In these present times, at least in the monetarily richer nation states, there is a huge range of potential routes to take in order to explore the possibilities of healing. In this article I want to explore some of those different routes.
Obviously I come at this from my own perspective, so it is perhaps best to state, as briefly as possible, the major aspects of my journey on this Earth which have brought me to the perspective and conclusion which I hold to.
I was raised with a large degree of Christian influence. Though my mother was not a follower of Jesus Christ and my father according to the flesh was certainly not, both of my maternal grandparents were strong believers in the Risen Lord. I was taken, very willingly, to church most weeks on the Lord’s Day. I was baptised in a Methodist church as a babe.
When I was in my teens I explored a variety of different spiritualities and at the age of twenty I had a major deterioration into madness. That madness lasted to one degree or another for some twenty years after. During this time I returned to the Church. I was on prescribed medication for virtually the entirety of twenty-five years and I still take a very small dose of major tranquillisers (also known as antipsychotics) due to their highly addictive nature. (I am slowly weaning off this remaining substance.)
Recently I began to come off my medication. I have done this without any support from any doctor or other “expert.” It has been extremely painful. At times I have thought that I would’ve committed suicide if I hadn’t previously made a firm vow to myself that I would not again attempt to take my own life. At times I have strongly considered going back to the psychiatric system and doing all they dictate. Yet despite those immense temptations I have endured and persisted. I am now free from all chemical medications except for the previously mentioned very low dose of major tranquilliser, which is far below the stated therapeutic dose.
I have now experienced profound and lasting healing, a knowledge of Jesus I had previously considered unattainable – not knowing about Him but knowing Him – and in my prayer and meditation have been able to reflect on my journey and draw conclusions, albeit imperfectly.
The Various Avenues Towards Healing
There are so many different routes to healing but I shall group them into three types.
“Faith” Healing – “Faith” healing includes a whole plethora of different versions. What they all have in common is the belief that there is some spiritual being or force which can effect healing. The majority of these are fakeries, even demonic in nature. That is one reason why “faith” healing gets such a negative press. The beings which these “faith” healers access, or the spiritual “forces” they harness, come not from the Living God but from a dark and dangerous entity in the spiritual realm. As mental illness is often caused or exacerbated by this dark side resorting to your tormenter for healing from your torment cannot be considered wise nor beneficial. Sometimes they may well seem to have done the trick, yet that is all the apparent healing is: a trick.
Examples of this demonic form of healing are spiritism and other arts of mediums (even when deceptively monikered “Christian”); the teachings and practices of the Word-Faith movement (the teachings of Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer et al); the calling upon the gods (such as Masonic rites, Satanic practices and witchcraft, and many others.
Yet there are true forms of faith healing. Exorcists in the cases of actual demonic possession or influence can be extremely beneficial. There are, however, very few true exorcists. Most a deluded individuals who do more harm than good. There are no trained exorcists within churches such as the charismatic, Pentecostal and other non-Apostolic churches. There may be some who are able to perform exorcisms, yet when dealing with extremely vulnerable persons an untrained “helper” can be extremely disturbing and even dangerous. The only church in which I have heard of good and holy approaches to mental illness and especially the matter of exorcisms is the Orthodox branch of the Church, although Romanist exorcists also have to undergo rigorous instruction.
Prayer itself can be extremely beneficial. Prayer is that wonderful thing: it doesn’t matter too much if the person praying has sufficient faith or if their words are accurate or even desired by the sufferer; it is God who answers the prayer and it is He who decides how to answer it. Yet even here there must be a word of warning. Too many – far too many – well-meaning but self-righteous “helpers” will offer to help but if you have done something, do something or believe something which they in their self-righteousness decree is “not true” then they have a horrible tendency to condemn the person they volunteered to “help” rather than first take a look at themselves. Anyone with first-hand experience with a mental disorder can tell you that such judgementalism is never helpful and can cause great distress.
(Note on Reiki and similar practices: I have very little knowledge of these. As that is the case I am not qualified to pass any sort of judgement on whether they are of God or the Adversary. If you want to look into them then please bear in mind the two categories of “faith healing” which I have just mentioned.)
