Category: Testimonials

My Testimony of Pain

[I wrote this testimony of pain on my birthday, mid-July 2018. It was a raw expression of how I felt at that moment. Some historical references may not be fully accurate but were as I remembered them at that moment. I have not edited it except for correction of spelling and grammar and, where necessary, for censorship of filthy language and/or false witness.

This Testimony of Pain I share so that you, too, may know you are not alone in your deep suffering and that perhaps, one day, you may find that blesséd relief which only truly finding Jesus can bring.]

My Day of Mourning.

Today I am 45 years old. I turned 45 at around 2pm local time. It is a day everyone expects me to celebrate, to have joy and to find blessings in the fact I am a year older. I do not fear nor regret growing older. I have no fear of agedness and my fear of death is quickly diminishing. But I do not celebrate.

Why? Why, people, do you want me to be the centre of attention? Why? What have I done to you that you want me to revel in some pride in getting to be born in the first damn place? Maybe it was actually my choice to enter my Mum’s womb? Maybe I did choose to be born into that womb. Maybe the pain and heartache I caused my Mum all those years actually was my fault on every level? She wanted a normal child. But I wasn’t normal as a baby and I am far from normal now.

You send me messages of encouragement. My Nan tries to encourage me with hope in her love and the writing in the card. But all I do is mourn.

I try. I try to see you, to meet up. I try to thank you. I try to remember that you are showing me love. I try to meet for a meal or some other traditional way of rejoicing. But I mourn. Each and every card brings pain and the presents make me feel let down and then feel even more pain because I am so ungrateful. This is my day of mourning.

Curse the Day!

I could curse the day I was born. But hey! Wednesday’s Child is already the Child of Woe. Why curse the day any more? I could curse the womb that bore me. But I put my Mum through enough pain already.

Why is the greatest memory of my childhood my pride at taking a marrow to church and giving it to God? And all the while I sat there in judgement of the other kids who couldn’t be bothered and simply got their Mum to buy a tin of peas from Tesco’s? Why did everyone think I was aloof? These kids are weird, Mum! I can play. I can do that. But they don’t feel properly!

Why? Why didn’t the measles kill me? I’m told it could be fatal but all I did was have strange dreams in my sickbed for days. Why? When both my lungs had collapsed and without help I would have suffocated? Why? Why! Why did you put my lungs back up again?

Why have I hurt you so much? Why do I still do?

Why didn’t Nan’s heart pills work? Did I not take enough? Why? Why? Why did my belt break as I hung from that tree and all I ended up with was a cop car picking me up as I jumped in front of another car? Why when I took the paracetamol overdose did I go to A&E? Why?

Why? They told me that just follow Jesus and He will give you peace and joy. I am. I do not have peace and I do not have joy. Has Jesus let me down? Have I let Him down? Do I know Him at all?

Why? When I see something others do not my sister orchestrates a show down and the family falls apart? Why did my niece admire me so much that she thought mental illness might be a good way to deal with her pain?

Am I such a tramp that people really have to offer me £5 notes as I await my taxis? Do the taxi drivers really have to open their windows when I enter their car? I know. I need a bath. It’s a big thing, though, isn’t it?

This is my day of mourning.

People wonder why mental health freaks do not open up more? It is because we know the pain. We want you to experience it a bit. We will play with, manipulate you, strike fear in your hearts and load guilt trips upon you. But we will never let you know how we really feel. We can cope with this. You could not.

I am 45 years old today. I know many, and some very personally, like Lenny who I gave lip-kisses to because we thought it would be a fun thing to do in front of bigots – and, besides, I loved him. They are not here on earth now. And I have no guarantee they are in heaven. They are gone. I remain.

Thrive? B**locks. I cannot thrive. I survive. I will continue to survive. That’s my best. And if my best is not good enough for you then please, do not even +1 my posts or smile at me in the street. You can’t kid a kidder, they say in AA.

