If you’ve stumbled onto this page you’ll notice it is a departure from my usual 80s-packed pages. Welcome, welcome, I’d like to share with you my testimony in the hopes that it will help others like myself and foremost, to bring glory to G-d.
You’ll know from my site I am a big 80s nostaglia fan and I particularly like 80s toys. I collect the original My Little Ponies along with other toy lines like Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, Rainbow Brite, Voltron, Silverhawks, He-Man, hey I love em all! I’m married, a full-time employee, owner of 8 animals, a homeowner, an artist and writer with works in print, and an avid gardener. I am also a mad, neurodivergent, mentally ill woman. And I am a Christian.
Now many times in my life, those last 2 things seemed utterly incompatible. If you grew up in the Western Christian church you likely heard the New Testament stories of Jesus casting out demons from people who had what modern historians feel was probably mental illness or epilepsy. You were likely exposed to the Christian view that mental illness was a curse for some personal or familial sin but at any rate, that its root was always spiritual- either from a curse or posession of a person by an unclean spirit.
I’m not going to get deep into theology here because I’m not an ordained person in the church so my knowledge is limited and I don’t want to give inaccurate information. But I do know my own testimony of the things G-d has done for me and as a Christian with a mental illness, I’ve had to go on quite a journey to come to the conclusion that we are not second-rate, unloved, unblessed Children of G-d. G-d has not cast us out nor forgotten us, and while the world will tell us we are less-than, crazy, simple, incompetent, immoral, unforgiveable and unworthy, I know from my own experience this is not true. If you’re reading this and have a mental illness or have contemplated or attempted suicide, I want you to know I’m talking right to you.
What I present here are the facts as I know them. You can take these facts and come to your own conclusion or interpretation.
I was raised in the Protestant church- from my earliest memories I was taken to church by whomever I was with at the time (my mother took me from my father when I was a baby and we ended up all over the place for some time). My family (now a collection of 7 parents and 6 siblings) was a mix of Pentacostal, Nazarene, Episcopal Methodist, Presbyterian, Zionist, Roman Catholic, Church of Christ, Baptist, Christian Missionary Alliance and Non-Denominational. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something in there, lol. We were 3x a week Church goers, my adoptive father was a youth group leader, my mother played piano and organ and I was in the choir and bell choir at various times. My grandparents were very traditional and I can recall my grandmother teaching me to cast out demons when I was 3 years old. When I was growing up, annointing in the Holy Spirit was a big part of healing.
When I was 8 my mother went to college to continue the nursing school she’d quit when she had me and found her passion to be psychiatric nursing. At the time this was really controversial- her family shunned her over this decision for some time, believing that psychiatry was blasphemous in that it supposed to be able to know the workings of the mind and have power over the mind. This concept was offensive because of the Christian equation of the conscious mind with the spirit – therefore only G-d could heal the mind. My mother took the view I do today- that science helps us understand G-d’s creation in terms we can digest. That is, within the scope of what we can perceive with both our physical senses, instruments and technology, and our intellect. It’s not an enemy but rather can be a help when used with appropriate respect to G-d.
So that’s my basic background but of course as many of us do, once I got out on my own and into college and away from a structured Christian life, I lapsed in a lot of things. And I also struggled with unregulated mental illness. At this point in my life I’d already had a couple of committments under my belt, a couple of suicide attempts and a family who wanted me exorcised as a last-ditch attempt to gain some stability. Because of the deep division over psychiatry in my family, I didn’t get into treatment nearly early enough so those first years did very little for me. College was punctuated by more suicide attempts, being thrown out of college because I was blamed for something I didn’t do (the accuser felt because I was on psychiatric medicine it would “prove” I was unstable and sure enough, an adult bought that), and more hospitalizations.
My biggest problem which had followed me all of my life from very early childhood was an eating disorder. If you can think of an eating disorder behaviour or tendency, I probably did it. I was overweight, underweight, “normal” weight, and extremely resistent to treatment. I couldn’t recall ever not having the screaming voice in my head telling me how worthless and fat and disgusting I was. One of my earliest memories is as a young toddler sitting underneath my grandmother’s kitchen table in a diaper eating a cheese sandwich because I was ashamed to be seen eating.
