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For Part 7, click here.
For years my story stopped right there. Girl meets Jesus and isn't that grand. It is true that that was the turning point in my life. But just as God rarely brings diabetes or thyroid disease to a halt when somebody comes to know him in a new way, neither does he wave his magic wand and send mental illness out the window.
There are an astonishingly large number of people out there who believe that mental illness is just a spiritual condition. I will refrain from using nasty words right now and just say that I disagree. I believe that humans are way too complex. That answers are rarely so simple.
The psychologists tend to have the nature vs. nurture debate. Is it genetic or is it environmental? Or both? But they often leave out a spiritual dimension. The churches (not all, but many at least within the church) have held that it is a spiritual issue. But they often ignore the contribution of biology and life experience, laying the burden of recovery on the patient "getting right with Jesus."
I believe that it is all of the above. You cannot ignore any dimension. Sure, my wiring, my biology predispose me to a variety of physical and mental health issues. Sure, my life experience affects how I perceive myself and life and respond to situations. Sure, my soul is not at peace unless connected the One who created it.
It can take years and years of work and experience to tease out what is being which part of which struggle in your life. It did for me. And often they were so inextricably linked teasing them out was impossible. They all need to be acknowledged and addressed.
That said, life did pick up for me after I gave my life to God in August 1981. There were still plenty of struggles at home, but God provided the excellent psychiatrist and a wonderful registered dietitian to help with my fear of eating. In fact, I was so impressed I chose to major in nutrition in college in hopes of one day doing the same.
But none of this was the end of my struggles. I had plenty of bouts of anxiety and depression (along with years of learning not to be afraid of food) throughout college. Some years were harder. Some years were good.