When you see the world as it is, even if only through a glass darkly, why do people think you are no longer close to Jesus? Why do they still insist that everything is better now than it was in the past? “You’ve never had it so good!” goes the advertising and propaganda slogans. Why can’t Jesus come back soon? It is my earnest prayer that He does because my pain is nothing compared to the child with his leg blown off and the bread he just bought is covered in blood. The homo who gets stabbed with a switch knife up the anus because the preacher was particularly fiery and “right on” that day? The raghead who has his apartment raided and all the writings of Mohammed and Ali are removed for future investigation? My niece’s boyfriend who is abused because he is not “British” and we have voted to leave the EU? The dead millions killed by the CIA and MI6 operations? The people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki who have extra bits in their bodies? The Jews who think the perfect response to the Holocaust is to abuse Palestinian kids and call Mary a whore in the graffiti on church walls? You know what my American and British friends? If you call this the least violent and least suffering age on earth I would suggest that you widen your reading material. Seriously.

This is my day of mourning. I mourn. For me. For others. For you. But I will survive. And as for me, I will serve the Lord.

Maranatha!

(The shared song is important. As a Christian-influenced band the lyrics are perhaps best heard as a conversation between the protagonist and Jesus.)

My Immortal – Evanescence
(From the album Fallen. The CD sleeve contained the words from the songwriter: “Thank you Jesus. All that I have left is yours.”)

Testimony

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.


1 Corinthians 13:8

What is the purpose of sharing all these testimonies with you? Perhaps in the beginning I wanted to show off, to be someone great. Certainly I thought myself called to great things, even perhaps one of the final two witnesses. But what does Jesus say to me: to love.

I have suffered many years of mental illness. Was I possessed by demons? I do not know for sure for I am no expert on these matters and am a brute of a man with little wisdom. Was my mental illness my fault? I do not know. Things happened in my childhood which I do not want to speak openly about but have had a lasting impact. I am healed of those hurts but the scars remain.

I have been thinking even as I have been preparing these posts of doing another blog sharing “my great knowledge; my great wisdom.” But whatever the future holds for me I do know this: that I must go to my own and tell them of the great things the Lord has done for me. That is why I am choosing to share these testimonies. And I am sharing them here, on a blog for those with mental illness like me.

Were my dreams and visions real? Or were they some sort of fantasy? I do not know, but I do know the effect they are having on me and I am so thankful to my Lord for them.

I shall, if the grace of God permits, continue in the faith, continue at church and continue to tell of what the Lord has done for me. If He wills I share share some things I have learnt, but I cannot say if I will do that just yet. For now I would encourage you, whatever your diagnosis, be it depression, anxiety, a psychosis or BPD or PD or any other. Whatever sins you may have committed, whether your illness is your fault or someone else’s or a combination of the two, know that Jesus loves you and died for you. Yes! And is even risen again and is seated at the right hand of the father.

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

1 Corinthians 13:13

Sunday Thought – 1st Advent Day 2018

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.

My Testimony of Trusting

Simple trust and love.
Image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/children-road-distant-supportive-1149671/

When I first started writing these testimonies I wrote many words of my experiences, feelings, shames and boasts. Yet as the prophecy of Agur states in Proverbs 30: “If you have done foolishly…lay your hand upon your mouth.” Besides, much of those long testimonies were riddled with hypocrisy and judgementalism.

I have, in too many ways to relate, been acting like a fool in my life. Yes, through it all I have clung to God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the Blessèd Trinity or, rather, He has clung to me. Hope is only found in Jesus Christ and in no other and forgiveness for sins can only be found through His atoning sacrifice upon the cross. Life eternal can only be attained because of His resurrection.

