I grew up attending church consistently. I married my college sweetheart--we married as a strong christian couple. Little was shared with me about his family's medical history and challenges of mental health issues. We had two children. One was diagnosed as a toddler with autism and the other had a post-college diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
Our 22 year old daughter began exhibiting serious mental health problems when she was in 8th grade. Our family was going through several major crisises at that time including a job loss, two youngest entering public school from homeschooling. Our resources were strapped to say the least.
Our daughter suffered from severe mental illness all through her teenage years. Three weeks before her high school graduation, she attempted suicide, and was flown to the ICU at Banner Hospital. A few close friends contacted us by text to say they were praying. No one from our church visited her, no one sent her flowers, or helped us with meals.
My child was diagnosed with a form of autism (Pervasive Developmental Disorder-PDD-NOS) by age 5, received treatment for ADHD with medications for 8 years and received special education for the entirety of schooling. During all those years, I was treated for anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder, both while married and as a single mother.
I was now officially a single mother (with bipolar disorder) working as a flight paramedic (even more stress). One day after working my shift, I came home, called my mother to my house and had a complete breakdown. I had to quit my job because I mentally couldn't do it anymore. My daughter's father decided that he no longer wanted to be her dad (a blessing in disguise). My daughter was having a hard time with this so I made an appointment to see my pastor.
Twenty years ago, I was repeatedly told by many people that I just needed to pray harder and that if my relationship with Jesus was better, my severe depression would be healed . . . But my depression was not healed. I left the church for several years, but returned hoping that not all Christians thought that way. Of course, I also didn’t tell too many church friends about my mental illness.