When a good, God fearing person has a mental breakdown, why do some question Their devotion to Christ? It’s all in her head. She should have more faith. She should be stronger. That was really freaky/terrifying/scary to watch. It is unsettling. It is uncomfortable. It is unnerving. And it is a test of our ability to love the unlovable.
How hard is it to wrap your arms around someone who has fallen over the ledge into the wild, chaos of insanity? How hard is it to forgive a manic driven onslaught of incomprehensible or profanity strewn words? It’s hard. Not to judge, not to whisper, not to gawk.
But imagine that you are the one who crossed that line. Just for an instance, you lost control of yourself and became the guttural, snarling person that was the subject of derisive stares. How would you feel when you came back to yourself and found those that you need had turned away? You crave someone to help/hug/hold you and are ignored. The people and friendships you had formed are transformed immediately. Just when you need others the most, they are the most distant.
The downward swing into depression is fast. And its speed increases every time someone turns their back on your need.
I think the best way to help someone who has hurt you, or has suffered a traumatic break is with compassion. The doctors can prescribe their pills, but we as the body of Christ must choose the healing power of grace. Medication can be used in tandem with meditation. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. Press into God and allow the hurting people in our lives to press into us. Grasp them and hold them and love them. One (or more) bad episodes can’t change the character of the person. He or she is just a believer with mental illness.
We have sympathy and fundraisers for our fellow believers when one of them has cancer, but those who carry around an unseen mental illness are shunned like lepers because we are too afraid or ashamed to call them friends.
A friend helped me out of a major depressive episode a year ago and I am sure it wasn’t fun or pretty on her part. I refuse to allow a perceived stigma keep me from loving those that God wants me to love. Maybe the cure to mental illness is to be Jesus with skin on to those who suffer from these problems. Help them remember to take their meds, warn them when their behavior begins to get erratic, be there for them when these issues occur. Treat them respectfully and not condescendingly. Show them the kindness that Christ would and tell them about his unwavering love for them even while they are in the middle of a meltown. Pray for their healing and deliverance and believe it will occur. Sometimes the healing is instantaneous, but sometimes miracles are measured in millimeters. Either way each progression, small or great, should be applauded.
Maybe our love, not our judgement, is the key to their healing. Maybe that is the way.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, and a part-time basket case who wants to be a full time writer.