So many times I’ve questioned if He is still with me in times of severe depression and psychosis. There are times when I feel His presence and there are moments when I do not. Is He still with me with all these struggles with my mental illness? It is so scary sometimes that I feel He has abandoned and left me in darkness.
Footprints in the Sand
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky. In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there were one set of footprints. This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints. So I said to the Lord, "You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there have only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, you have not been there for me?" The Lord replied, "The times when you have seen only one set of footprints in the sand, is when I carried you." Mary Stevenson
Copyright © 1984 Mary Stevenson, from original 1936 text, All rights reserved
Firstly, let me start by saying that I can completely understand where you’re coming from. I have suffered with long term depression, and episodes of psychosis and I too have felt the feelings of isolation and abandonment. I recently suffered a psychotic episode and it is taking me a long time to come back from it. I have struggled in the same way with regards to wondering if God has abandoned me…BUT…I don’t belive that He has, as I always feel a pull back to the church, and this for me indicates that He is ever present. I converted to Catholicism in August last year, and in all honesty have struggled with my faith…or rather have struggled with lack of it.
Yet, I truly believe that when the Lord knows we are more receptive to His voice, then he calls us home. God is patient indeed and knows when we are likely to listen to his promptings, and I have every faith that your just asking this question has already shown a willingness to listen to Him.
Please trust that He is waiting for you too, and will never leave you isolated.
With very best wishes
Would you consider that God has left a person if they have cancer or pneumonia, or any other physical illness?
Neither does God leave us if we suffer from mental illness.
Don’t rely of feelings; they can lead us astray. Trust in Him and know that He is with you whether you ‘feel’ His presence or not.
I have the Divine Mercy image on my wall, with the motto ‘Jesus, I Trust in You’. I find this very comforting and an inspiration to continue to Trust in Him, even when I don’t understand what He is doing with my life or don’t ‘feel’ Him or whatever.
Offer your suffering to Him for the souls in Purgatory and trust Him.
May God bless you.
The more we suffer, the closer Jesus is to us. For He suffers with us, and we with Him.
God loves you. Listen to what God says about you through the Scripture:
*1 John 4:4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
Rom 8:35, 37-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.*
Nothing my dear, Nothing, nothing, nothing, can separate you from the Love of God. God has a special place in His heart for those who are mentally ill. He loves you so much.
Continue your faith, strengthen your faith for God is with you right now. Your guardian angel is standing by your side at this very moment. God will NEVER abandon you.
You are loved, you are His child, you are His friend.
I think most of us sometimes “feel close to God” and at other times don’t feel His presence.
The reality is that feeling His presence is a gift, a translation into feelings of something that is greater and beyond thought and feeling.
Dear Lizzie, do you think the Father had actually abandoned Jesus when Jesus cried out on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?” ( Matt 27:46) He felt abandoned, because his suffering was so deep and all embracing…but the Father never abandoned Him. Feelings are not a test for God’s presence.
No God had not abandoned Him who is human but also God Himself, the Lord Jesus.
Nor does God abandon you even when you don’t feel His presence, and even when your illness is affecting you.
God bless you, Lizzie
God will never abandon you, none of us always feel His presense, in fact, most of the time, I don’t think most people do. It doesn’t have anything to do with our feelings though, He’s always there.
I will keep you in my prayers too.
Of course He is with you. Sometimes you need to ask your Guardian Angel to help you have the strength to reach out your hand to Him. Whenever my strength is weak that is what I do, that is their job, they will help you if you just ask them. Jesus said that He would never leave us orphaned and I believe Him.
God is madly in love with you. It’s just a matter of loving Him back. I know sometimes it gets tough, but NEVER lose faith. He’s always watching out for you.
I have suffered from mental illness too so I know what you’re going through. To make a long story short, after I was out of the hospital at the start of the diagnosis years ago, I was in my room and for some reason I was awake in the middle of the night and I remember I was in anguish. I might have prayed, but I saw lights flash across the window, then the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe came to me. I freaked out and told my parents about the colorful lights but because I didn’t know who the woman was or what that is, I didn’t think about that image. Since I was diagnosed with mental illness they figured I hallucinated, and I believed it too. But after knowing my faith again (going to mass, prayer groups, bible studies, etc) I came to find out Mary was answering someone’s prayer about me and she came to bring me peace. I asked a knowledgeable and long time Catholic about the lights and she said that its a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. I don’t just believe, I truly know our Spiritual mom, Blessed Virgin Mary is ready to help you. I recommend you pray to the Holy Spirit every day. A simple prayer will do. I would not underestimate how much comfort and help Mother Mary can give us. So try to make a devotion to Mother Mary and the Holy Spirit. I find it is easier for me to devote time and prayer or reflection of Mary more than the Holy Spirit because I cannot listen and be still, its a problem for me, I’m always thinking and doing something. If you don’t have a prayer book, I suggest the Pieta book:
Also, the Rosary is a great source of healing for me. When I don’t feel God’s presence (although I very much agree with every post about how God loves us no matter what we feel: He is indeed a loving God), I pray at least a decade from the Rosary. And I feel interior peace again. The main thing is that the Holy Spirit works in us when we pray, and I’ve noticed He has purged or purified and cleansed alot of things that were going on with me, I’m not perfect but I know this has happened. I don’t need to see my therapist! That’s how much prayer works! Before when I prayed very little, I became more depressed, pitiful, etc. However in my case professionals are not to be discarded, they are doctors and such because God made them. One more recommendation: I would advise not to label yourself mentally ill, or brand that for all that you are. That is what society or the world thinks. That is not how Christians or our Loving Father thinks, He looks within the heart and is not concerned of what car we drive, what job we hold, etc. There’s a scripture of this in the Old Testament, and it quite true. Remember God also chooses the weak, the despised, and the humble people of the world for His purposes. May God bless you and pray as much or however you can.
Thank you so much for the comforting words theotikos. I can truly relate to you and your experiences. Are you currently on medications?