to say that I am speaking solely from my own experience. For me, faith is profoundly personal. For all that I am a member of what can be considered a global faith – Christianity – we as Christians are encouraged to read and interpret God’s word through our own experiences as well as the words of wisdom that can come weekly from the pulpit. This makes our faith extremely personal and – at times – can be very confrontational to others even within our own church and tradition communities.

We are all on a journey.

This part of my journey was never anticipated. I am ashamed to say that I was under the impression that because I have always known who I was; that I was loved and treasured and had worth and meaning, that the black hole that was any sort of mental illness would have no hold on me.

Oh how wrong I was.

My first brush with mental illness was when I was a teenager. I developed Anorexia. I remember a person telling me that it was about a boy, and it is always about a boy. I would love to say that is absolute garbage, but I can’t. What I can say is that it wasn’t all about a boy.

I can look back on those years and know why I did what I did and where that compulsion came from. Due to certain circumstances I forgot my worth, or at least I no longer believed in it. I turned my focus away from God to man and found myself very, very wanting. Not eating was a form of abuse, self harm, and being praised for the results… I never was worried about not eating – or at least eating the amount that I was. I am a woman of small stature but even I know that I am not supposed to be less then 50 kilos. At my worst I was 46 and my older brother could stand in front of me, wrap his arms around me and connect his fingers together again at his own navel.

I wasn’t worried about it and in the end I didn’t have too. At about the time my Mum was starting to threaten me with hospital (she will tell you she wasn’t – I knew she was thinking about it), God healed me.

I didn’t ask him too (Mum did that – she is an amazing prayer warrior), He just did it. Overnight, like a switch in my head was turned from on to off. I woke up and started to eat; normally, sensibly and freely.

Over the course of my life I have gotten huge. Over 100kg (which is a lot for a small statured person such as myself) but never once have a considered going back to where I once was – which is unusual, from what little I have read, for other people who have recovered from Anorexia. It is because of this I know that I was supernaturally healed.

On a side note – and this can sit well with people or drive them insane – I have no problem with believing in faith healing. I have seen it happen, has happened to me, and yes, there are a lot of down right rotten no good people who prey on the faith of others and are charlatans. I am also a HUGE advocate for our modern medicine. Vaccinations rock. Surgery, blood donations, organ donations. In my mind God has been so good to the scientists and doctors, guiding their hands to these amazing life giving discoveries.

My second encounter with mental illness – my mental illness – has not been the same story. Anxiety has been a dark, dark well. I am not ‘healed’ from it. From time to time it visits again. But for a very, very long time it was all that I lived and breathed. If I wasn’t in the process of having an attack, I was fearing having an attack or trying to prevent having an attack.

As I said before, I did seek help during this time – at least not until it fully manifested during the daylight hours – and even then I did not choose to take medication. I opted for counselling and prayer. Unlike with my initial experience with mental illness, where I pulled away from God, during this time I ran right to him.

I would love to say that He was there, that I felt that love and knowingness and surety that I needed to feel, but I didn’t.

And this is the point of this post. Just because I didn’t feel Him, did not mean He was not there, right with me, right in the midst of all my pain.

I remember crying out one night when I had not slept for almost three days, “I can’t feel you, Lord. But I know you are here. I know it. I know you are right here beside me and you know my pain. I just wish I could feel you here.”

There is a passage of scripture that springs to mind of a man who cried out to Jesus himself; “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:24). I have called those same words in their myriad of variations on many occasions, and there are times when in the valley there seems to be no response, however, I can attest to God’s presence even in that valley. For on the other side, once I had passed through all that darkness, and shaking and doubting, I could look back and see just how closely he had protected and held me, even when I could not feel it.

I know my husband has chosen to take on his mental illness with both science and faith. And my faith is with his, just as his is with me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Faith in Mental Illness

  1. Pingback: Resonate | Moiwren

  2. Pingback: My Food Confession | Moiwren

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