It always seemed like even if I got stable on my meds for Bipolar Disorder or got to a “normal” weight, my eating never followed. If you’ve ever been in eating disorder treatment you’ll recall that once you get to a goal weight you’re set free- it doesn’t matter how sick you still are, a hospital or facility is now done with you because treatment criteria are heavily dictated by insurance companies’ willingness to pay for length of treatment and the DSM’s historical definition of an eating disorder is basically based on weight– which in turn just makes people get sicker in order to get help to begin with and then require longer to get better. This is a vicious cycle I was caught in for years and when I had short periods of remission my behaviours got better but my thoughts were never healthy and it wasn’t long until I was right back in a hospital.
At my worst I was being fed through a tube threaded up my nose down into my stomach and eventually I would lose several teeth, hair and part of my colon to eating disorder effects. I had long periods of constant infections, had to get IV infusions and was in near-constant pain. Life with an eating dsorder is neither attractive or tolerable. So I just wanted you to understand the background here.
When I was 23 I became engaged and by the time I had turned 25 and we were a few months before the wedding, I’d had a bad depressive period which of course affected my eating badly. We were having issues and just before Christmas I overdosed and landed in the hospital. Because I was alone at the time and it took the medics a while to get to me, I was told in the ER I would not survive but they still had to try to save me. My stomach was pumped after several tries and I was left alone with no hope at all. Because it had been a suicide attempt, I am sure you are familiar with the attitude that I was taking a bed from someone who “deserved” it and I was told so. It struck me also that no spiritual support was offered- no one bothered to hook me up to be monitored and no priest was ever fetched. My family member was not allowed to come back to see me- I was told “He doesn’t want to see this.” (I knew that was not something he said- it was the opinion of the staff.)
I eventually felt myself fading away, sinking into the bed as if I were falling through the floor and I had the sudden realization I was dying. Panicking, I began to pray fervently for G-d to save me and as I looked down to the end of the bed I perceived a large, dark bird such as a raven watching me, waiting for me.
Now G-d has spoken to me throughout my life in various ways – sometimes through the words of others or music, sometimes through reading the Bible, on rare occasions through a sudden vision, but many times as a sudden rush of knowledge or insight, as if a whole concept had been downloaded into my mind and I knew it in full as if it had always been there. And I can only describe this as feeling like when you are in a dream and you know something for certain in the context of the dream.
So I suddenly perceived as if in a dream that I was being told to stop praying for my life (what!!) and to pray instead that G-d take my soul. I had like a split second of confusion and fear and then I perceived that my life was not important at that moment – not that my life was worthless but that there was battle all around me in the spirit-realm and what I was bring told to do was truth. So I began to pray to that end- that G-d take up my soul and guard it. And after I prayed for an unknown time, I felt the creature at the end of the bed disappear and it was as if my body was lifted up through the bed and returned. As I looked around me, I perceived I was being told something important about someone close to me- that when they lost a parent years before they nearly turned away from G-d and that my death at this time would have propelled them away from G-d and onto a path G-d didn’t want for them.
I suddenly felt intensely ill and pushed myself over the side of the bed, crawling eventually across the hall into the bathroom where I laid on the floor to cool myself down. My next memory was of waking in the CCU and the effect of my overdose hit in full. A nurse came and didn’t hide her disgust for me when she commented she had no idea how I was alive but that my bloodwork came back and somehow I had contracted what they called a pandemic virus (this was during both a new flu strain pandemic and the end of the first SARS pandemic) and this would absolutely kill me. I was put in medical isolation and the next few days were pure hell as my body went from complete numbness/ near-deaf and blindness to extreme sensitivity- but I lived. When I was discharged to the psychiatric ward, a nurse called out from the station as I was wheeled by that once I was strong enough to walk I better get down on my knees and thank G-d I was alive and almost more miraculously, that I hadn’t suffered what would have been certain organ damage.