Nature-based healing – Natural healing is a way of experiencing healing or, at the very least, a mitigation of symptoms, from the use of plants or plant-based remedies. A huge variety of plants exist which either can be found growing near to you or are often – though not always! – available easily through natural remedy retail outlets both physical and online.
There is a huge range of these plant-based remedies and they vary widely in their uses, their potencies and their effectiveness. Commonly known herbal preparations are valerian for help with sleep; camomile and tea (both green and black) for anxiety; St. John’s Wort for depression and other, not so freely available plants such as cannabis – which can treat a wide range of mental disorders if taken in low, carefully managed doses (see my post on medicinal cannabis.)
If you want to explore these plant-rememdies then do undertake research: look online and double-check with a trained person (by which I mean someone knowledgeable in plant-lore, not a psychiatric professional as many of those are very strongly taught that plants should not be used without their approval and then only after testing and doctoring by pharmaceutical companies.) Plants can be powerful and can also cause unpleasant side-effects if taken in an unwise manner.
There are other methods of using plant and mineral based remedies such as flower remedies (the most well-known being the Bach flower remedies) and homeopathy. Although I have met people and heard of a lot more who believe in the effectiveness of these I have had no first-hand experience and there is scant empirical evidence in regard to them either positive or negative.
Psychiatric and psychological healing – These are the official methods of healing. They are almost impossible to avoid for anyone, but especially when it comes to mental health matters. The teachings of schools, media and society at large almost force people to seek help from the “medical experts.” When it comes to mental health this forcefulness can even extend to legalised incarceration and forced medication, with violence permitted against the patient if he will not otherwise comply. Yet what does psychiatric and psychological healing comprise of? And is it effective?
Let’s deal with the psychological first. The psychological healing includes the various “talking therapies” such as counselling, psychoanalysis, cognitive behavioural therapy and similar methods of exploring one’s psyche. Many of these can indeed be very beneficial and, as a general rule I do not oppose them. The biggest issues come from the fundamental foundations of modern psychology and its profound limitations.
The foundation of almost all of modern psychology, including psychiatry, is that the mental part of a human being is entirely material. It is all a matter of synapses, chemical agents, electrical impulses and neural pathways. And, in addition, psychology sees the brain as the only place of importance in this materialistic mechanistic system. (this is despite the numerous studies which conclude that the heart consists of some eighty percent neural tissue.)
Due to this foundation psychology is severely limited to such a degree that it is dangerously flawed. The spiritual aspect is at best sidelined and at worst denigrated. The rest of the body is only considered in relation to the effect it has on the physical parts of the brain. And the deep connection which every person has with their surroundings and the whole of the natural order is usually ignored beyond the most immediately obvious.
If one is to seek help from a counsellor or other such individual or group it is imperative that what they believe, stand for, and their approaches to healing are examined and judged as to whether they are holistic or a result of tunnel-vision.
Psychiatry is even more limited and dangerous. All that was said about psychology applies here, yet on an industrial scale. Psychiatry is about the measured use of doctored chemicals in order to produce a “desired effect.” Antidepressants, sleeping pills, tranquillisers, antipsychotics etc. may appear to help people recover. This is merely an illusion. There has been no study which has shown that any of these medications produce a curative effect; all they can do is alleviate symptoms. Nothing more. In addition almost all of them, including antidepressants and antipsychotics, can be highly addictive, cause a shortening of lifespan, cause degeneration in other parts of the brain and body, and hinder the necessary functions of the heart, mind and soul in righting themselves from a “malfunction” or, in spiritual terms, a wrong turning in life.An Important Word of Warning!!!It has already been stated that psychiatric medications is highly addictive. I spent near on three whole months of almost constant desire to kill myself in order to break away from the addiction to antidepressants before any recovery became tangible. DO NOT SUDDENLY COME OFF THE MEDS! If you were a long-term alcoholic and you suddenly stopped drinking altogether you would have a seizure and die on the spot. The same extreme caution must be taken as regards psychiatric medications. In addition, the system currently in place does not facilitate a safe and supportive recovery from mental illness unless one takes the psychiatric medication. If there is a real – as opposed to an imagined, by you or by others – danger to continued survival in this world then I would, very reluctantly, suggest that medication may be the only currently available option.