Christian “Healing” and Mental Health (1)
By: Beth McHugh 2007
This is a subject that is very close to my heart and I am aware that it may upset a few readers, but it has to be said. Besides, any true Christian, or indeed any humane person, would be abhorred by what I am going to relate. It concerns a certain brand of Christianity and the arrogant manner in which they treat people who come to them for support of their mental illness dilemma.
It goes without saying that people who suffer from depression, anxiety disorders, basically the whole raft of emotional disorders that can affect humans, are a very vulnerable group. When you feel that you no longer have control over your mind and your thoughts, when your life has become out of control yet you can’t find the strength to find your way out, then the hand of friendship is a very enticing drug.
But the wrong hand can lead to further pain for the sufferer of a mental illness, or indeed any illness, when these particular people are involved. I mention this occurrence, because in my practice I come across these sad cases time and again, and I would like to draw attention to the harm and hurt that you , or a loved one, could suffer at the hands of these so-called “Christians”.
Let’s look at the case of Sandra. Sandra had been raped and suffered post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of her ordeal. She had tried psychiatrists who prescribed a host of different drugs in an attempt to alleviate her symptoms of anxiety and depression. One day, she met a woman who had also suffered from the same symptoms but had been healed by God. This woman organized for her fellow churchgoers to come around and pray over her. She also offered Sandra her own personal support and that most precious gift – “hope” - that Sandra, too, would become well.
The big day arrived when several church members came and prayed to cast out Sandra’s demons that were possessing her. Sandra felt loved and cared for in a way she never had since she first became ill. She was particularly vulnerable because her family didn’t understand the condition and had rejected her. Not unexpectedly, Sandra’s condition did not change. So the original woman came back to pray over her again. And again, nothing happened.
And this is where the damage occurred. Sandra was told that she wasn’t better because there was something wrong with her, she hadn’t renounced her sins, she was not letting God into her life. It was her fault. And then, these seemingly caring ladies, who were so nice to Sandra in the beginning, abandoned her completely, even the one who knew exactly what it was like to suffer the symptoms she felt.
Next article we will look at more tales of profound uncaring and how to protect yourself or a friend or family member against similar misguided folk.