At the time, I had a long way to go to get back to health. I did get married 4 momths later but at the time still wasn’t at a healthy weight from the months I lagged on after the virus. So I didn’t have much time to really contemplate what the experience meant for me personally. It would literally be a decade before I was in a similar place with a similar outreaching from G-d.
I’d been having trouble with my meds and was having mood swings again and when depression hit my eating followed and I was again underweight. Eventually I made the difficult decision to try ECT in order to circumvent another suicide attempt. This did not go as expected and if you’re at all curious about the process of shock therapy or you’ve gone through it and need support for its after-effects, I did write a book in 2017 you can get info on at LookLeftWalkGreen.com . I had profound cognitive effects that changed my life forever (and necessitated quitting work for a year to relearn how to dress myself and find my own house and read and walk steadily) and really did a number on my marriage from the permament memory loss. And I remember being devastated by all this and one night just calling on G-d to help me somehow put things back together because I was so helpless. And I perceived that I was being told to fight. Now I was at the point I would make myself stay up as late as I could so I didn’t have to wake up the next day and realise again that my life had gone so off track. I started falling asleep at work, I was a wreck.
During the next year it was very day by day for me and I would get up and tell G-d, “I’m gonna eat nails for breakfast” because to me that said I was making myself stronger- nothing would wear me down. And sometimes I’d just go to work and sob in the bathroom and go back and chat and laugh with my coworkers like I had it all together. And because I’d been raised with the idea that if my marriage was a mess it was obviously because I wasn’t trying enough or I’d “chosen” the wrong person (stupid me!), there was no way I was going to ask for professional help and tell my therapist how crap I was at life. And because I was surrounded by people who stuck to the stigma that we can never ever talk about shock therapy, nobody truly knew how damaging it had been to me or my husband and I found even in therapy groups, it was very taboo to speak of. So it was just me and G-d.
The years went by- I was evaluated eventually through cognitive testing outside of my health system and told it was evident I’d had a major brain event (while the medical system that treated me stuck by their guns that ECT does no such damage nor leave any permanent effects, which is why I did the research myself to write my book) but that I was an amazing individual in how I’d adapted so well and overcome the limitations, getting a job promotion when on paper I’d been expected to be fired for my lingering learning issues. I knew this hadn’t been just me- G-d had pulled me along from day to day when all that time I just wanted to sleep through every day.
Now while all this was going on, my husband and I were dealing with an overarching theme in our lives that had a whole lot of ups and downs, starts and stops, and a whole mess of disappointments. And in the middle of all this, we had 6 deaths among family and friends within 6 months. Both of us were stunned and when the last 2 big relatives in our support system passed right before Christmas, we ended up on an unplanned vacation overseas to my husband’s home country for a month to sort out his father’s estate. We had been under maximum stress at the time when this all went down and while the ECT had done great damage to me, I also did not have the swings in mood I had pre-ECT and with all the work G-d had been doing in me, taking all that awfulness in the years before and strengthening me through them, I was able to weather this all better than I ever had in my life with no hospitalizations or medication changes or issues.
But while we were waiting for the call to be able to get our flights sorted out for the funeral, I was exercising in the living room one afternoon by myself. I reached for the remote to turn the TV station and had an immediate vision. In this vision I perceived that I was being shown that something was going to happen amongst the family we were going to see and that the result of this was that it would put my husband on a path to develop as G-d intended him to. I was instructed strongly not to interefere- that whatever happened, I was not to get involved. There would be many possible outcomes, but the “best” one in G-d’s eyes would be derailed if I insinuated myself.
That was a very hard trip. I saw people acting very out of character and saw the damage that it did immediately and in the months after. As things dragged out, I terribly wanted to be involved. But I tried my best- and learned little by little- to be supportive but not enmeshed. And I did see the growth to the letter-sometimes in surprising ways and sometimes all at once and that growth continues today and is a blessing to see!
So back to that theme we were wrestling with- an opportunity came up in 2019 that we thought was the direct path to where we were longing to be and we pursued it. Then COVID happened and in one of the many far-reaching ways no-one could have predicted, it very much delayed any progress we’d had in 2019 with no end in sight. I can’t tell you for both of us how devastating that was at the time. On top of this, a very good friend of ours died by suicide late in 2020 and it totally rocked us.
