What If I Just Pretended to be Sane?

When I was younger, I watched the Andy Griffith Show. Picnic apple pie America at its best. Anyway, I remember one episode where Aunt Bee was given sugar pills which she believed were helping her get better. I later learned this is called the placebo effect.

Lately, I have had more free time. Which is good because I’ve had time to write and relax, which is what I’ve been waiting for. But unfortunately, I have also had more time to descend into madness. Or should I say, further into madness.

This worries me for many reasons. And the worry makes my condition worse. It’s a vicious cycle. At this rate, I could turn into a psychopath. Who knows what would happen to me without the love and mercy of God? Praise be to the God on high, who is the God of nice, normal people and the God of us crazies as well. I don’t deserve Him, I don’t deserve salvation. If Paul is “the least of the apostles” and “the scum of the earth,” well, I don’t even want to know what I am. But the Lord loves me anyway.

So when I say that I should probably be dead by now, I’m not exaggerating.

I wonder why this problem doesn’t go away, especially now that I’ve been baptized. I wonder why I am still knee deep in this spiritual warfare. The normal part of me can’t understand why the crazy part thinks it’s the end of the world when there’s 10666 miles on the odometer.

Ah yes, so let me circle back to the placebo effect. Here’s what I’m thinking. I want to try something new, so maybe instead of worrying about how I should seek treatment and tell my family (which sounds very painful), maybe I should try to work around this for now. What I mean is, the power of suggestion.

What if I tried to convince myself that I am not sick? What if I just drill into my head that the Lord is with me and the Holy Spirit is at my beck and call? What if I just stop associating with Satan? And what if this actually helps me? What if I pretend so long that I become reasonably sane?

This won’t work over night, that’s for sure. And I don’t mean to trivialize this problem, like you can just use some Steve Harvey style self help to get yourself out of the ditch in three easy steps. All I’m saying is that maybe I’ll give it a try. There is such a thing as too much introspection, and I’m sure I crossed that line a long time ago. Does it really matter which childhood event triggered this or whether or not I feel empowered as an individual? All I’m saying is that I’ll give it a try, and if God wills, it may work, and if not, well, maybe I’ll try the psyche ward eventually.

Please don’t make me go to the mental hospital!!!


6 comments on “What If I Just Pretended to be Sane?

  1. joedalio says:

    Thank you for sharing these heartfelt words! Unfortunately, as long as you are alive as a Christian, you will be facing spiritual battles. We all do. The key is to seek God first instead of worrying what the devil might be trying to come up with next. In that case you are following the Biblical advice of resisting the devil. Then you set yourself up for blessing. I pray right now that God helps you do this šŸ™‚

    • Thank you very much for the encouragement! You’re absolutely right, I can’t spend all my energy worrying, I need to open myself up to the healing that only comes from God

  2. istralouise says:

    I had a two month stint after a Bible retreat where I pretended to be normal. People probably could still tell I wasn’t, but a group of the ladies had been talking about a boy who was mentally ill and saying all kinds of bad things about the mother and how she had probably raised him. I was with my mother at the time, and I didn’t want them to look at me or my mother in the same way, so I just quit.. quit taking my meds, tried to fake cheery and go on. When I got back from the Bible retreat I just kept pretending.

    Some back story you should probably know. I have schizoaffective disorder, depressive type and my last hospitalization had been for over a month while they tried different things, and I went to a mental health agency usually that handled med prescription, case management, and individual and group therapy.

    I kept pretending. I didn’t phone the agency when they phoned me. I didn’t keep my appointments. I just totally dropped off the map. Surprisingly enough, my psychosis wasn’t the main problem, but I returned to being almost para-suicidal.. that’s the cry for help everyone talks about where you don’t really want to die, you just desperately want help. On the day of the summer barbeque that the agency was holding for clients, I went back in and had a hamburger and talked to my clinician like nothing was wrong and like I hadn’t just dropped off the radar for so long. She took seeing me pretty well and, took me aside for a moment and in private the facade fell and I started crying so hard. She took me to the prescriber who was known for her quirky, sometimes pointed talk. The prescriber just asked me, “Why did you do it?” I told her I just wanted to be normal again, so bad.. She asked, “How did that work for you?” and I could just cry and couldn’t even answer for a few minutes. I told her, “It didn’t.” We discussed my symptoms and just agreed I would go back on the last dosage I had been on before I quit.

    I guess the long thing I’m trying to say it.. If its just a mild, or momentary thing, the sugar pill might help. But if it is more than that, and you don’t seem to be finding your way, there are some of us that “Normal” is just not going to work for ever again. I believe God gave the scientists the insight to find the medicines that keep me stable and from succumbing to my disease and there is yes, still a stigma associated with it. Depression is different than my problem, I know. If I had my way though, there wouldn’t be any shame for those of us who have proven that we need medication for an imbalance. We say God heals absolutely, and he does when he chooses, but we don’t hold it against Type 1 diabetics when they are not healed, or post-polio patients when they are not healed and we don’t try to make them go without medical advice. Or at least my denomination doesn’t. I guess I am speaking rather bold, since I don’t know your background and you could be a Christian Scientist or another one that doesn’t believe in medication and doctors.

    Struggle with it as long as you think you might have another solution, but no longer. I am haunted with family members in my family that won’t get help for various conditions and if I could make myself I would say to them. Why go another year without help?

    Like Andrew Solomon said in his TEDTalk “Depression: the secret we all share” “A year is a long time to give up, and you will never be 37 again.”

    • Thank you so much for the comment. I know what you mean- ignoring things usually just makes them worse. The problem is that I am sort of an over thinker… and arguably a hypochondriac! I am about to get a blood glucose tester because I think I have diabetes (not that that’s not a serious problem, but it seems I am always self-diagnosing). Anyway, I just thought maybe it would be better if I tried not to dwell on it, but at the same time I can’t just shove it under the rug. Thank you so much for your heartfelt comment, it means a lot

      • istralouise says:

        Ah! That makes so much more sense.. If you think that you are exhibiting hypochondriac behavior then ignorning it or thinking your way out of it might be possible..

        If you find that it is getting harder and harder to function and it isn’t going away with ignoring it and positive thinking I would suggest seeing someone or privately consulting with your primary care physician.. that way you don’t have to let anyone know you are checking that out, if it bothers you for people to know.

      • Yeah, thanks for the advice. Honestly, I think I do have some mental problems (for what my opinion is worth). But maybe in some ways it’s not as bad as I think? I don’t know, guess I’ll put it on God’s shoulders for now and see what I can do when I turn 18 and I can go to the doctor by myself. Thanks again!

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