Monday, August 24, 2009

Echos of the Fall . . . Within

I am following Jamie's lead, who asked me to talk about my battles with a general anxiety disorder and especially dealing with these issues in the midst of the Christian context. I've decided that it would be nice if others would join me in sharing their own stories. But this should be more than just a few comments. I hope someone else could write up a whole story, send it to me, and let me post it here later. Think about it as I spend the next few postings exploring my own experience. E-mail it to me at:

I will come back in a day or so and pick up on this theme. I will add a few caveats again. This includes the fact that I see myself as an explorer and reporter, not any kind of expert. Having a undergraduate degree in psychology and graduate degree in neurology influences my perspective but a mental health professional certainly knows a lot more than I do. But I am only going to be talking about my experiences and perspectives from the inside out.

A few months ago I spent several posts talking about those mental illnesses that others have (and can be "underground" like personality disorders) and which can be a thorn in our sides at times. But this time I will turn the magnifying glass on myself and look how my issues can be a thorn in my own flesh as well as others. I also want to put it into a proper Christian perspective because I think, historically, Dualistic Christianity has done a terrible job in how it handles mental illnesses. It leave the sufferer in the terrible position of ether denying their problems, or living with tremendous guilt.

Above of course is Vincent. He started his life as a Dutch Reformed Pastor's son with ambitions of being a Evangelist himself. But he had his private demons. He eventually left his Christian ambitions, became a wonderful artist . . . and struggled with his demons. This of course is one of his self-portraits with the bandaged ear . . . an ear, which he cut off himself. I have a feeling that he had no place to go, but away from the Church because the Church didn't know how to deal with mental illness.


Anonymous said...

not only does the church not know what to do they threaten you with eternal damnation for having "lack of faith". Nothing like giving someone with GAD something real to worry about!

shallowfrozenwater said...

yeah, the church doesn't have a clue when it comes to mental health except to judge the amount of faith that you have when you struggle. is it any wonder why people don't talk in the church about the fact that they have mental health issues in general?

pennyyak said...

I do hope some of your readers will share their stories at length. I know when I first became depressed, not only churches, but society and my family (and myself) - no one had much of a clue. I was reminded that cluelessness continues (to my consternation) when eating out with a group of women this month. The person seated beside me assured me that my last bout with depression was due to a demon (one from a specific scripture!). I made mention of neurotransmitters, but this did not fit in well with her worldview.

She really is a lovely women, but I don't suppose I'll be sharing my troubles with her.