The good thing to come out of that is that I had to walk away from mental health for a while- I felt the system had utterly failed him and I became very mistrustful of it. I saw the same crap going on that had been the problem 25 years before when I entered treatment and eventually I came back and became a big advocate for patients and used my art and writings to convey the experience of the mentally ill which lead to publishing successes for me.
In 2021 many things had resolved from COVID and we proceeded cautiously on our path, and as the year went on it looked like this was it- we had the green light and were getting cautiously excited (I feel like “cautious” is the motto of the COVID years and I’ll be overusing that word forever now , lol). I was praying daily for success and at times I felt like I was begging and that didn’t feel right. I also felt like the Spirit was trying to tell me something so finally I just asked what it was and the Spirit said clearly, “you must give up your eating disorder.”
Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Yeah, after all these years, my whole life actually, I’m just gonna scrub it out of myself. How is that even possible? It wasn’t something I asked for to begin with so how was I gonna “give up” something I couldn’t force to go? I retorted, “then take it from me!” And honestly didn’t think much more about it.
Fast forward about 6 months: 4 days before Christmas, the call came I never wanted to get. All our success and years of work were in the toilet- and all because of someone’s stigma against mental illness aimed at me.
That call brought our world to a very stark end and it boiled down to one person in a chain of people involved that looked at me on paper and judged me as unworthy because of my diagnosis. I was not permitted to defend myself or explain my history or clarify what I know in retrospect was a series of serious misconceptions and/or misunderstandings on their part and I was not allowed to appeal the decision or go to anyone higher. There had been no warning- no indication this was coming throughout many interactions. I remember having to be cleared as medically/psychiatrically stable by a doctor and therapist and my therapist of 25 years was just floored.
We walked away from that with absolutely no direction. It was just soul-crushing and we felt betrayed, judged, and very unloved by G-d. Yet, I felt so dead inside I couldn’t even yell at G-d for the injustice of it, particularly since I had worked so damned hard to work against stigma and counted that work as a source of pride. I had finally come to a place where I wasn’t ashamed of having a mental illness though I’d gone through a lifetime of shaming for it, and I was glad to help others come to that place. But this incident made me immediately ashamed and I seriously questioned my worth as a human being. I really felt like I’d been knocked into the ground and buried alive with no way of crawling out.
I remember at one point in the next day or so after this happened, getting down on my knees in front of the Christmas tree and ugly-crying over this. Then my husband had to leave town for his work and he left very early Christmas morning. I had been invited to a friend’s house for dinner right down the street but all morning I lay on the couch with our dog in the dark, thinking of a million excuses not to go. Eventually I couldn’t stand laying there anymore and went to go walk as I normally did daily anyway. As I walked, I began to pray and at some point I was turning off the sidewalk into a driveway and said in earnest to G-d ( and being desperate enough to mean it for once), “I need you to fix this and I will do anything you want. What do you want from me? Whatever it is, whatever it is you require or desire of me, take it! I only ask that you spare mine and my husband’s lives.”
Now I knew you cannot bargain with G-d – the Bible is clear we have nothing G-d needs. And I know that G-d doesn’t think like us so I threw in that last bit just in case! But I also knew from much experience that G-d often desires a change of heart from His children and that’s something we have to be willing to do, because we have Free Will, so G-d will not force us to change our hearts toward what He wants.
I had no idea what the thing would be, I just knew I was ready to give up control at that point. But at that moment, something lifted in me and I felt a strange sort of excitement. I’d known this feeling before and it usually preceeded something happening in my life. It often felt contrary to the circumstance – like I literally wanted to feel like crap because the situation was so fucking horrible but I couldn’t. I felt anticipation and because I recognised it, I asked the Holy Spirit, “Were you the one who directed me not to pray for my life those years ago?” And the answer was a resounding YES inside my soul (I have no idea why I felt to ask that some 17 years after the fact!). I began to praise as I walked and by the time I got home I was ready to go to dinner and I did and actually had a great time.
