There are some false beliefs with religion and mental illness. Some believe if you have enough faith, your mental illness will go away. God does work miracles, but he also gives you help in different ways. No matter how much you believe in God and praise him, your mental illness will not disappear into thin air. There is a saying, “God helps those who help themselves,” but I’m not sure that saying is completely right. God is always helping even when we have given up. God helps those who need help.
When I fell the deepest down my hole of depression, I turned away from God. I hated him for the agony that I felt. How could a loving God let me go through an internal hell? I denounced him. I stopped praying to him. I stopped going to church with my parents and I questioned his existence. God didn’t give up on me. He continued to help me even though I turned my back on him.
I took a year off college because I was too sick to continue. I started seeing a therapist in a town a half hour away. She was so nice. She gave me videos to watch on depression and I found myself confiding in her like an old friend. I started to see a psychiatrist in the same office as hers. I had no insurance since I had just started a job. They allowed me to pay what I could afford for my appointments and the psychiatrist found me a program to get my antidepressants free.
After six months of therapy, I was living a life I only dreamed of as a teen. I was dating, I had lots of friends and I had a social life.
One day at my appointment, my therapist sat across from me with a bright smile. “Aimee, you are doing so well. You can stop taking your antidepressants. You’ll be fine without them, but in a few years your depression will return. Until then enjoy life.”
I did enjoy life. The kid in me came out. I went bowling until 2 a.m. and went to work at 8 a.m. I had more friends than I knew what to do with. I spent the night at friends’ homes and sat up all night talking. I did many of the things I missed out on as a child. I had the social life I dreamed of. I returned to college and graduated.
Before my graduation I went to the office where I saw my therapist, and the office was empty. I asked someone in the building if my therapist had moved, but no one ever heard of her. The office had been empty for years. I looked through the phone book and found nothing. My wonderful therapist just disappeared. I soon learned that a therapist never takes you off antidepressants; only a psychiatrist or psychologist can do that.
Even though I lost my faith in God, he provided me help and a chance to live life to the fullest. Was that therapist an angel? I believe she was. A couple of years later the depression did come back and I knew to seek help. See, even though I lost my faith, God did not stop helping me. He provided me the help I needed. I learned that even though we may abandon God or lose faith in him, he never turns away from us. I hated him, but he continued to love me.
Another time when I was living with my grandparents and really struggling, I took a bottle of pills. I was disorientated and groggy. I had a night class and it was snowing bad. Somehow, I drove to college and back. I had no idea how I got there and back to my grandparents’. I didn’t even remember driving. Was I driving or was God? I hated God for my deep sadness and inner pain, so why would he help me? Why did he spare my life? I wasn’t being faithful to him, but he still took care of me.
I soon learned that God has other ways to take care of us. I went to a writers’ conference at a college several miles from home. I was very shy and depressed, and I barely talked to anyone. One day at lunch I heard a woman, named Kelly, talk about the grocery store I worked at. I told her about how I worked there. We became friends. She invited me to a Bible study she held at the church she was going to. In time she prayed with me to accept God back into my life. God brought us together miles away from home.
I had my share of bad therapists. After my breakup with my abusive ex, my therapist informed me she was moving away. She referred me to a therapist who told me to think happy thoughts. A program at work found me a new therapist, Linda. Linda gave me homework, she listened to me while I cried, she encouraged me, and she used my writing to help me. She gave me assignments to write out my feelings and problems and we worked on them together. When I started dating my husband, she did couple therapy with us to teach my then boyfriend how to help me with my illness. She even came to our wedding.
Linda became a friend. She helped me to reach recovery and to stop injuring. She told me I was one of her success stories. After my husband and I married she released me from therapy. When I started to struggle with being a married woman who worked nights and her husband worked days, she was willing to counsel me and help me find ways to cope with being alone while my husband was at work. Linda was the best therapist I ever had. I wish I could sit down and talk to her about all the things I’m doing in my life. She is now a therapist at a college, and it would probably be against rules for her to be friends with a former client, but in my heart she is more then just a therapist.
I struggled with bad psychiatrist too until my friend, Kelly referred me to one. This psychiatrist, Lance, knows his medication well. He never takes me off a medicine that isn’t working without weaning me off. He is nice and easy to talk to. Lance allows my husband to go to the appointments with me and asks my husband how he feels I’m doing. When I started with Lance, he had to try several different antidepressants until one worked. So, I wouldn’t have to spend a lot of money on prescriptions that didn’t work he provided me with samples. I am now on an antidepressant that is very effective. I see him every two months so he can keep track of how I’m doing.
You don’t have to be a strong believer, you can lose your faith, you can turn your back, but God never stops helping you. No matter how much faith you have, mental illness doesn’t just disappear on its own. God created therapists and psychiatrists to guide you through your illness. He carries you through the rough times and gives you help in many ways. He provides for his children in need even when they deny him. He doesn’t give up on us. He gives us the right people, therapists, psychiatrists, and so on at the timing he feels is best.
Without God’s help I would not be alive to write this. God carried me through my mental illness and helped me climb the hole to the light of recovery. I stand in the light with God holding me up.