One in four American families has a mentally ill member. (WSJ-6/7/05)
Most people with severe mental illness are not permanently incapacitated, infantile, helpless persons whom we need to protect. They may occasionally need that, but for the most part, they can have dreams, hopes, plans and choices like anyone else.
Several years ago, I endured one setback after another: medication problems, relationship issues, and personal projects that failed to materialize. These piled up and resulted in a major faith crisis for me.
Month after month, I battled giving in to despair. Sharing my inner pain with a few friends and my therapist helped. But, except for two friends, most changed the subject, or simply gave trite "spiritual, judgmental" answers like: "You shouldn't feel that way...You need to read your Bible and pray more..."
If only I'd spent more time with my kids... If only I'd not pushed so hard for the divorce... If only I'd written him more letters before he died... If only I hadn't compromised my morals... If only I hadn't lost my temper so badly... If only I hadn't smoked that first marijuana joint... If only I could forgive myself!
What should I say to a friend who believes the Bible teaches that it’s wrong to make plans? She quotes Jesus’ words as proof that Christians ought not to set goals or make plans, Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt. 6:34 NIV)? My friend points out the admonitions about planning that are repeated elsewhere in Scripture such as in James 4:13-14
If God is all-good and all-loving and all-powerful, why is there so much pain and suffering in the world? Why do good Christians lose their jobs or experience disastrous financial reversals? Why does God permit babies born blind or deformed? Why does He allow a young man in his twenties to have a life snuffed out by Leukemia? Why do some people have to die slow, lingering, painful deaths?
You pucker and squint At the slightest hint Of a lemon’s bitter taste. So why not throw it in the waste? Life deals its harsh lemons as well, Till you feel like you’re going through earth’s hell. Better to make lemon meringue pie, Than constantly bitch, moan and cry. This yellow-white pastry, o’ so bittersweet Will brighten your smile as you smack and eat. Whenever you feel hurt or misunderstood, Remember the lemon, and make it into something bittersweet good
Where do you go for help, hope, and meaning when painful struggles erode your confidence, shake your faith, and taint your happy times?
More and more psychiatric patients report a desire for something that will provide comfort, guidance, meaning, and hope for their lives. Maybe this is because most folks with depression and/or bipolar disorder have experienced numerous traumas and suffered multiple losses. Perhaps you’re searching for the meaning of your life, your illness.