The next day I was sitting at the table putting a puzzle together and listening to the radio and as I looked out over the pieces searching for a border piece, I had a sudden flash of knowledge. Let me be straight here- I had grown up with the Christmas story and knew it inside and out. But I can honestly say I didn’t understand it until that moment and this is how I percieved it:
The story goes that the world was so evil it needed a Saviour, G-d sends Jesus to be born in a manger, grow up and die for our sins. But the older I got, the more I understood that the world has always been evil and pretty much stays on the same keel of horribleness as time goes on, so it was less about the literal state of the world at that time and more about the state of peoples’ hearts. But I understood that day that in the time of Christ, the people had become so distant from G-d, so unable to connect to him for their various reasons, that G-d had to make a move towards the people to preserve and grow that connection. So He became man and literally walked among His children to rekindle that relationship and give them a direct way to connect. Why not before then historically? Well I think that goes back to free will- we tend not to be open or to give up control until we’re desperate and on the verge of despondent. Humankind had gotten to the point of desperation – as the Bible says, the “sacrifices of G-d are a broken spirit…” Psalm 51:17
When I understood that, I received what they call the “peace that passeth understanding” and I can say that it was all-consuming and really didn’t make sense in the face of what was going on. I felt grateful this had been shown to me so I could understand finally the holiday I’d celebrated all my life. And I felt strongly like it was all ok and it was going to be ok. Around me in my actual life? Nothing was ok. This was a state of mind beyond choosing not to see the facts of my own life, it was a certainty in light of those things that overall, it would work out to my good somehow and I didn’t need to know at that moment how.
New Year’s Eve rolled up on us and I went out for my walk after I’d gotten everything ready for our usual festivities to clear my head and sort of look back over the year. I was still speaking with G-d about taking what He desired of me and I felt suddenly a very clear directive:
RUN TOWARDS ME, NOT AWAY FROM ME.
And I immediately said, “I don’t know how! I can’t!” And I felt I was being directed to pray with my husband, something we usually didn’t do because we were very private people and had been raised in different countries and traditions over this. But when it came time to kiss at the New Year’s Ball drop, we prayed the old year out and the new year in and I prayed that G-d would carry us because with all that had happened, we just weren’t able to run anywhere right then. I was very honest that I was having a real hard time trusting G-d right then, and we were looking for direction.
Now the next day, a strange thing happened.
I can only describe this as a shift in my perception that I hadn’t experienced before. As I was going about my usual eating disorder rituals and the usual thoughts that accompanied them hour by hour, I looked down at my plate and felt this extremely heavy weight upon me. In that moment I felt like I was being oppressed by the behaviours rather than being set free by them. So, if you’re familiar with eating disorders you will know that the behviours we develop around food make us feel like we’re keeping the terrorizing thoughts satisfied and therefore keeping them from destroying us mentally. This is false- we never do “enough” with the behaviours to appease the thoughts but that’s the whole disorder right there- this constant trying to escape your own head by damaging your body to the point of death.
For the first time it felt like my behaviours were the problem (like truthfully, and not just because everyone around me was loudly saying this for years- in my eating disordered thoughts I thought they either didn’t know the truth or understand that this stuff HAD to be done or were flat-out lying to me to trick me into gaining weight) and I literally just didn’t have the energy to continue. Again, if you’re familiar with eating disorders, you know one can be extremely sick and extremely exhausted physically but you’ll always muster some energy to obey those thoughts because you’re too terrified of what’s going to happen if you don’t. It becomes its own twisted sense of survival that’s actually killing you by itself.
I remember thinking that I was being enslaved by my eatng disorder rather than being saved by it and this was really the first time that concept had ever entered my mind in a way I could address- at times I would get this depressed certainty that I would die of my disorder and would become extremely sad about that but felt it was inevitable so I couldn’t do anything about it. I’d been told I was being enslaved by my own head by therapists for years but my response was always a passionate defense of my own illness and a total shutdown of anything they might have to say further. I’d spent most of my life defending the hell out of something that kept trying to kill me and I never saw it because I believed to the death it was protecting me.
