(November 5, 2006)

A friend recently talked about her wish for church support for her battles with bipolar. This, once more, made me feel the great need for spiritual support for people with this disorder. When we believe in God, we need to be able to talk with others who share our faith – without the danger of being blamed for harboring the devil, having unconfessed sins (suggested to be worse than the sins of “normal” people), being separated from God. Some even believe there is no such thing as mental illness.

The symptoms of this disorder are bad enough. But to be blamed for it, to be told that there’s something between me and God, is almost worse than having the symptoms. To have to suffer with this illness AND be made to feel shame as well, is horrendously inhumane. And to have people who are supposedly following Christ, cause this shame is more hurtful to Christians than almost anything else imaginable. Christ did not teach us to be this way!! He taught us to love unconditionally. He loved the outcasts and the stigmatized of His day and He teaches US to live that way as well. Christians have lost touch with what Christ taught us.

The Bible has much to encourage us and give us peace, even with our great struggles. Besides the medicine the doctor gives me, there is nothing like my belief in a loving God to keep me well. There is nothing like a church family to help us keep this faith alive. The church needs to find ways to HELP us with faith, instead of blaming us for not having it.

As you can probably see, I’m angry. Church people need to repent of their faulty way of thinking. They need to be educated about the truth of this illness.

In a few days the Canadian Mental Health Association will be publishing an online article I wrote, The Church as Supporter. Unfortunately, it’s much tamer than what I have said here (we need to be politically correct, don’t we?). I will publish the link to it here when it comes out.

In the meantime, this anger is doing one good thing. It is motivating me to not waste any more time, but to get on with finishing my book, one that is designed to educate Christians about this disorder. It tells my story and how God has worked in my life. I do hope it will help build a better understanding.

Having a faith is important to our mental well-being. We need people who share our faith to give us their unconditional love, as Christ does.