Although I grew up in a Christian Science Sunday School, Christian Science seemed to go in one ear and out the other. I did well in school, and in sports and extracurricular activities, but during high school I became increasingly depressed and was concerned about the worsening symptoms of mental illness I was observing in myself. It got to the point where I was obsessed with the thought of committing suicide. I said and did very inappropriate things, but I think because I did so well in school, my friends and family forgave me.
In my senior year, I sank into deeper and longer lasting depressions and began to fear that I was about to go into a depression from which I would never emerge. I read all sorts of philosophy, but I didn’t find it at all helpful.
One day, I was sitting on the floor of my bedroom thinking about my desperate situation when the idea came to me clearly and distinctly, almost as if a voice were speaking to me: Why don’t you try Christian Science? I thought, Why not? I had tried everything else.
There was a mostly unopened Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, sitting on a bookshelf in my room, and I began reading it receptively for the first time. I remember vividly thinking: This is what I have been looking for all my life. I drank in the healing truths page after page, as if I’d been lost in the desert without anything to drink. Shortly after this, I lost all desire to commit suicide. I felt that I now had a purpose to live, with goals to achieve.
However, I still had much work to do to overcome fully the belief of mental illness, and the path ahead was not easy.
After graduating from university, I completed the course work and comprehensives for two master’s degrees. But each time I tried to write a thesis I became irrational and confused. During these years, I was regularly attending a Christian Science branch church. I denied the various symptoms of mental illness when they presented themselves—through claiming my perfect manhood as the spiritual expression of God. Doing my best to demonstrate this in my life, I made steady progress. I had a good career and was promoted a number of times. But I still had episodes of confusion and irrational behavior.
I took early retirement to work on an independent project, and subsequently I was committed on three occasions to mental hospitals, finally with a diagnosis: bipolar disorder. There were times when I was so delusional that I became obsessed with the wallpaper in my home, which had a series of patterns that I tried to connect mentally. Despite the medical advice that I would need to take drugs for the rest of my life, I never took them.
Fortunately, since I was going to a Christian Science church, I began opening my thought to listen to “the still small voice” which Elijah heard (I Kings 19:12). When I prayed to know whether or not to take the prescribed drugs, that still small voice—which I knew was God guiding me—made me know I could gain a full healing through Christian Science.
One night I became paranoid. I was sure people were trying to kill me. The next morning I was taken in a very agitated state in an ambulance (called by others) to a mental hospital. While I was being considered for admission, a Christian Science couple, with whom I had become very close, came to see me. The wife sat beside me and shared truth after truth from the teachings of Christian Science. The result was that after a couple of days I “came to” myself immediately much the way the younger boy did in the story of the prodigal son (see Luke 15:17), and I no longer needed to be hospitalized. This was a great step forward.
Shortly thereafter I moved to a Christian Science retirement facility, where I suffered an acute outbreak. I seemed to lose total control over what I said and did, so I admitted myself to the Christian Science nursing part of the facility. A wonderful aspect of being in the Christian Science nursing facility for about a month was that I became greatly motivated to understand the real truth of my being. When I was eventually discharged from Christian Science nursing care, I did hours of metaphysical work every day for six weeks, knowing that healing was in my reach.
One of the most powerful healing ideas I received at this time was that the destructive thoughts that came to me and seemed to be “mine” were not mine at all, but rather belonged to the mental illness. I didn’t need to own them. I know I was only accepting this idea halfway, because I was still seeing mental illness as “something,” but it was a big step in the right direction. Eventually I came to see that I couldn’t have any thoughts that “belonged” to mental illness because mental illness is no part of God’s perfect kingdom.
At the end of the six weeks of intensive metaphysical work, I moved to another Christian Science retirement community, and while living there, I went to a dance in town where I met a wonderful woman, who, though not a Christian Scientist, is spiritually minded. One day, after we had been married for about a year and had bought a house together, I was doing my daily metaphysical work, and I realized the last vestiges of mental illness had vanished into their “native nothingness.” This two-word phrase, mentioned six times in Science and Health, was invaluable in helping make my final demonstration.
Since then my wife and I have had eight wonderful years together. And I have been taking advantage of my complete healing by being active in my local branch church—presently as a member of the board.
I am grateful at last to have an understanding that “through discernment of the spiritual opposite of materiality, even the way through Christ, Truth, man will reopen with the key of divine Science the gates of Paradise which human beliefs have closed, and will find himself unfallen, upright, pure, and free, not needing to consult almanacs for the probabilities either of his life or of the weather, not needing to study brainology to learn how much of a man he is” (Science and Health, p. 171).
I am living proof that God, Mind, never knew a person with a medically diagnosed mental illness. God knows only the perfect man, “unfallen, upright, pure, and free.”
Springdale, Arkansas, US