A woman I’m in contact with wrote this remarkable letter to her church – published in their parish magazine:
I have a confession to make. I have been diagnosed with a mental health illness. The question is will you now walk on the other side of the road?
It is not easy for me to admit I have a problem, namely because of the stigma, and because society is less accepting of a mental illness rather than a physical illness. Secondly I am a Christian and I feel that somehow Christians should be immune from mental health issues. I’m not sure if this is a view shared by others.
In March I was diagnosed with atypical anorexia nervosa. Over a period of months I had restricted my diet and my weight dropped. I was at a high risk of sudden death but I couldn’t see it. The illness is overwhelming and overpowering. I was under severe pressure at work and at home and I felt that life was getting out of control. Unfortunately instead of asking for God’s help I found something I could control – my diet. I refused to listen to family and friends until I realised that I was in danger of starving myself to death. At that point I was admitted to The Priory where the long road to recovery began. It was at that point that I allowed God to take control of my past, present and future.
I stayed in hospital for two months and with God’s help and the support of family and friends I am on the road to recovery. Yes, I am mentally fragile and yes I am struggling still. I am indebted to those people who have supported me and not judged me harshly.
I was really helped by 1 Peter 5. 10. ’ He will make you strong, support you and keep you from falling’.
One day I will be strong again but until then please don’t walk on the other side of the road.
Everyone who suffers from a mental illness needs your love and support. There but for the grace of God go I.