That day, I ate one meal without behvaiours and when I went to the next meal, the thoughts were there but again, I felt like I was just barely pushing through my usual routines, as if I was being dragged through mud. The next day, I ate normal meals and by the 4th day I was eating and drinking completely normally without the eating disorder thoughts. My mind literally felt set free and for the first time I percieved that my body was not the disgusting cage for my soul I’d always regarded it as, it was a gift from G-d and I was His daughter, not this terrible person I’d been told I was because of my mental illness, and the disorder had to go because I had to go ONWARD and I had not been going to G-d in prayer over it because since the day the Spirit told me to give it up, I’d felt guilty for my behaviours for the first time over those months and I’d been hiding from G-d because of that guilt which I didn’t quite understand but knew it was there. It was now time to get real and go to my Father directly. Now I have never as a child or adult gone to my fathers for anything here on earth, so for this independent lady, this was a very different mindset.
Now I had never had such a strong remission- I’d never had a break from my eating disorder thoughts from the time I got up to the time I went to sleep- even during remissions they were still there, just quieter. So I didn’t trust right away that it was gone- in fact because I didn’t specifically ever- EVER- pray earnestly for healing from my eating disorder since I was too busy defending it, I didn’t put it together that this was what G-d had been thinking of when I said on Christmas day- take whatever you want.
So I took it day by day, sometimes getting anxious that I’d wake up and be right back to square one. A week went by. 2 weeks. 3 weeks. 4 weeks. In February I told my therapist and she was astounded – and of course overjoyed becuase no matter what other things I’d worked through over my life, that eating disorder was the one thing that never budged. In fact, I’d said many times that eating disorders couldn’t be cured and anyone who claimed otherwise was a liar- I had spent my life watching others go dancing around me through treatment “cured” only to come back either weeks or months or years later. So I kept my silence until I hit some sort of benchmark in my own sight that convinced me I was cured. What was that? I literally started having dreams that I had gone back to the behvaiours. But every time I would wake and say to myself, you don’t need to do that anymore. And off I’d go about my day.
I saw my therapist later that month and she asked me how it felt to be free and I recall saying that the days seemed so long now because my mind wasn’t constantly thinking about my weight and food and staying alive! The days seem so long…
I didn’t publicly start telling people of my healing until Easter and even then it was mainly to people who knew I’d struggled. It seemed a fitting time because I felt “resurrected” from the living death of an eating disorder. This wasn’t because I didn’t believe in my own healing or that it was permanent, but more because I knew intimately that those outside the eating disorder community really couldn’t understand the magnitude of what had happened, and definitely those outside the mental health community wouldn’t have much of a concept looking from the outside- though they would understand that healing had taken place. Because most of my writings and art are for the benefit of my mental health peers, I was discerning to whom and when I revealed this.
Now it wasn’t until the third month of my healing that G-d spoke to me about why this had occurred- or rather, why it hadn’t occurred before. And in this sudden “download” of information I understood that I literally never wanted to be healed of my eating disorder even above thinking it couldn’t be healed. It didn’t matter how bad it got physically or emotionally, I was terrified of ever being separated from it to the point that I was never able to envision life without it at all. When the Spirit told me the first time to “give it up,” the message was for me to let go of the fear because remember, G0d doesn’t force Himself on us in any way- He will not force healing or miracles on us, we have to allow those interventions to happen with our free will. I was infamous in treatment for being what therapists called “willfull, not willing.” When I understood this, I got a sudden flash of the old terror of not having control through my eating disorder and it was then I understood the magnitude of what had happened, Praise G-d!
Now I believe that this healing was to pave the way to bring the situation that led me into healing to a miraculous conclusion so if you’re reading this, this situation is not over and there is work being done and I would love if you would pray or meditate for a breakthrough over me in this area!
