Imagine a first world war soldier, making a fray into no-man’s land in order to neutralise a few landmines.
It all goes well initially. Several mines safely detonated. But then the return journey. Enemy machine gun fire, a dog-fight overhead and the rest of the troops are under strict orders to remain in the trenches.
He panics and runs. Shortly before reaching the trench he skirts a deliberately missed mine, which blows. His left foot is blown off.
Driven by courage, fear, determination and sheer adrenaline rush – damn the training! – he continues gingerly towards the trench, then he hits a friendly mine with his left foot. He jumps, but his whole left leg below the knee is lost. He finally tumbles gently back into the trench.
The Chaplain is waiting. It’s a First World War Charismatic Preacher of the type epitomised by Benny Hinn.
“In Jesus Name get up! I bless you and you will sleep this night and awake tomorrow in joy!”
“Piss off! I’ve just lost my legs! To hell with you!”
No, not a true story. An imagination, a nightmare scenario. Yet I came close to witnessing something exceedingly similar a few months ago.
Both in the faith movements and in the World the mentally ill experience similar attitudes almost daily.
Many are wracked with feelings of worthlessness, guilt and condemnation, yet often they don’t even comprehend those concepts. Untrained laymen, even clergy, can cause great harm by not realising this.
Many mental illnesses are caused by demons, some through sins committed (whether in this or previous lives) and some through sins committed against the mentally ill person (childhood sexual abuse will almost invariably cause some form of lifelong mental disorder through no fault of the person suffering.)
In my long experience I have only rarely come across any that are healed, either miraculously or through counselling and medication.
Many of us have learnt to cope through music, art and self-medication. Yet all of us, in order to heal enough to function, have to admit we’re crazy. We’re freaks and we’re weirdos. That’s that. No miracles. No magic pill. No “correct system.”
And in my case? Well, I have fairies.
Many people think faerie (as the phenomenon is properly called in the northern European nations) is merely myth, legend. Yet as many, especially children and those who follow the ancient Pagan path testify, faerie is real.
Tolkien and Lewis both wrote of faerie, as did Shakespeare and The Brothers Grimm. Yet most above the age of eight or nine believe them nothing more than fiction.
However, my own particular beliefs and coping mechanisms aside, misdiagnoses and misrepresentations of mental illness can cause great harm to those with both moderate and severe mental illness.
Usually psychiatric nurses are best placed to counsel and support such people. Psychiatrists, on the other hand, are generally too influenced by text books (in the US and most of the world the DSM series of diagnostic books are ever expanding in their long lists and varieties of disorders) and the wiles of the modern pharmaceutical industries which push for the newest, “more effective,” medications.
Misplaced diagnoses by friends and families, and uneducated self-medication through street drugs and excessive alcohol use is unwise and usually harmful. Seek counsel from wise men, wise women and, if possible, a white witch or medicine man such as myself.