Is God still with me inspite of my mental disorder?


#1

I have suffered from this mental illness for 3 years now and there were times when I feel that the Lord has abandoned me. It is a very difficult cross to bear specially when people that I love and care for don’t even understand my illness.

They think it is something that I can snap out of or it is all in my mind.

I am seeking treatment, taking medications and touching base with my psychiatrist whom I feel is the only one who understands me.

I don’t really have friends whom I can talk to openly regarding my illness. Some people have walked away after learning of my diagnosis.

It is painful to feel so alone .

Even my dear husband does not understand. I am fortunate to have three beautiful children who keep me hanging on. Without them I don’t know if I will still be here.

I have posted several months ago regarding my illness. Some of you might have remembered me.

I just felt like posting again because I feel a need to vent to this forum because this is the only place where I can share my feelings without being ridiculed or embarrassed.

Thank you all for listening. God bless!


#2

Hi mslizzie. I’m not qualified to dispense medical advice, but I want to assure you that He is always with you, especially in our hours of suffering. God bless you!


#3

God is with you.
People don’t all know what it’s like. They think you have control over your brain because they think they have control over theirs. If they think so, I wonder if they remember every detail of a room they just walked out of, as they might have at a younger age – if not, they also have experienced their brains failing them. But people don’t usually want to face the idea that we don’t control our brains. It’s too unsettling. So just forget their opinions.
Pray. Hope. There is healing in this life adnperfect healing in the next.
I’ll try to remember to add your problem to my intentions tonight.


#4

mslizzie,
I would like for you to feel free to contact me. I can tell you of how similar our situations might be. I am a convert to Catholicism, an enthusiastic Catholic, which may well be my saving grace. I found myself falling away, into depression and away from the things I loved in my faith - RCIA, lectoring, catechism study, etc. Then I figured it our. I am bipolar; therefor I have done things, as a result of my illness, that surely have caused cause, at the very least, a schism between all I love and adore, and the true “me.” No one understands; to everyone else, even those who know that I am bipolar, it appears as though I am erratic and unstable.
This last week, in a Catholic book study that I attend at out parish, we discussed how Satan loves it when we are alone. He finds this to be an opportunity to assult us, invade and destroy us. Talking about this made me wonder; if this were the case, then why was I so alone at my worst? No one was there to help me, save my husband who cared for the children. Where were my sisters in Christ? It weighs heavy on my heart. I am there as your sister in Christ. I am your sister in these illnesses that effect our mind, hearts and souls.
God is with you; He never leaves you. He will never burden you with a load you can not bear. But no one has said that you must bear it alone. Feel free to contact me. hug


#5

You betcha He is!!! My love and prayers for you. Hang in there.

Lilly:heart:


#6

possibly because you have companions here who suffer or have suffered in the same way.

Yes God is with you not only in spite of, but because of your affliction. He turns all things to good, and works in all circumstances to bring us closer to Himself, if we trust Him implicitly and cooperate with Him. If this is your cross to bear, it can and will become the means to bring to you union with Christ. that does not mean of course that you neglect necessary care and treatment, including drugs if indicated, but it does mean you trust in Jesus and unite your sufferings with His


#7

Hi

Rest assured - God is still with you, and just as close if not closer to you than He was then.

I went through the exact same things you are - except that is is my mom who is sticking by me, along with my 2 kids - and I converted in '06.

My diagnoses is Bi-Polar, with a string of other qualifications and descriptive terms behind it - and so people are afraid of me because of it. Don’t worry about what others think or believe - there is no stigma but the one you add to it - difficult as it is to deal with the rationale of others.

Get all the literature you can for your DH, and then be willing to sit down with him and discuss what is happening with you. That may be of some help.

Feel free to PM me, I will surely do all I can to help and support you in any way.

You are in my Rosaries

Peace and Blessings

John


#8

There’s a saint named Benedict Joseph Labre who today would be diagnosed with mental illness. He lived on the street and wandered. But he was a saint. Mental illness is no bar to God’s love. But please, see a good doctor and follow his advice. And pray - always pray!


#9

Hiya mslizzie,

[quote=""]All things were created
through him and for him.
He is before all things,
and in him all things hold together.
He is the head of the body, the Church;
he is the beginning,
the first-born from the dead,
that in everything he might be pre-eminent.
[/quote]

You live your life in Christ mslizzie,

there is no time and no place when Jesus is not with you.
:slight_smile:


#10

mslizzie, I am moved by your sense of isolation as you endure this illness and by your courage in telling us about your pain. I am reminded that our Lord himself suffered feelings of isolation and abandonment as he prayed in the garden of Gethsemanie and when his closest friends denied him before strangers. Turn to him in prayer and let him walk with you through this illness. Know also that my prayers are with you and your family. During this coming Advent season I will remember you during the eucharistic celebrations and pray for your healing. Do not lose hope. Our Lord is with you.


