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Christianity and pyschosis - advice from those "in the know" please - don't need judgement thanks

(12 Posts)
alwayslookingforanswers Wed 30-Sep-09 01:48:08

As some of you may know my DH is in a psychiatric hospital being assessed after attacking me during a psychotic episode.

We're both Christians, though he and his family (who have been very supportive through it all) are much more at the pentecostal end of things while I'm sort of in the middle.

DH has never really "believed" in depression/mental illness (we had a huge row about it years and years ago) believing that it's a state of mind which you can get yourself out of.

I think (having had depressio diagnosed) that he has accepted that depression is real.

However, from the way I think he was "handling" the pyschosis aspect before his depression became so severe that he was unable to do "control" it I'm pretty sure that he (and his family) think more along these lines (although probably not that extreme). He's done a lot of fasting/praying/bible reading over the last 6 months or so and I mean a lot more - often at really odd points when I wouldn't usually expect him to. I suspect that he believed fully that it was all spiritual and the only way to deal with it was through the above.

His sister said to me on Monday briefly that she thought it was spiritual and I have a feeling that's what she's been saying to DH when I've not been there.

Now - as a Christian I do believe in the devil, and God/the Devil "speaking" to you. And that much of the devils temptations can be combatted by prayer.

However I also firmly believe there is genuine mental illness which is in a completely different ball park from the former (yes I know I sound barking). Just as with a broken leg or cancer, or a headache a Christian wouldn't just pray about it and hope it goes away, I believe that mental illnesses are the same. They do need treating for what they are - illnesses.

I'm going up to the hospital tomorrow with SIL as DH will be seeing the consultant and we both want to be there as we've not had any chance to meet any of the psychologists involved with him yet.

I really feel I

a) need to try to get over to SIL what my thoughts on it all are, how mental illnesses are as real as our faith is to us

b) need to try to explain to the consultant how I think that DH is viewing it all now that the AD's he on have started kicking in and he's more "himself"

Should I do the above? Does the above even make sense to anyone but me???

stuffitllllama Wed 30-Sep-09 05:15:06

I understand and I think you have articulated it well. I think if you are as articulate with your SIL as you are here you will be off to a good start.

It sounds as though there is a sort of "dimension shift" ..he and SIL are seeing everything through the prism of faith. So any approach from a secular perspective will be listened too but not taken seriously.

I really haven't much clue but I think if you would approach it through the path of faith as you have described: ie : (very simplistically) God gave us broken legs and surgeons : God gave us mental illnesses and the treatments thereof : it might reach her.

DutchOma Wed 30-Sep-09 08:02:43

Very little time but did not want to let it go unanswered:-
Where you and your SIL agree is that it needs very much prayer and that God gives healing.
Try to work together in this for the benefit of all.

alwayslookingforanswers Wed 30-Sep-09 08:58:38

Thank you both of you.

stuffit - first of all - hope you're feeling a bit better now - saw your thread during the night but didnt' post.

I'm hoping it I can articulate it something like to her - but I really don't want to upset/alienate her and make her think that her thoughts and input (and support) aren't appreciated - because they are - very much so.

DO - you're right - we do both agree that it needs prayer and God gives healing, it's just the really hard with this one.

I have one ray of hope - I was led to Matthew 4:24 last night. Where people from Syria took people that were possessed by demon, and affected by lunacy. Obviously lunacy is the old fashioned way of describing mental illness (which just like most other conditions that we now have "proper" names for - in Biblical times there were limited descriptions/understandings for them).

I'm praying that if I can point this out to her, that there is reference to lunacy (not that I'm saying DH is a lunatic you understand) along side demonic possession that she will understand where I'm coming from. I want to explain to her that yes, there may well be spiritual stuff going on which needs sorting, but that that medical side has to be got under control first before I feel we can work at the spiritual bit.

Also hoping that the consultant at least has a limited understanding of psychology from a spiritual viewpoint so that they can see where I'm coming from.

morningpaper Wed 30-Sep-09 09:05:25

right I don't have a lot of time because I have a toddler cutting up my chequebook for fun next to me... hmm

But in brief - there are many people who have noticed a link between pentecostal christianity and psychosis. The two seem very similar in a lot of ways, and it is thought that perhaps the "letting down of the barriers" between the 'physical world' and the 'spiritual world' as pentecostals often do - is similar in nature to the letting down of barriers between the 'real sane world' and the 'world of psychosis' - there seem to be parallels in the mechanisms, if you know what I mean?

