There have been two giants in my life, seemingly sent to destroy me: a father who didn’t seem to love me, and mental illness.
My father was a retired pastor, so he lived a double life. He was a ‘man of the cloth’ to the public, but to his family and me, he was an angry man. He lashed out at and hurt me, verbally and physically at key points in my childhood.
Though as a child I had become a Christian, as a teen I ended up hating God and my parents. I was an atheist in High School, enjoying my distance from my parents’ Christianity.
When I turned 18, I suddenly had a terrible manic episode. It was like having a bad LSD trip, only I hadn’t taken drugs. Losing touch with reality, I became terrified. It turned into a visit to Hell. As a result, I reached out to Jesus to save me. When the clouds cleared later, and the manic symptoms subsided, I realized that I had been on my way to Hell, but Jesus had rescued me.
Getting into a bible study with my peers followed this, and I began to seek God for the first time in my life. I also forgave my father. At least, it was the first layer of forgiveness for him.
Even though I was seeking God, a year after I had the first episode, and each year for four years after that, I had subsequent manic episodes. Each time, my mother had the wisdom to take me to faith healers, to men of God.
A couple of times she took me to a hospital, but when I came out and was on drugs and was no better, it became clear that there was no solution in drugs or doctors, so she still had to take me to a faith healer. Through their prayer ministry I was delivered instantly from manic-depressive symptoms. My manic episode would come to an immediate halt in the name of Jesus!
Finally, in the fourth year, the last faith healer I went to ministered powerfully to me during an episode, and I walked away free.
I didn’t have another episode, at least for eleven years.
I had been in a bible study and involved with Christians for those first few four years during which I had the manic episodes, but it didn’t go very deep. The Word of God didn’t sink deep, and I was still troubled by feeling unloved by a father who had represented God. I still longed for love, and I didn’t trust God to give it to me. I went looking for love ‘in all the wrong places.’ I didn’t shut God out completely, or stop believing in Him, I just couldn’t serve Him with a full heart of love.
I also didn’t understand why mental illness had come into my life. It caused a crisis of faith. Even though God had caused me to be delivered from the episodes, I still didn’t understand the torment I had gone through earlier.
So, during those eleven years, I strayed away from God. That led me to seek psychiatric help instead of God when I decided to look for improved mental function. I still had some residual symptoms – depression, and instability, and was seeking to be more whole. But I didn’t seek my wholeness through the Word of God or through prayer, the things that had delivered me earlier on. In my foolishness, I went to the secular world and to doctors. They put me on powerful psychotropic medication that bonded to my brain in an addictive way.
Soon there were side effects that were making me miserable, but if I tried to get off the medication, it caused an episode – again, after all those years of being free!
This led me back to God. Thank God for what drives us back to Him!!! Add to that a relationship with a man that ended in heartbreak – the one relationship that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
You probably want to hear that all my problems ended after that! No! My problems only began at that point! The problems with manic-depression only intensified.
But underneath these surface problems, there flowed a stream of new life. I found the love I was always looking for. God led me to a church that was truly alive. And in finding Christians who were alive for the first time, I discovered the difference between dead religious life and living the true life that Jesus had talked about.
That church taught me some new things – soaking in God’s presence, and the essence of forgiveness.
There was this incredible spiritual battle surrounding the restoration process that took place as I soaked up God’s love and let it change me on the inside. I was under so much attack that I had such a bad manic episode it caused me to drive my car into a tree. This caused damage to my foot to the extent that I lost part of my foot.
That may seem strange – that on the road to recovery one would find destruction.
But now I have a healing miracle to look forward to. And here are all the results of the restoration that has taken place in the years of seeking God, being in His presence, speaking His Word, hearing and learning His Word, and being in the company of healthy Christians:
When I got delivered years ago, and walked away free, part of the freedom came in realizing that living at my parents’ house was part of my problem. As long as I didn’t live there I was free from manic episodes and symptoms. Even staying there for a short time later on became difficult. Just about ten years ago, even staying overnight became impossible.
But now, a healing has taken place, and spiritual power has overcome whatever demonic forces were causing the problems at my parents’ house. I have now been living at my parents' house since 2006. My dad had a bad stroke and my mom and I took care of him until he passed away in the summer of 2012.
This would be impossible for me, except for Jesus.
And, there has been reconciliation with all my family members. I dreaded time with my family in the past. Thanksgiving and Christmas would make me sick emotionally and mentally, but not anymore.
I have forgiven them and spend lots of time with them doing fun social activities.
I used to have plenty of trouble with my work situation. I have been at the same company now since 2007, and have a position of responsibility that allows me to use some important skills, and I have respect. My company has also been generous in allowing me to share my faith.
I’ve gone back to my parents’ church and made friends with the old crowd – a church that I had problems with because I blamed it for my loss of faith.
Another amazing area of restoration is in my sexuality. Through the broken relationship with my father, and because of ancestral bondage, I ended up having a royal struggle with sexual sin. I finally broke with sexual sin in 2004 and have walked wonderfully free since then. I tell about this victory in another writing. The victory came through the revelation of taking communion.
God is so real to me and I continue a love relationship with Him where He is the most important thing in my life. Since all the episodes that I went through, I can see that the enemy was trying to stop the growth and healing that was taking place but didn’t succeed.
I’ve also been healed of back trouble, gum disease, metabolism problems, hypothyroidism, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, acid reflux, constipation, knee pain, a lingering cough, an internal ear fluid retention problem, and a rare anal itching disease that a proctologist said would never go away, skin cancer, failing eyesight, and at last, manic-depression, or problems with medication, whatever the problem was. I believe God will someday restore the joint that is missing from my foot. I believe that physical healing is something we will see more of in the future.
The doctors, who I once feared, have participated in a miracle! They gave me the green light to go off medication! Isn't that amazing? God has restored me.
Updated Nov 2014