What is mental illness? I should know, I’ve suffered from mental illness since my late 20’s. I have had 3 different diagnoses to date. Sometimes I wonder what the point of living is because it gets hard.
What keeps me going? My faith. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Nobody comes to the Father except through Him.
My journey started when my daughter was 5 months old. I had recently given up smoking for the first time, but I was in a stressful situation with my daughter just starting to go from milk to solid food. I was not coping.
To add, my daughter’s father and I were not getting along. Financial pressure and the stress of a child all played a role in the degeneration of my mental health.
My husband and I were running a jewellery business which was growing quite rapidly. We both played a part in keeping the business afloat.
All these different things played a role in my mental health falling away from me.
The Word of God speaks about mental health quite clearly. It says, “Do not be anxious about anything.” It also says, “The Spirit of God has given you a power of love, not a power of fear.”
What do these 2 scriptures mean? They mean there is going to come a time in our lives when we need to push through and remember we are not perfect. We were not created perfectly. Only Jesus Christ is perfect.
When I was hospitalised the first time for being mentally ill. I was diagnosed with Post-Partum Psychosis. It was never explained to me what this diagnosis was. I was left in the dark with a Psychosis that I had to research myself.
My time in the hospital was bleak. At the time I was still breastfeeding my daughter. I was told the medication I was now made to take, would go through the breast milk, and somehow damage my daughter. I had no choice, but to stop breastfeeding. My goal of breastfeeding for 6 months was shattered.
I often wondered where was God in all this? Why would a God of love have a hand in me stopping breastfeeding Taylor?
I still do not have those answers. But what I do know is, there is an Enemy that hates me, and His name is Satan.
Scripture says the Enemy comes to lie, kill, and destroy. Satan is the Father of all lies.
As a Christian, we are up against the powers of darkness. Those powers are hidden from the light. The good news is, we have authority over darkness and its demons.
My 2nd diagnosis was Bipolar Disorder. I was told I was diagnosed this because of my family history. Again, I was hospitalised. I have no clear recollection of my time in the hospital or what happened to me. Trauma has a funny way of protecting you against difficult memories.
I have seen countless doctors, specialists, psychiatrists, and nurses. They have prodded me, poked me, and done experiments on me.
Antipsychotic medication is deadly. The side effects are too great to number. I have had my hair fall out, lost my sight, and endured a breakdown in my gut.
It is supposed to heal anxiety, but all it does is my make my anxiety worse each day.
One day, in the early hours of the morning, I woke up with Lockjaw. I could not move my jaw; it was completely locked. Since then, my jaw has been misaligned and it affects me eating.
Each day I struggle to chew, even on small morsels of food.
But all in all, Jesus is still King. Slowly my jaw is going back into alignment. I have been praying for my jaw, so has my mother. The power of prayer is the greatest weapon you could use against the Enemy.
One thing I have learnt, God brings good out of everything for those who believe in Him. God goes the extra mile for His believing children. He sees every tear and all injustice. I now leave my most difficult battles to the Lord.
My 3rd diagnosis, which is my current diagnosis, I have been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. This disorder is when you are not Bipolar or Schizophrenic, but you are somewhere in between?
I am of the school of thought that most things are black and white. You are either one or the other. How can you be two diagnoses in one?
I have never studied Psychiatry or Psychology, but I do know it is not biblical.
I had a Psychiatrist ask me once what I thought if he diagnosed me Schizophrenic? I said, “No Problem!” You can’t argue with a Psychiatrist.
I also had a Doctor question me as to why I was listening to Christian music. As if that has anything to do with mental illness.
I am a Pentecostal Christian, and I believe in the laying of hands to heal. The power of the Holy Spirit flows through us into the person needing healing when we pray for them.
There’s no denying I have a mental illness. But the system is broken. It needs to change. People are crying out for help and they are not receiving it.
What do we do?
Together we start talking about how mental illness has touched our lives. We have open forums and we get together in groups and open up old wounds so we can heal and live for a brighter future.
Keeping the door shut on the past is not the answer.
The answer lies in communication. Change is the answer to breaking the stigma of mental illness.
“Are not the angels all ministering spirits (servants) sent out in the service [of God for the assistance] of those who are to inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14)