As for my eating, I am 8 months healed right now and I’ve crushed all my fear foods. Sometimes it’s a little up and down- I still wrestle with body image to a point but I’ve been able to get through every triggering situation with no setbacks. I was delighted recently to be able to fast and pray for the first time without being triggered into restricting so Praise G-d for that! But I think better than that, I now see eating as self-care in the same way so many doctors tried to beat into me over the years and I feel the need to eat and eat well and healthy. And I feel like I deserve to eat, because that was a big hangup for me in the past.
Since this healing, I’ve been working every day on my relationship with G-d and I’ve been instructed on a lot of things. Prior to this, I’d lapsed years ago into praying basically when I needed something and usually forgetting for days to thank G-d when things went my way. I didn’t like that about myself. I researched prayers and styles of prayers for the thing I was seeking and got to work- and I think it’s really paid off. I’ve been able to stretch my prayer time to 3 times a day (that’s not saying everyone needs to do that, it was just a goal of mine) and I have finally come to the place I can go to G-d with my cares while they’re happening rather than just plead for them to stop after I’ve tried every earthly thing I can do. This has been a game-changer but I still have room for improvement. And I’d like to share some revelations with you from this journey I’m still on because I sure wish someone had told me these things multiple times in my life.
1. Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you look like or believe, whatever your orientation or gender or identification is, whatever your diagnosis and whatever things you may have done or had done to you, you are made in the image of G-d and therefore, are loved and desired by Him. People may have seen you as “cursed” and therefore put apart from “normal” people as some evidence of G-d’s judgement on your life or family, but the Bible says G-d sees us all the same and he looks at our hearts, not our exteriors.
Genesis 9:6: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” **(in the Bible unless specified, “man” refers to all humankind)
Proverbs 22:2: ” Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all.”
1 Samuel 16:7: “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
2. Many of us have been taught that suicide is an unforgiveable sin because there’s no way to repent of it once the sufferer is dead and the stigma of that is heavy in the church-it is looked upon as the ultimate middle finger over to G-d over one’s own gift of life. We know from science that those who attempt suicide cannot think clearly and rationally in the moment and they are often trying to just end a situation they see no escape from or trying to spare the world from what they perceive as their deficits. To a suicidal person, suicide, like eating disorders, looks like the logical answer. I offer these two things:
I feel the Holy Spirit has proven to me by making the effort to instruct me at my last suicide attempt that there is forgiveness for any self-harm and that G-d still desires us to be in His presence. I was given a choice to either listen to instruction or face the consequences. Of course we can argue but what about those who don’t have a near-death experience and die without much conscious activitity? True- we are all different and have different experiences. The thing I took away from that experience most strongly is that there is conciousness during the process of death of some kind and a back and forth conversation between we and our Maker.
But Biblically, out of the mouth of Christ Himself, there is only one unforgiveable sin and it’s to deny or blaspheme the Holy Spirit. Everything else can and will be forgiven if we truly repent and seek forgiveness:
3. Most of us with mental illness have had our character judged by others based on our diagnosis, or treatment, or on the basis that we’ve been hospitalised. And we’ve usually fallen into judging ourselves because that’s what our culture is constantly doing. The Bible is clear about judgement- G-d doesn’t like it because He is the supreme judge and He is clear on several occasions that we are not to judge others on anything as less than ourselves because we are all sinners and imperfect at the end of the day. This includes self-judgement. We do need to know our morals and know the law and know what we should and shouldn’t be doing in our environment, but G-d will reveal to us when we seek Him if there’s anything in our character that needs some work.
Romans 2:1-3: “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?”
Romans 3:21: “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in[h] Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
Matthew 21:31: “Which of the two did the will of his father?” They *said, “The first.” Jesus *said to them, “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you.”
4. Many of us in formal mental health treatment have been around the view that religious belief itself is a form of mental illness (and sometimes religious fixation can be a feature of some illnesses). I’m not here to argue who’s right- I personally believe that all physical/ mental illness has a spiritual component so both spiritual and medical intervention are appropriate for many things because we are both spiritual and physical beings. But some will have not been asking G-d for healing in their mental illness or have come to believe they won’t or can’t be healed from mental illness because of this narrative. I think the fact that mental health has for so long never expected us to get better on the whole has led us to also give up on that idea.
