I am mentally ill. The roots of the mental illness I battle are in the sexual abuse I suffered as a child. I am left with wounds. Some are scarred over, some have scabs, and others are raw and open.
Over the years I developed poor, unhealthy coping mechanisms. I chased the false idols of money, status, material belongings, and worst – pornography. I attempted to use these false idols to avoid reality and heal the hurts of a childhood gone mad. My subconscious gave me colors and patterns that cover all I see, voices and noises inside and outside my head and a host of people to see and interact with that simply are not there. And physically I was left with seizures that have no diagnosis but the sexual abuse (there is info on this if you research the link between seizures and sexual abuse as a child). But they all failed to provide what I needed, still need…
It’s all about the Healing.
I’m working on healing. It is work. You are kidding yourself if you think otherwise. It is also a slow process. Patience is required. So are diligence and faith.
My road to healing began the day I became aware there was an official investigation into my pursuit of illegal pornography. What I couldn’t see that day, or for many days and months afterword, was how much of a blessing that scary day would turn out to be. I know that sounds crazy since it lead to my incarceration but without that day my healing would never have been. In fact, I believe I would be dead.
Suicide has been ever present in my life. Attempt number one at age fifteen. Attempt number two at age twenty. Planned attempts at ages thirty, thirty five, forty eight, and fifty one.
Suicide was another coping mechanism for me to deal with all of the ‘stuff’ I’ve already written of: Hurts from my childhood, mental illness, hallucinations, self-worth and self-validation issues, and the false idols of money, status, material belongings and pornography. I was a mess that fateful, scary day.
Healing requires that, like triage in an emergency room, you uncover the wound and examine it to see what damage has actually occurred. You need the help of professionals for that. You don’t perform open heart surgery in your kitchen, right? So why should you attempt to fix your mental self while sitting alone in your family room?
When I took my first step on this road of healing I still travel, I looked around and saw that my professional for help came in the form of a highly competent psychologist named Julie. At the time I did not see God or my faith as part of the healing journey. I didn’t see God that way because my relationship with Him was superficial. My relationship with God is so much deeper today. My faith is real and significant. Yet today I can say that I do not believe that a deeper relationship with God prior to that scary day would have changed the outcome I now live.
I was a mess and would have been that mess regardless of my faith or thoughts and feelings about God. I would not have taken steps to heal. God of course knew this and even though my attitude toward Him was casual in nature, His attitude toward me was Love. God knew I needed to walk into, and one day out of, an effort to heal.
I can look back now and see how God lead me to Julie, a psychologist specially trained in exactly the type of help I need and then He blessed me with fifteen months of time for my work with her. (Fifteen months from investigation start to my custody and jail.) God knew I needed to go through that time and work with Julie and that without it I would go unchanged and very probably have taken my own life.
So often people say, “Pray for healing,” and “God has already put the power within you,” and “You’ve got to believe to have it happen,” as if prayer and faith alone will cure every issue. When I was initially incarcerated I seriously considered suicide again. I shared this with a former pastor with whom I shared a cell. He said, “Pray on it and believe, you doubt too much.” So I prayed – and nothing changed. I was then put on suicide watch.
Let me be clear. I am not saying prayer is a waste of time! I say pray without ceasing! But do I believe prayer and faith alone will always prevail? Yes and no.
More to come next week… jdoe
Part 2 is found here: The Healing Continues