God and Mental Illness

Have you ever thought about how weird it is, to trust God? I believe (most of the time) that God is there, but I worry often, probably a lot. It is like I trust and doubt at the same time. It is also weird, how so many of us worry so much, as if it helps anything. If I took action in a productive, healthy manner, half as much as I worry, I would be so much better off.

But back to God. Trusting God is a strange thing, because, what if God doesn’t exist? What if we’re wrong? What if I’m placing my trust in an illusion, a delusion? How much of an investment should I place in my faith, and how much, in more practical problem solving? Is God the answer to everything? Some people refuse medical care, trusting that God will save them, heal them. Is that possible? Most of the time, it seems those people die. That doesn’t say much for faith, or for God. But, maybe God also expects us to think for ourselves, use our capacity for reason and solving problems.

But what about when that seems impossible, when we are desperate, anxious, scared? What do we do? Some would say to pray about it. Some would say to seek counsel, wise counsel. Some would say to do both. Trusting is challenging for me. I’m not sure why. I know that growing up, sometimes things were difficult for me and other members of my family. My parents got divorced, and my mom was depressed a lot. She was overwhelmed with her problems, and didn’t have much energy to dedicate to me and my brother. My brother and I fought all the time, hard. I was older, and stronger, and he bore the brunt of that reality. Years later, I still feel very sad about that time in my life, the things that happened, and the things that didn’t happen. And now I wonder how that time affected me and my brother mentally. And, especially now that I know I have a mental illness, I suspect that others did too, and that some still do. How widespread, I’m not sure. How far back it goes, not sure either. Could be very far, and very widespread. I suspect that many families that encounter as many problems as my family has, also encounter mental illness.

And, speaking of mental illness, what if religious faith is a mental illness? What if it is a kind of social, mental, psychological disconnect, maybe even a serious delusion? That is scary to think about, especially for those of us who take great comfort in our faith, especially in times of fear and doubt. Again, what if there is no divine being, no Creator of the Universe, no protective Father, taking good care of his children? Many of us who believe would be completely at a loss if that was taken away, and sometimes, in times of fear and doubt, it momentarily disappears, until we mentally, emotionally, reach for it, for Him, Her. After all, none of us want to be overwhelmed, none of us want to be alone. But I do still wonder, what if God is just Santa Claus for adults? It’s scary to consider, really.

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Author: Gordon S. Bowman III

Writer, Visual Artist, Blogger, Advocate

3 thoughts on “God and Mental Illness”

  1. Bishop Carlton Pearson explores this topic in his Youtube teachings, his Facebook page and on his website.

    Carlton Pearson – “Are Faith and Religion A Type of Mental Illness? Part 1”

    Like you I have my doubts about God especially after I was committed to a mental ward in a local hospital this past March. I have Depression, Anxiety and panic attacks. I’ve probably alienated more friends than I care to admit but even if people don’t understand and desert me, God will always be there for me. Even during my times of unbelief God still believes in me.

    1. Thanks for the link, and thanks for sharing your personal story, I appreciate it. I’ve been there, believe me. Good friends are very hard to come by, and loyal friends are even harder. Keep trusting in the love and grace of Jesus. That’s the best you can do. Hang in there! 😊

      1. Thanks! I will. Fortunately I only had to spend two weeks in the hospital psych ward but that was two weeks too many for me!! It is hard for people to understand mental illness. One former friend thinks I’m demon possessed! Sigh… Anyway I’m still in the battle and I still struggle. I’m trying to form positive strategies that will carry me through times of crisis. Today was a good day because I was able to go into the city for my errand, walk around at my leisure, take lots of photos and have a relaxed lunch. My goal is to have more good days. http://dancingpalmtrees.com/2015/08/30/around-the-town/

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