After the death of our dear friend, I have been thinking quite a bit about his situation and I would like to address the subject “mental illness.” Ben had concerns for the days to come if he would not be allowed to get his medicine. It is with that in mind, why I write on the subject.

Let me first start off by saying, it is hypocritical for some within the Church to have this kind of attitude toward those who may appear mentally unsound: “Just claim your healing.” Really? They are the same people who if they have a toothache will go to the dentist, if they need glasses they make sure they get them, if they need blood pressure meds they will use them. If they need insulin they will use it. If their child has a sore throat they take them to the doctor. See the hypocrisy? If that is you, then read no further because you will find the following not spiritual enough to suit your tastes. And any comments you may want to leave, will not be welcomed.

It is my heart’s desire to see people free. I speak to the Christian and anyone else who is interested, who find themselves diagnosed with maladies. The particular malady I want to look at is schizophrenia. Along with Schizoaffective disorder. Because I believe these two disorders, if they can be helped in any specific way, then other disorders can too.

I can’t be quick in judging what causes this diagnosis in every case. And neither can you. Some will say it is a chemical imbalance. Could be true. For some odd reason the schizophrenic does appear to have an extra amount of copper in their body. How or why? I don’t know. The implications of that, not sure. Others are always quick to say, “it is demonic.” I think it could be misleading to assume either way, as I believe both can be true. Each case is different.

I worked with a young Christian woman years ago when I was a house parent in a children’s home. She was one of the sweetest and kindest people I ever met. For some reason she suddenly withdrew and locked herself in the bathroom. She was silent. Not knowing what she was doing on the other side, I sat on the floor and talked to her, hoping she was not trying to take her life, while help was on the way. Her mother came and eventually my friend unlocked the door or either the maintenance men did, I don’t remember.

Many things can trigger types of psychosis of this kind: Isolation, too much stimulation, a certain amount of anxiety/fear that begins to get out of control, etc. But the common factors in my personal experience are — not knowing the truth, not facing the truth, and not dealing with the truth. In the above friend’s case it was the Jim Jones mass murder/suicide cult that triggered it. She had to end up quitting her job, while trying to get her mind restored. Wanting to help her, and meaning well, I had done research through books and came to my own conclusion what she needed was certain vitamins. I asked if she would be willing to try them and she said yes.

But, we ended up going our separate ways because her illness would not/could not allow her to have friends. It caused her to withdraw. All my gentleness and encouragement meant very little. The oppression was too great and to even mention God would have been enough to cause her to withdraw more because of the way the Jim Jones thing affected her.

As of today, I have known at least eight people who have been diagnosed with Schizophrenia or Schizoaffective disorder in my lifetime. None of them violent or dangerous, so I speak with that in mind.

If you are familiar with my testimony, you already know what the Lord delivered me from at the age of 19. Many years have gone by since then, still, I have had to deal with on occasion that dark cloud of mental confusion every now and then. It’s a terrible place to be. In my case, I never once wanted to harm another human being. Instead there was a great self-loathing,  The illness/oppression crippled me at times. It caused me to be paranoid. Sometimes the paranoia was warranted, other times it was not. Being able to discern between the two was/has been the hardest part. One area I had to come to terms with, was knowing I could not read minds. This was a hard place to arrive. Because as long as I could read minds, I could protect myself from others. Yet, my reading minds was nothing more than a type of witchcraft that I was trusting in and needed much deliverance. I could not read minds. A person may be able to discern what is going on in another, but to actually read another mind, no. Any discernment I may have had at the time, was used against me to keep me sheltered, safe, from those who I thought meant me harm. When in truth, it was stopping me from being blessed and being a blessing.

Part of that great deliverance is no longer caring what others think. Not in a rebellious sort of way, but in a way where you no longer have made people, the thing, you look to for help. Your heart has de-throned the lust for the acceptance of others. You come to a point where all that matters is knowing: He made us accepted in the Beloved. — Ephesians 1:6  — Something that I think most of us who have suffered with this affliction, has been fear of rejection, for whatever cause.  

Some years ago, I was talking to a woman who told me her husband was a schizophrenic and she was telling me a little about their situation. Both of them Christians. I started off simply saying God could help. I was stopped in my tracks when her immediate reply was: “We don’t want to lose the government check.”  I was shocked. Dumbfounded. I was baffled how anyone, especially someone who confessed Jesus, would prefer a government check for a disability over possible freedom. Yet, this is becoming more and more common. I was not claiming an instant cure-all, as if by some type of waving a wand he would be healed, but just giving her the possibility that he could have his mind restored. Please, remember, I was not judging. I was looking at it through the eyes of what God brought me through.

Our friend Ben, was pretty much isolated for many years. I often wonder what his life would have/could have been, had he lived near us and we saw him on a regular basis. Would my husband and I have made a difference? The same kind of difference that those precious ones God brought into my life when He spoke to my heart and told me to trust Him?

It’s been well over two decades since I was last medicated for the mental oppression I suffered. My day of deliverance began one day when I was having my devotional alone with the Lord. I heard Him — not actually heard Him, more of a type of knowing or discerning — tell me to come off the meds. “But, Lord,” I said, “if I do, I will lose my mind.” Three scriptures rose up out of me from like the deepest recesses of my heart: “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” “But how, God? The doctor said I would be on this (medication) for the rest of my life.” “He whom the Son sets free, is free indeed.” “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love and power and of a sound mind.” Sound mind! Was it even possible? What did it look like? Would I have set backs? What if…what if? “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” 

I did come off the medicine and please know, I am not endorsing others to do the same. I simply stated what happened to me.

God began placing people in my life who I could trust. Most importantly, He was showing me I could trust Him. It’s been a long hard road at times, but God has seen me through. It is because of what He has done for me that I wish to reach out and hopefully be able to express to others that there is hope. That there is light in that darkness. That truth does set free.

Not that I am some great expert on the subject — I am not — but Christians have been ignorant for too long in this matter. It is time we rose to the occasion for the days to come. If you or someone you know suffers from mental oppression, it is my desire that we all come to the truth and ability to help in such a way that it really begins setting the captives free. That we learn how to be a real friend to those who see as quirky or different. Know this too, just because someone is labeled something, does not mean that they have nothing to offer you.

So please, fire up your discernment and get it going along with me as we go into Parts 2 and 3 to follow.