Wednesday, February 5, 2014

From "Depressed and Catholic"


“That You Should Enter Under My Roof”

We can only get well in a community. It doesn’t matter whether that community consists of family, friends, parishioners, and/or therapists and/or spiritual directors. Sometimes that last type is the only type to be had.
Each Sunday at mass I watch the Body of Christ be given to Eucharistic Ministers to take to the “homebound.” They also are commissioned to “preach the good news and bring the love and support of this community.” As I sit there I can’t help but think of those who are “homebound” because they are in the throes of a serious depression. Try though they may they can’t get out of bed; or they believe themselves woefully unworthy, or fear in a paranoid sort of way that others will know their shameful state and judge them.
Then I think about the seriously anxious who know they are likely to have a panic attack if asked to move in to the center of a pew or have to sit in the back of a crowded church. They fantasize being stared at if they stand in the back near an exit door and most certainly can’t sit in the front row because they’d fantasize everyone behind and to the side looking at them.
Finally I think of those who have been somehow traumatized via clergy, church employee, or even a family member who happened to be very orthodox about his/her faith in public. For some, even walking through the door of the church could trigger a bad memory that would shake their insides. It is difficult for those who haven’t experienced PTSD to truly understand it.
How wonderful it would be if mental illness and trauma were recognized and treated with the same level of compassion as physical illnesses, especially when they leave a person “homebound.” What if the Body of Christ could be brought to such people who wish they could come but temporarily can’t? What would it say if Christ were able to “come under [his/her] roof?” What kind of healing might occur? Why, it might even bring a mentally ill person home to a loving community who reached out to bring them home.
This kind of thing is no doubt controversial for some. However, that’s stigma in action and it’s the same kind of stigma Jesus challenged when he touched lepers or entered under the roof of a Roman soldier who desired in faith His presence.
Think about it anyway.
Feb 4th, 2014

“That You Should Enter Under My Roof”

We can only get well in a community. It doesn’t matter whether that community consists of family, friends, parishioners, and/or therapists and/or spiritual directors. Sometimes that last type is the only type to be had.
Each Sunday at mass I watch the Body of Christ be given to Eucharistic Ministers to take to the “homebound.” They also are commissioned to “preach the good news and bring the love and support of this community.” As I sit there I can’t help but think of those who are “homebound” because they are in the throes of a serious depression. Try though they may they can’t get out of bed; or they believe themselves woefully unworthy, or fear in a paranoid sort of way that others will know their shameful state and judge them.
Then I think about the seriously anxious who know they are likely to have a panic attack if asked to move in to the center of a pew or have to sit in the back of a crowded church. They fantasize being stared at if they stand in the back near an exit door and most certainly can’t sit in the front row because they’d fantasize everyone behind and to the side looking at them.
Finally I think of those who have been somehow traumatized via clergy, church employee, or even a family member who happened to be very orthodox about his/her faith in public. For some, even walking through the door of the church could trigger a bad memory that would shake their insides. It is difficult for those who haven’t experienced PTSD to truly understand it.
How wonderful it would be if mental illness and trauma were recognized and treated with the same level of compassion as physical illnesses, especially when they leave a person “homebound.” What if the Body of Christ could be brought to such people who wish they could come but temporarily can’t? What would it say if Christ were able to “come under [his/her] roof?” What kind of healing might occur? Why, it might even bring a mentally ill person home to a loving community who reached out to bring them home.
This kind of thing is no doubt controversial for some. However, that’s stigma in action and it’s the same kind of stigma Jesus challenged when he touched lepers or entered under the roof of a Roman soldier who desired in faith His presence.
Think about it anyway.
Feb 4th, 2014

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