But Biblically, Jesus healed everyone of everything- the “demons” mentioned in the Bible may or may not have been literal mental illness or literal demons; regardless, Jesus healed these conditions. He healed anyone who came to him in faith, so it is possible that mental illness can be healed and G-d wants to do so.
Matthew 8:6: “When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.”
5. G-d wants us all to come to Him to have a parent-child relationship and it doesn’t matter where we are or what we’re doing or what we’re believing at the moment, G-d wants us to run right to Him, not away from Him when we think He’d disapprove. There’s no “right time” to come to G-d- even the disciples, those closest to Christ were in the middle of their lives doing their usual business when He called them.
Many with mental illness have had to manage in other ways outside of medication and therapy for various reasons and many have developed some really unhealthy coping mechanisms that are frowned upon by society or disruptive to our own lives and relationships or may even be illegal but at the time these began may have been the only choice in the moment. Obviously we need to get a handle on those things because G-d wants us to be law-abiding citizens on earth to begin with but also because its not healthy for us or getting us where we want and need to be. But in the church, some of us have encountered the attitude that because those things are going on in our life, we aren’t “holy” enough to approach G-d either in a church building or on our own. Let’s kick back a second to the Bible’s view that ain’t nobody holy but the LORD, yet G-d still wants us around because we’re made in His image. So we can, always, go to G-d.
Think about it this way- if your child got in trouble would you want to banish them from your sight (okay, maybe for a short time, lol)? You might be disappointed or miffed that they did the deed, but if they were in trouble your first instinct as a parent would be to get them out of it and help them. It’s the same with G-d – He’s our heavenly Father, every single one of us. And like a good Father on earth, he delights when His children trust Him enough with their worries and downfalls. He does get disappointed and He does get angry, but He’s always ready for us to come to Him.
Another thing to consider is that Jesus hung with and healed and gave His blessings of truth to everyone- every single layer of society was welcome in His presence during His time on earth. He says in the Bible that anyone who knocks will have the door opened to them- He’s just standing at the ready to become part of our lives.
Revelations 3:20: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
John 3:16-17: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
Romans 5:8: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
6. What’s the most important thing? When we’re inundated with all kinds of messages of what we should be doing and who we should be, remember who we know we are: children of G-d. For some of us, church is not an option right now- we are not accepted or supported by our local religious institutions. When church works, it’s a great thing: we have fellowship with other people so it’s social, we have support in life’s ups and downs and we’ve got a group of people like a family that we can ask questions of and get clarification from over the word of G-d. But like any other organization, church can go wrong or not be the right fit- after all, we’re all different so it’s no wonder there are so many denominations!
But we can also sit in church week after week and never feel connected to G-d. And this is sometimes because we’re not seeking Him one to one but rather going throught the motions of church waiting for some big revelation. Remember that even Crist, the Son of G-d went off on His own to speak with G-d and seek fellowship just with G-d away from everyone else. If church works for you, go. I would never discourage someone from attending- many people find their relationship with G-d grows through church. I personally find I connect most with G-d outside. Others connect through dance or art or music. We’re all a little different- find out what your connection points are and grow them.
If that’s not you- don’t give up on G-d. Seek out a Bible translation you can understand (and a concordance is also great to explain the context of a lot of scripture and make it way more accessible) and pray. If you’re not sure about G-d presence to begin with, just start with “I’m not sure if you’re there but I’d like some guidance. I want to know more.” Remember that G-d wants a relationship with you and these things take time, have their ups and downs and evolve over time. What’s the secret to every great, long-lasting relationship? Choosing to be present in it day after day. Persistence. Checking in when you really don’t feel like having a conversation. Admitting when youre wrong and asking for forgiveness. Making the effort to get to know the other party better. I promise you, long-tie CHristians who are honest will admit they’ve had a journey witha lot of bends and dips and highs, but it’s all been worth it.
Don’t let anyone’s opinion of your mental illness keep you from a healthy relationship with G-d – people will come an go but G-d will always be waiting to love you.