#11

Hi Mslizzie. I feel for you. I have some experience with mental illness in my own family. My baby brother was diagnosed schizophrenic and bipolar. He was such a beautiful person, and we watched him deteriorate over the years. But he has an identical twin, so we can remember him as God intended him to be. And when we are faced with judgmental people who think my parents must have done something to cause his illness, or that he is just erratic and unstable and rude and spoiled or whatever other criticism they want to level, we can point to his twin to show them what a wonderful, together, bright, hardworking person he was before his illness.

Your illness is real. It is a result of Adam and Eve’s original sin that brought death and disorder to our world. Nature was perfect before original sin. Now we have sickness and genetic disorders and homosexuality and so many other crosses we must bear. God is asking you to bear your illness with as much dignity and perseverance as you can.

By all means, pray for healing. But also realize it may not come. In the meantime, be aware of your obligations to your family and loved ones, especially your children. The biggest issue with many mental illnesses (and trust me, I am not making any assumptions about your individual situation, only speaking hypothetically based on my own personal experience) is your willingness to stay on your medications. Call it what you will, the devil, your illness, your ego, your metabolism, whatever, will often compel you to want to quit your meds. Please don’t give in to this. Yes, there are times when meds quit working and need to be changed, but all too often I see people convince themselves that they are cured and don’t need them anymore. If it’s bipolar, for instance, you deep down love the highs of your illness, and want to go off your meds so you can experience them again. I realize, from what my brother told me, that the meds often make you feel very flat and joyless.

I can’t imagine what a terrible burden it must be to live this way. But we have hope in Jesus, this life is temporary, and you will be filled with so much joy in eternity with Him. Do not despair. I’ve heard it said that despair itself is a sin. God tells us He loves us and that we can be saved. We are obligated as Christians to believe this and trust Him.

I know I am speaking from the perspective of the family member, and I don’t know if this has anything to do with your issues or not, but I’m using it as a general example. The temptation is so great, but going off the meds that stabilize you is so unfair to your husband and children. And it also hurts you in the long run, because it makes your illness progress further and may disintegrate your family life. It puts you in the position of lying to your family about your meds, and tempts you into other occasions of sin. Please, as much as you are suffering and as hard as it is, anyone with this kind of mental illness, keep the welfare of your family in mind.

Mslizzie, this illness is not your fault. Don’t listen to those who are ignorant about it. All you can do is manage the best you can and take care of your family the best you can. Thank God every day for your blessings, and look at your illness as an opportunity to join with Christ’s sufferings and offer them up as He did for the salvation of your loved ones and the world (including those who criticize and judge you.) Every one of our lives has purpose and meaning. I pray God will help you to discover the purpose and meaning in your own life, and take comfort in it.


#12

Just heard a quote on Mother Angelica Classics I wanted to share: Padre Pio said that if we truly understood the value of suffering, we would covet it.


#13

God has promised us that he will always be with us.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deut. 31:6

There is a blog called Victim Souls of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which has lots of good information on suffering with a purpose. You might find the info there helpful.

With prayers,
Becky


#14

Thank you so much for your replies. I really appreciate all the words of encouragement from each of you.


#15

mslizzie, I remember you and had wondered about how you were getting along. Of course God is with you. I have this theory (personal, of course) that God has a very special fondness for people whose minds just don’t operate in a way the world considers “normal”. I think He draws especially close to you. I’ll add you to my daily prayer; I’m so glad you came back to your friends on the forums.


#16

Sometimes I think that mental illness is a more difficult cross to bear, and for people to understand, than physical illness. With the later people can see it or its treatment - the life support system, the operation scar, the side effects of chemotherapy.

[quote= ] They think it is something that I can snap out of or it is all in my mind.
[/quote]

Which, of course, you would have done if that were true - but unfortunately it isn’t.

[quote=] I am seeking treatment, taking medications and touching base with my psychiatrist whom I feel is the only one who understands me.
[/quote]

That’s great.

[quote=] don’t really have friends whom I can talk to openly regarding my illness. Some people have walked away after learning of my diagnosis.
[/quote]

This must be so painful - just at a time when you need them. Hopefully some will return once they have dealt with their reaction - it’s almost as if some people think if they associate with someone who has an illness they will “catch” it.

[quote=] It is painful to feel so alone.
[/quote]

Are there any support groups for those with your illness in your area that you could become part of.

[quote=] Even my dear husband does not understand.
[/quote]

Is he getting help with learning about your illness and its effects? Maybe he needs to be part of a support group as well.

[quote=] I am fortunate to have three beautiful children who keep me hanging on. Without them I don’t know if I will still be here.
[/quote]

They must be beacons of light in your life.