Over the past few months I have been through much. Because I have truly believed that recourse to psychiatric medication is only a short-term solution to a problem of eternal significance and that the transitory comfort such medication has brought me has only led to an imperviousness to the abhorrence of my sinfulness I chose, willingly, to come off my medication over a year ago.A word of caution. The time I am in now is not to be laughed at or taken on lightly. In many ways I’d want to increase my medication – I am now on a low dose due to a verbal agreement with my doctors and nurses – yet I know that the final judgement comes from God and I desire to do what I can to face what I must now rather than when it becomes too late to repent of my many sins. Yet it remains true I believe, that many of us who suffer from mental illness need some comforts in life. We have had a very hard road and some very hard things to deal with, whether that be childhood sexual abuse, violence or have even experienced worse things in this short life we’ve lived. I have chosen my path and you must choose yours. Do not choose to take mine – coming off medication – out of a foolish thought that you could cope when I am only barely surviving day to day and there are only a few times of blessed relief and comfort from the Lord.

Yet I still cling on to the promises of God contained in His word: Scripture reading, good Christian music and as much fellowship with the saints as possible is helping greatly.

Jesus died for us, whoever we may be and whatever we may have thought, said and done. Trust in Him and Him alone, for He is the Rock of Salvation and He loves you.

These verses have both disciplined me for my lack of these qualities and have also comforted me, so I share them here:

“Love suffers long, and is kind; love envies not, love vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil, rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” 

1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

(Note: Scripture verses use the KJV Bible yet I have modernised slightly if the words wouldn’t be understood by many in this present day.)

Introduction to “My Testimony” Series

Image credit – https://pixabay.com/en/cross-sunset-sunrise-hill-sky-sun-671379/

I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at the age of twenty. After a rather blessed childhood thanks to the care of my mum and my maternal grandparents – although there were some very hideous situations and events in my very young childhood which I have only very recently come to terms with – I went rather off the rails in my late teenage years.
I played around with a number of sexual sinful practices – such as fornication, adultery and transvestism – and primarily I played around with a number of herbal and synthetic means of “getting out of my head” including cannabis, amphetamine, Ecstasy, LSD and magic mushrooms. I also explored spiritualities linked to those drug uses and was an early adopter of the 90’s New Age philosophy.

I returned to my Christian faith after my breakdown at 20 but it was during the mid 90s after an encounter with the Modern Jesus Army when I recommitted myself to the Lord Jesus and, after a certain time with the JA I spent a number of years moving from one church to another. It is only very, very recently that I have found that Jesus Christ is truly the faithful Lord and Saviour He says He is and that He has never, even in my darkest and most rebellious moments, left me nor forsaken me.

How many years have I been confessing Christ? Through my childhood, since I was taught the faith by my grandparents who took me to church (I was baptised as a babe in the Methodist Church) to when I proudly presented the marrow had produced (O man! Childish ways! Of course, God gave the marrow and it was primarily my grandfather who had tended and watered it, but I was so pleased to present that produce at the Harvest Festival and thought, so I am told, of how feeble it was to give a tin of something bought from the local store, such was my childish pride.) And then on until I grew into teenagehood when my faith started to decline.

And then my return to the faith in unusual steps, initially attending a Middle Church Anglican fellowship after my breakdown and only learning to confess Christ fully when I was around twenty two years old. Yet even then my life was not particularly fruitful, hindered as I was by nagging, terrible fears that I wasn’t truly saved and numerous addictions to sexuality, drink and wayward spiritualities.

Yet since my return to Christ as an adult at around 22 I have never fully abandoned the faith again and have maintained contact with the church, though intermittently and without any very real sense of truly belonging.
And now? Well, read this series of testimonials as to where I am at now. I should forewarn, though, to be aware that my journey has been a long, winding road far less travelled and with many a wandering off the narrow path. I was likened by a man in the JA to a “lost sheep,” though to be honest I am not sure that he was not a wandering sheep himself. Yet I was, indeed, a wandering lamb; double-minded and unstable in all my ways.

Do read, and it is my earnest prayer that those who believe yet are burdened with mental disorders or waywardness of spirituality may be comforted and exhorted and that those who do not believe may see that I am only able to write these posts at all because of the all-surpassing love of God in Jesus Christ the only true Lord and Saviour.