Monday, August 30, 2010

Have you gone mental (VII)

I committed myself to faith in Christ when I was 16 years old. Outside being a product of a "dysfunctional family" there were little serious disadvantages in my life. However, many at that time (and this)would view faith in God as a dangerous delusion ... the opiate of the people.

I never dreamed I would be stricken by Major Depression and anxiety. Somehow in my naivete as a young believer I felt God would protect me from things such as this; as long as I kept faith. Mental or physical illness were often viewed by many believers as resulting from a lack of faith.

As mentioned, I was pastoring a church when the second bout with depression and anxiety began to afflict me. I gave in to these disorders; feeling I deserved them because of what I'd done; the enormity of sins I had committed. It was only after beginning therapy a year or so later that I realized that my mental illness had nothing to do with the church's definition of sin.

Its somewhat amazing that I, at this time, returned to the delusion perpetrated by some in the church that my problems relate to a lack of faith. As I looked back over the past 9 years of devotion to study, prayer, and meditation, I know this is ridiculous. I am a man of faith. A man of faith who has a mental illness. I am hoping that those reading this blog, who are similarly affected, will take steps to release themselves from the misconception that mental illness is caused by a lack of faith. It is a belief that arises more from evil than good. It is a prison.

Although for most the progression of this installment may seem inconsequential, it is a vital part of my experience. I have studied the scripture from the Bible on peace and healng. I have studied what the Apostle Paul called the fruit of the Holy Spirit. I have developed a set of affirmations centering on LOVE as the solution to negative outlook, JOY as the opposite of depression. FAITH as the positive counterpart of fear. PEACE as the positive counterpart of anxiety, and HOPE as the opposite of dispair.

Love, joy, peace, faith, and hope are a portion of the Spirit's fruit that I want as a part of my life. The main affirmations I recite to myself are based in these virtues. I am experimenting with "I choose life" and several other statements of faith such as "God has a new plan for my life".

I hope I will one day recover. Until then I will continue to give myself to healthy activities aimed in this direction.

Thank you for reading.

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