They say people can hit “rock bottom.” I wonder if I’ve hit below “rock bottom.” I’ve been living in a terrifying darkness for the past 2 months that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. All external circumstances in my life are perfect. But my mind is absolutely ill. As a result of an ill mind, my shaky, uneasy body has also been to hell and back. As an 8th year teacher, I’ve barely survived my first two weeks teaching school this year with my mother sitting in the parking lot some days. I realize how humiliating that is, but at this point of desperation I don’t really care.
To anyone who thinks it is impossible to have mental illness and be a Christian, you’d better drop to your knees right now and praise God that you don’t know otherwise. But, as someone who has suffered for several years of ups-and-downs with mental illness, and as a Christian, I honestly can’t say at the moment that I truly believe that God is enough.
As a high school teacher, I sometimes encouter students who share similar struggles as me. I know there are several more who have the same struggles, but haven’t shared them with me. This week, I had a meeting with a student, her mom, and other teachers about her need for homebound instruction due to anxiety. I’ve taught her older brothers, and know all about her family’s severe issues.
As I thought back on the meeting, I know I should’ve been able to tell her that there is hope. I should’ve been able to share that I’ve been where she is, God has brought me out of it before, and there is hope. Obviously I cannot say anything about God as a public school teacher. But if I could, I probably would not have bothered.
It’s not that I don’t believe that God is capable of healing me or her from mental illness. I completely believe that God is powerful and can heal if he chooses to. But I can’t trust in that. I can’t count on God healing me, because he might or he might not. I’ve begged and pleaded for hours for God to give me peace. Peace that passes all understanding, as he promises in his word. It has been several months since I’ve felt true peace. Even for 10 minutes at a time.
I’ve been on medicines for several years. Due to the years of guilt my father has placed on me for taking the pills, I can hardly truly reap the benefits. However, I’ve felt peace from the unbearable symptoms of constant anxiety when I’ve been on medicine. Unfortunatley, no pill has worked more than about a year without having to increase the dose, and then I have to change to a different medicine. The process of changing medicines (where I am now) can be absolute hell. But, looking back, it feels like the only thing that has helped, although not for long periods of time, has been medicine.
I wish so badly that anything about being a Christian, knowing God, God’s word, etc…would be what helps me and brings me peace. Unfortunately, it just hasn’t. I know that maybe God will choose to heal me and maybe he won’t. If it’s like my past has been, He will probably use the medicine to help me feel some peace most of the time for a year or so, and then the darkness will come back, often worse than ever.
We all know that God doesn’t promise to spare us from suffering. But, he promises to give us peace. I guess I am at a point where I don’t feel like I can “trust” a God who allows us to suffer. He allows Satan to terrorize us. And, he hasn’t given me peace. Also, due to the chemicals in my brain, my body feels the constant, uneasy feeling that something terrible is about to happen, and feels the sick, shaky uneasiness of awaiting something dreadful. So, why shouldn’t I be scared, moment by moment?
I’m at a point where I wish something about being a Christian would help. I am grateful for salvation and glad that at least someone who is much bigger than me can hear me and see the big picture, and can choose to take the suffering away. I sometimes find peace in the thought of going to Heaven, but then I think, if I can’t enjoy my seemingly “perfect” life where I have literally everything I need, so many blessings, and have hardly ever suffered from anything other than mental illness, then who’s to say I would enjoy Heaven? I wish I knew how to feel comfort simply being in God’s presence and knowing He is here with me.
There’s GOT to be something I’m missing here…