[quote=] I just felt like posting again because I feel a need to vent to this forum because this is the only place where I can share my feelings without being ridiculed or embarrassed.
[/quote]

The last thing people need is to be ridiculed or embarassed because of the state of their mind. It doesn’t help but hinders.

Also threads like this can help break down the prejudice about mental illness and help people to see that people with a mental illness have as many aspects as people who do not.


#17

There are two angles from which to view mental illness. The first is from the angle of medicine and the second is from moral and spiritual theology.
There is also the cultural social angle - it is riddled and often founded on incorrect information and understanding of mental illness and often a stigma, patronization and condescencion that the person may not insight who does in fact speak in the favour of sufferers of MI and endeavouring to be supportive, speaking against social stigma etc. They cannot see their own subconscious attitudes coming to the fore.

From the angle of medicine, the brain is an organ of the body just as the heart, kidneys, lungs etc., and just as the latter organs can become diseased in some way, so can the brain. Mental illness thus is precisely an illness just as heart disease, cancer, etc. etc. It is the social stupidity and lack of education that gives mental illness any sort of special status and stigma. Mental illenss, however, does present special status indeed on the moral and spiritual level.

The moral and spiritual theological angle is well expressed in this document, which is rather lengthy, even complex in places. So I have isolated and quote below the perhaps more relevant parts of it.
In permitting the person suffering mental illness to be robbed those faculties necessary certainly for the commission of serious sin - and also often any sort of sin whasoever - God marks that person as specially chosen to be incapable of ever separating from Him - hence the sufferer of mental illness becomes a specially chosen person reflecting the image of Christ in a very special manner. (see below)

cathnews.com/news/602/doc/10wds2.htm

THE MENTALLY ILL PATIENT:
**A FAITHFUL IMAGE **
OF GOD.

Javier, Cardinal Lozano Barragán
President of the Pontifical Council
for Health Pastoral Care,
Vatican City

The Kingdom of God enters into the loving knowledge and in the decision made in the deepest intimacy of our person, which are then realised by the power of the Holy Spirit, who leads us by the hand like Children of God, and by the total collaboration that give form to our existence, according to the Law of God. If the above holds true, I would like to move a step further and venture a statement that might shed light on the issue, *

[quote]from the point of view of Moral Theology. The statement is that: the mentally ill person is not a deformed image of God but, rather, a faithful image of God, our Lord.

  1. Faithful Image of God

Therefore, once the mental illness has caused such a disorder as to take away from the mentally ill patient any responsibility for his actions, qualifying them as separation from the divine will -as a sin-

the mental patient cannot separate from God

. In other words, the image of God in him cannot be distorted. In this case his knowledge or his volitive option are no longer sufficient to motivate any human action that separates him from God.*

  • His bodily and psychic conditions do not allow him to commit a grave sin, given that in his state of disequilibrium he does not have that full knowledge and ability of assent required to sin. *

If we approach the argument from this point of view, whereby the mentally ill patient does not have the knowledge or the faculty of full consent required to commit a mortal sin, his is not a deformed image of God, since that image can only be deformed by sin.

*Certainly, it is the suffering image of God, but not a deformed image. He is a reflection of the mystery of the victorious Cross of the Lord. *

*Inspired by the image of the Suffering Servant of Yahweh (Isaiah 53, 1-7) we are drawn to a conscious act of faith in the suffering Christ.
It is true that the objective disorder of sin and its consequences are manifest in the mentally ill patient; however, at the same time, there is in him the historical equilibrium of the only possible order, the order and equilibrium of the Redemption.
This is not comprehensible to a secularized mentality; it is only understood within the context of Christian optimism, *

*which stems from a reasoned faith that tells us how in such circumstances our obligations towards a mentally ill person, on one hand satisfy our duty to see the suffering Christ in the poor and less protected; and on the other hand the idea of seeing in the patient the love of **

[quote]God who has indicated him as his chosen one, in the sense that he shall not be separated from Him


[/quote]

*.

[/quote]


#18

My dear friend you are among friends. I suffer from severe depression with suicidal ideation. I have been diagnosed since '99. I am a recent convert to Catholicism, last easter. First, the Lord and the Blessed Mother are with you and always will be. Its been so long that I don’t pray for healing anymore. I pray for Christ to be with me through the illness, to stand with me. I think it is so much more powerful for God to work through the situation than it is to remove the situation. I pray not for happines but contemptment. All of us have our cross to bear, this is ours. Just like Paul who had a thorn is his side, we have ours. Please realize that you are loved and many of us here on the forum are here for you to vent. We are all willing to listen and pray for you.


#19

I have suffered from this mental illness for 3 years now and there were times when I feel that the Lord has abandoned me. It is a very difficult cross to bear specially when people that I love and care for don’t even understand my illness.