Rates of psychosis are higher (IIRC) in people who are from pentecostal backgrounds

Almost as though there is a 'barrier' in the brain that comes down to 'allow you to see into the spiritual world' but that process also affects the barrier in the brain that keeps up in the 'sane world'

Not sure if I am explaining this very well

I will have a quick google for you

This does't really address your original post but I thought you might find it useful information

morningpaper Wed 30-Sep-09 09:07:59

lots of books on Amazon about spirituality and psychosis such as this

IIRC this woman writes a lot in this field

I'm not sure if this really helps but it might help you to put your thoughts into words in your own head at least?

morningpaper Wed 30-Sep-09 09:09:51

> Also hoping that the consultant at least has a limited understanding of psychology from a spiritual viewpoint so that they can see where I'm coming from.

Hopefully s/he will be aware of the work in this area so sensitive to your points (which as you can see, are actually quite pertinent in this situation, even from a clinical perspective)

alwayslookingforanswers Wed 30-Sep-09 09:32:40

thanks MP the does make sense - and sort of puts into words better my understanding of it all definitely helps make my thinking more clear (especially useful when once again I hardly slept last night and am still full of cold)

- I suppose what I should have said when describing my Christianity is that I currently worship liberal/mid style.

My methodist/CoE upbringing is no where near as simple as it looks - with regular forays into various pentecostal and baptist, and even stuff that Ellel Ministries is involved in - I've read (and inwardly digested) Chasing the Dragon (first read that when I was about 10 - was a bit freaky then lol), and other books that deal with the occult and the like in ways which most people think is barking. I also regularly go through the Steps to Freedom in Christ book as well - so I've got quite "broad" outlook on christianity

I can quite comfortably go to a Pentecostal church to worship and feel comfortable (and equally can go to a high CoE service and feel at home as well - suppose I'm quite luck in that respect.

I'm hoping that as I know DH's (and IL's beliefs) aren't as nutty (or should I say downright terrifying?) as some of the ones I cam across last night while googling (ie they have no problems with female ordination unlike some of the very right wing Pentecostal churchs do) and also the fact that they have all seemingly accepted the depression diagnosis that I've got a better chance of making myself understood without upsetting anyone.

I'm not sure also how much cultural differences are playing out in all of this. Apparently one of DH's Aunts has "some sort of mental illness" but they don't know what as she's never been assessed properly and I know from when I was living out there there's only a limited understanding of mental health issues.

However I think there's definite "knowledge" of that in the form of the nurse that's been assigned to him - as I'm not sure if he's actually Zimbabwean, but is definitely from Southern Africa as he said to SIL on Monday "I'm ALFA's DH's nurse - I think I'm from the same country as you" (as the accent certainly indicated that is correct. So hopefully he'll have some insight into the cultural aspects of it all.

alwayslookingforanswers Wed 30-Sep-09 10:52:44

ok - feeling a little less stressed now - rang SIL1 (the one that lives further away - not the one that that's local).

She basically said "she doesn't know"

She had previously thought it was just spiritual, but after he tried to kill me she relaised there was something else as well and that he needed to be in hospital.

She admitted she doesn't really know what, or understand at all, as the whole thing has taken her totally out of her understanding/thoughts/knowledge of these things (not to mention the fact that she's trying to deal with the fact that her little brother nearly killed me (it was her I first rang after it happened) - and SIL1 and I have always been close_ . And she understands my concerns about him perhaps "hiding" the pyschosis now his depression is being dealt with - as he could feel that he can "cope" with it now.

She reminded me that the assessment team that decided to admit him 2 weeks ago were concerned enough about his sudden anger outburst/admission of voices to deem that he could be a danger to others and should be admitted. Said that I should ask as many questions as I need to when I see the consultant today, and that if they think he needs medication to deal with it then that's what he needs (in addition to prayer of course).

So there's one SIL that while not "totally" with me on my thoughts, is listening and doing her best to understand.

SIL2 could be a little more tricky - she's the really stubborn one of the family and if one family member has a different point of view from the rest - you can guarantee it'll be her.

morningpaper Wed 30-Sep-09 11:11:30

That's great - it's so great to have someone listen and know that they are on your side. Sounds like suspending her world view is a BIG THING for her, so her having an open mind is good news. Good luck. x

alwayslookingforanswers Wed 30-Sep-09 11:16:48

it is a big thing for her I know, think it helps that she had a biomedical (irrc) degree/masters/PhD behind her, and her DH is a pharmacy manager (also PhD'd) so they've both studied some of the medical side of things from a secular viewpoint.

Hopefully chat with SIL2 in the car up to the hospital later will go as "easily". I have scripture to back me up (the Matthew one) on the disctintion between possession and mental healthy (well lunacy as several translations say - but I'm really not comfortable with calling my DH a lunatic smile)

morningpaper Wed 30-Sep-09 11:20:06

Some thoughts here on the bible and mental distress

this talks about the Bible referring to "disorders of the mind" separately to "disorders of the spirit" which sounds interesting (I've not read either link in detail but might provide a springboard for some other thoughts)

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