I have considered this question on numerous occasions. I think many of us haven’t we?
And indeed I am sure that I have written about it before as well. And I realize that at this point I really should place a link to that previous post on this subject. But actually, I have decided – just out of purely personal curiosity – not to read that previous answer before I answer it this time.
I just thin k it would be interesting (well to me at least) to see if my answer now differs from the answer that I gave then in any way. But I promise I will search for that previous answer and post a link to it at the end of this post.
If I could get rid of my mental illnesses, would I?
In truth so very much of me wants to shout YES! Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! The reality is that having recently gone through a particularly bad episode with my mental health, I came out of it only to find that a day or so later my mental health started declining again and that I was entering into yet another episode.
I don’t know about you, but that happens with me sometimes. It seems to all be linked to the level of damage done during that bad episode. If I come out of it and very little damage was done during that episode then I can cope and recovery starts. But if I come out of it and a lot of damage was done then I (or rather my mental health) simply goes back down hill again. And that can be so very tiring and so very demoralizing. So yes, so very much of me wants to shout yes! I would get rid of my mental illnesses.
That having been said I think in some ways how I view my mental illnesses is like how I viewed hitchhiking. (And yes I did my fair share of hitchhiking when I was younger.) And when I did do it I had a love hate relationship with it. Whilst it was sunny and warm or I was sat in someone’s nice car or the cab of their lorry, chatting away and being totally free to go wherever I pleased, I simply loved it. But when it was cold and wet and the rain was pouring down and I was stuck on the side of the road or motorway slip-road I absolutely hated it.
Yes, in some ways I view my mental health in the same way. When my mental health is reasonably good – when I am going through better episodes – I can see some benefits from it. But when I am going through bad episodes or have just come out of bad episodes I hate it.
But there is another reason why I would have to say no, I wouldn’t get rid of my mental illnesses and that reason is linked to my faith.
Why I would not get rid of my mental illnesses.
Those of you who know me well, or are regular readers will know that I am a Christian. And whilst I try very hard not to bang on about my faith, and to keep this blog specifically focused on Mental Health issues. My faith is a very real part of me and is core to who I am. It is therefore impossible for me to answer this question without mentioning my faith.
An essential part of that faith is to trust in Christ in all things. I have given my life to Christ and I do my best to do that – to trust in Him. Yes I sometimes fail. But, wherever possible, I do try to trust in Him in all things. Including in my Mental Illnesses and with my Mental Health.
Not only because of the trials that I (and many others like me) face during these times. But because the very illness itself often leads to an inability to focus well enough to pray. Or well enough to read my bible. Or even well enough to benefit from listening to my much loved praise and worship music.
Additionally, and so very importantly, because part of my mental illnesses is depression and that depression itself seems to creep up on me, and envelope me and to rob me of any and all sense of hope.
Have I prayed over my mental illnesses, or received prayers from others over it? Yes, most certainly. And in those prayers I have always sought God’s will for my mental health. And that is the key phrase here. Seeking God’s will.
If God is to be sovereign in my life, then He must be sovereign over my wellness and also over my sicknesses. If it is His will to remove my mental illnesses then, trust me, I would be delighted. But if, for some reason, He chooses not to remove my mental illnesses then I have to yield to that decision and to trust Him in that.
Now I know, first hand and as a result of countless conversations, that some Christian believe that we only have to ask God for healing and that He will always immediately heal us. Personally I do not subscribe to that belief and personally I believe such a believe to be un-scriptural. Do I believe God gives healing – absolutely I do. But do I believe it is always instant – absolutely not. And again, I have written on this before as well.
And in that post I remember sharing a video which I found to be very inspirational and so I am going to share that again here.
If I could get rid of my mental illness(es) would I?
In truth, I leave that question very much up to my God.
Of course I would be glad to lose all the negatives and trials resultant from it. I am only human after all. But there are positives in my life which, as far as I know, could be directly linked to my mental illnesses and I would not want to lose them. And additionally I have to be aware that God may have a purpose in all this – I just don’t know for sure.
But I do know one thing for sure… If, it is God’s will not to remove my mental illnesses this side of heaven, then I would rather experience a lifetime of mental illness and remain within the will God then spend one minute free from mental illnesses and be outside of His will.
(Oh yes, I promised to post a link to my previous answer to this question, didn’t I? You can find that post here.)