Hi there again MsLizzie:thumbsup: …The feeling of abandonment by God and in very difficult indeed life circumstances is surely a very heavy cross indeed - and your Faith and steadfastness, loyalty and commitment to The Lord, in the face of what you are enduring is a wonderful witness and to be commended!:thumbsup:

They think it is something that I can snap out of or it is all in my mind.

I know how dreadful this can feel too! It took many years for my own family to realize that indeed I could not just snap out of it all and that I was ill - I had an illness. May the Lord continue to strengthen you Lizzie, for though you cannot feel it, this is indeed what He is doing, else your Faith would not persevere and shine as it now does…and despite very heavy crosses to bear. I hope your own family will come to the realization that it is not a matter of just ‘snapping out of it all’.

I am seeking treatment, taking medications and touching base with my psychiatrist whom I feel is the only one who understands me.

Good move prompted by prudence and wisdom and Gifts of The Holy Spirit. Medicine and medications are gifts of God to mankind in the struggle against human suffering. I am very happy indeed to read that your psychiatrist is supportive and of help and assistance to you. You are blest in this too!!!:thumbsup:

I don’t really have friends whom I can talk to openly regarding my illness. Some people have walked away after learning of my diagnosis.

It is painful to feel so alone .

I must admit, that until I joined CAF, I had no one with whom to share my thoughts re mental illness and also my Faith.
CAF has become for me a supportive and educative life community and far more than my own physical parish here who avoid me and due to mental illness.

Even my dear husband does not understand. I am fortunate to have three beautiful children who keep me hanging on. Without them I don’t know if I will still be here.

You have very difficult crosses to bear and though I know you cannot see it, your Faith shines to all.

I have posted several months ago regarding my illness. Some of you might have remembered me.

You stay in my mind and prayers, Lizzie.

I just felt like posting again because I feel a need to vent to this forum because this is the only place where I can share my feelings without being ridiculed or embarrassed.

Thank you all for listening. God bless!

I am in exactly the same position as you, Lizzie…CAF is my support and my education, my community and a home. And do vent away as much as you like…those of us who do ‘come out the closet’ re suffering mental illness make a statement probably without realizing it by simply ‘coming out’ and this is that mental illness is nothing at all to be ashamed about and hence our ‘coming out’ can be a great support and encouragement to those who feel they cannot speak openly of their illness even with the anonimity that CAF can present.

‘Coming out’ on CAF also does give an opportunity to make mental illness a ‘public issue’ and discuss it from an educated understanding on the medical, theological and cultural levels.

Keep up the good work, Lizzie:thumbsup: You will stay in my heart and prayer that The Lord will relieve you of your sufferings and soon. May Our Lady of Perpetual Help and St. Joseph pray always for you.

Blessings my friend…regards…Barb:)


#20

I have taken many perspectives on the question of mental health over the years. I’ve experienced a lot of stuff in my family.

I myself have Asperger’s, and I have struggled with depression over the years.

First, I have found that the most effective way to deal with depression is to do the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. That and listen to Fr. Corapi.

But one thing we have to start with when it comes to “mental illness” is “how much of this is really disordered? And how much is it that my approach to my God-given abilities is disordered?”

In a biological sense, I think most “mental illnesses” have advantages. As someone pointed out, many saints–indeed, all saints–would be diagnosed by modern clinicians as “mentally ill.”

In some ways, we were better at dealing with these things in the Middle Ages. Back then, they knew there were "good crazies’ and “bad crazies”: some people were mentally “ill” yet had deep spiritual insights, moral fervor, etc. Others, however, were harmful to themselves and others, malicious, etc.

Someone said that, if it weren’t for people with autism and asperger’s, we’d be living in caves. Autism and Asperger’s have their difficult aspects, mostly invovling social interaction, but they also give people great mathematical and creative abilities.

Schizophrenics tend to have keen spiritual and psychological insights: if you really pay attention to what a schizophrenic is saying, there’s a certain “code,” but a lot of it is deeper truth than most people are willing to acknowledge. My schizophrenic brother-in-law would write on his blog about me "attacking him in his dreams’ on nights that (unbeknownst to him) I was fasting and praying for him.

Bipolar makes people more emotionally committed.
A hyperactive person, once focused on a task, will accomplish a lot more than others could.

I could go on.

Some people talk these days about neurodiversity: understanidng how God made different brain types for different purposes.

That said, when we have these differences, we still develop problems because we are not properly guided and, more importantly, society abuses us for our differences.

That’s where therapy, medication, etc., come in.

And if you need medical therapy, get it, and use it.

Taking Prozac, or Ritalin, or anti-psychotics for a malfunctinoing brain is no different than taking Tenormin or Coumadin for a malfunctioning heart.

If you can get a miraculous cure through prayer, great. But if you don’t, that doesn’t mean God doesn’t care. It means that God trusts you enough to let you suffer without the miracle: “Blessed is (s)he who has not seen yet still believes.”


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